Cornwall’s Cassandria De Bellefeuille has captured the 2012 Canadian Depth Nationals. The national freediving championship, sanctioned by the worldwide federation for breathhold diving, was held at the Flintkote quarry in Thetford-Mines, Que.
Each day, competitors from all over the country had a single attempt in one of three freediving depth disciplines: constant weight with fins (CWT), no fins (CNF), and free immersion (FIM).
De Bellefeuille dove down the 33 meters (108 feet) on a single breath of air using only her monofin, a type of swimfin typically used in freediving. It consists of a single surface attached to footpockets for both of the free-diver's feet. She had been training for many months at the NAV Centre swimming pool in preparation for her performance, and more lately at the local trout quarry.
“I hope that my performance will draw attention to this beautiful but lesser-known sport,” she said. “I am very happy about the outcome of the championship and really proud to be living in a city that offers access to amazing training facilities. I am now set on achieving much greater depths and really eager to compete at the international level.”
In “constant weight”, athletes must dive down and come back up along a cable without touching it, while in “free immersion” they can actually pull themselves on the cable. Competing freedivers must announce in advance the depth they are trying to reach, and must bring back a small tag proving they actually reached the announced depth.
AIDA Canada, the Canadian branch of the “Association Internationale pour le Developpement de l'Apnée”, a worldwide organization that manages competitive freediving events at the international level and approves national and world records, was overseeing the athletes' safety while making sure all the performances adhered to various rules and regulations of this sport.