Competitive Freediving Part #3 – CMAS Disciplines

In Competitive Freediving Part #1 and #2 we looked at Disciplines and rules within the AIDA system. In part #3 we’re looking at the other big competitive freediving organization- CMAS to see what they are doing different.

CMAS is just like AIDA an abbreviation of the French name of the organization, in this case Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques. CMAS is a much older organization than AIDA. It was founded already in 1958 as an international organization for underwater sports and activities with the legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau as one of the founding members and first president. Delegates from 15 countries were part of the original founding conference and CMAS has since worked across borders to unite people with common interests in the underwater world.

Anyone who has seen the classic freediving movie the Big Blue might recall seeing CMAS logos in some of the No Limit dive scenes, indicating that CMAS was very early out with organizing and sanctioning freediving competitions. CMAS however later withdrew from sanctioning No Limit dives out of safety concerns and thereby leaving space for AIDA to come in and fill the gap.

CMAS recognizes totally 12 freediving disciplines, whereof 7 are similar to what AIDA offers. The only AIDA discipline not offered by CMAS is No Limit.

Disciplines similar to AIDA

The diver holds his breath as long as possible while floating on the surface or standing on the bottom of the pool.

The diver tries to cover as far distance as possible on one breath by swimming horizontally in the pool. The diver is allowed to propel himself forward with the help of fins, either monofin or bi-fins and swimming movements with the arms only.

Just as in Dynamic with fins the diver in Dynamic Without Fins swims horizontally while trying to cover as great distance as possible, but the difference is that no form of aids are allowed for propulsion, instead the diver relies on arm strokes and leg kicks only to move himself forward.

The diver descends and ascents vertically along a dive rope using the propulsion of a monofin or bi-fins and/or the use of arm strokes.

The diver descends and ascents vertically along a dive line with arm strokes and leg kicks as the only legal means of propulsion.

In Free Immersion the diver is not wearing any fins but instead uses arm pulls to ascend and descend along the dive rope.

In Variable Weight the diver passively descends using a ballast weight while returning to the surface by his own power, supported by the use of fins, pulls on the rope and/or arms strokes as means of propulsion.

To me personally one of the most interesting aspects of the CMAS system is that it separates monofin and bi-fins diving into separate disciplines, with separate national, regional and world records registered, in both Dynamic and Constant Weight freediving. With the two Bi-Fins disciplines included we can identify totally 5 disciplines that are unique to the CMAS system .

Unique CMAS Disciplines:

Same as the Constant weight discipline but with the different that monofins are not allowed.

Same as the Dynamic discipline but with the different that monofins are not allowed.

Speed Endurance Apnea is a discipline where the athlete tries to cover a fixed distance, typically 100m or 400m in the shortest possible time. The athlete combines underwater swimming with fins with passive recovery at the pool ends. The faster you swim and the shorter rests you take the better time you will achieve.

Jump blue (silly name I know) is an open water discipline where the athlete descends and attempts to cover as far distance as possible swimming around a 15m square at 10m depth before surfacing again. Monofin, bi-fins or no fins may be used.

Skandalopetra which is an old Greek discipline is the only team event in Freediving. The diving athlete descends with the help of a stone (usually a marble slab) attached to a rope. When the diver reaches the desired depth, his or her partner on the surface then starts hauling the diver up using muscle power. To honor the traditions of the sport no diving mask, suit or fins are allowed.