My amazing journey “-60 to -110”.
Interview with Gus Kreivenas
Gus, congratulations for your new National Record in No Limits settled some weeks ago. I am sure it is an important step forward in your career even if it is not your first record ever…
“Thanks for the congratulations! It was absolutely amazing to be the part of this project, and I believe that it is a giant step forward comparing to my previous achievements. My first two unofficial records of -51m in Free Immersion and -60m in No Limits disciplines, was set during “Pressure Seekers 2012” competition, while training with one of the biggest UK free diving groups: NoTanx (established by Marcus Greatwood). It was an amazing experience and I believe that the club definitely helped me to develop my passion for this amazing sport and over the period of 2 years formed a solid fundament in knowledge and practice of competitive free diving. Although, for many different reasons, only in the past few months I had a chance to discover the deeper awareness of my own body and mind. Last 4 months I have been training with Only One Apnea Center and during this super short gap of time, I managed to do an amazing progress. Possibility to do training in the waters of the astonishing Red Sea, and motivation plus support from fantastic coach Marco Nones, totally increased the amount of effort and love I have put in to the latest official record of -103m. This accomplishment means a lot for me. Hopefully it is only the beginning of astonishing journey.”
So you are now holding different records in few disciplines. Can you please explain us the differences on being successful in the pool or in the sea?
“After my short experience in both disciplines, one of the biggest differences I consider is the pressure of the water that is increasing as we go deeper into the sea. With increasing depth, we not only have to become masters of equalization, but also good controllers of our own mind. It is a very important skill to be developed. During my training for the -103 NL record, I was several times in the situation where clear analytical assessment of my own mental condition was the only way forward, and finding out my subconscious phobias and fears, helped me to avoid any delay in progress of training. Furthermore, influence of nitrogen narcosis is another critical obstacle that demands special care and is unique to deep diving. I believe that abilities like full understanding of your body in every moment of the dive, technical attitude and countless repetition of systematic movements, are the key to become a successful deep-sea diver.
On the other hand, due to presence of the surface always being within the arms reach, training in the pool to me is a less stressful and to my mind requires fewer things to consider. Nevertheless gradual progressions in distance, super attention to technique, improving and maintaining flexibility, and constant practice of CO2 tables to increase the tolerance of much higher levels of carbon dioxide, are fundamental points of pool disciplines.”
Despite your short experience on free diving, you have easily reached nice and important numbers on depth. How does it work exactly?
“For such a rapid move I give a credit to my current coach Marco, who slowly but surely guided me through this jungle of knowledge and experience. Nevertheless, my passion for Yoga also had a great influence on the rapidity of our progress: it helped me to reach and maintain a good physical and mental condition. I have spent hours of focused practice to bring more flexibility to my own body and mind. Flexible body and open mind are surely the keys for immediate application of suggestions that was given to me by my cool coach, and are the biggest reason of this fast descent. During my training with Only One Apnea Center I have learned that the most important part of this game is to believe in what you do, do it consistently, and do it with a lot of attention to details and concentration.
While building all my skills that are required for reaching the goal of -103 meters, we had very little stress. All the deep dives were only confirmation of what we already knew and no matter how stressful I used to be before the new steps in conquering the depth, Marco’s attention to details and experience in this sport would put me back in shape ready to rumble.
As well I want to put everyone’s attention that I have started training deep diving techniques long before doing any deep dive. Minimum of 1 hour per day of total concentration in performing dry exercises of specific-advanced equalization and breathing techniques was a central aspect of focus for the first 3 months of my training. Deep-water dives were only “the test ground” for all the hard work I did on the land, and took place only in the last stage of the training, due to scientific approach of Only One Apnea Center, trained mostly in “shallow” water. We imitated the difficulties of very deep dives and have built the skills required. This approach allowed us to increase the amount of repetitive dives that have noticeably boosted my confidence at depth. The only skill that we had to develop by direct exposure was the tolerance to nitrogen narcosis. Slow, steady progression and all the considerations mentioned above, helped us to move forward in a very safe way.
The suggestion when choosing dry training is very simple “the easier, the better” I think it creates a bigger chance that you will keep doing it. Other important part is: how you do it? 5 minutes of extra focus is more valuable than hours of “focus-less” effort. Understanding what we do, increase the chance to do it right in any possible circumstances.
The only thing I was trying to be specifically religious with, was less caffeine, more hydration and sleep. All of the mentioned above would not work without a glass of chamomile tea every morning…. hahahahaha…”
Why the decision to go for a No Limits record and why to do it head down, position that clearly doesn’t help the performance.
“The Coach influenced this decision and to me it makes a perfect sense. We have a long-term project and the real goal is a different sea discipline which will require the same body position (head-down). Therefore starting from activities that helps to put more focus on mastering key skills, like equalization, comfort at depth and management of nitrogen narcosis in less stressful manner, is surely a super logical progression of steps.”
So you are still learning advance equalization technique. What’s for?
“Yep, always learning. Always something to be better at, and since the next goal is a harder discipline, the level of management and awareness will have to go hand-in-hand with improving level of difficulty of following discipline. Accordingly, more attention, more concentration and definitely more advanced techniques :-)”
Can we assume you’ll be back with other attempt then…
“I’m very proud to be the part of Only One Apnea Center Team and, as far as I know, we are definitely coming back! 😉 After a week of rest, we are back on the track and slowly but surely starting to build a new schedule of training that will bring us one step forward in the succession of a bigger plan that we have in mind. Sea is blue, sun is bright and Only One Apnea Center Team is going deeper… ahahahahaha…”