AIDA Rule Changes January 2015
Well it could have gone much worse couldn’t it? With many AIDA national members not offered a vote, and a list of rule change proposals that, in the latter part of last year, read like a bluffers guide to the creation of the nanny sate, I, for one, am pretty happy with the end result - a freer, more objective sport for the future. Amongst my highlights in reading the summary of changes, download the file here, was the moment when I realised that prior to this year, I could have been using an inflatable vest to help with those long CNF ascents. The UKs Dave Tranfield must be kicking himself. Lost opportunity aside, a sheaf of changes relating to the ‘grab’ rule, to coaches assisting athletes prior to official top, to breaking the surface during pool swims and, most impressively, the idea of a ‘non-supportive touch’ after surfacing, should all help to reduce the number of needless disqualifications and, consequently, the homicidal tendency of jilted athletes. Unless I’m mistaken, there is still an ambiguity about assistance offered to pool divers prior to official top… but you can’t have everything. You can now no longer be disqualified for a Post Blackout Mechanical Movement (PBMM) either.
That’s another good change I think: As the summary points out, decisions on this were always subjective and often irrelevant. I’m pleased, also, to note that Cardiac Arrest is also a good reason to get a red card. Another big highlight for me was the whiff of Jurisprudence in the assertion that “the ability of judges to discuss a matter before them…is fundamental to developed judicial systems.” We certainly have one of those it seems. Also undergoing development is the role of the competition medic, with a sensible-looking spread of cold hard qualifications now required of doctors at all world-record status events. I would add though, that a means of ventilating an athlete in respiratory arrest - bag and valve mask or positive pressure system - would be high on my list of essential equipment for all freediving competitions in addition to what’s written there. More on the role of Doctor coming soon.
A more controversial addition to the rules, though, might be the ‘Prohibition of Recommencing Descent’ (try saying that 10 times fast). Whilst the summary cites two high-profile incidents where the diver switched to a feet-first descent, in both those incidents, the manoeuvre was unplanned. It could be argued that, if executed in a controlled, relaxed fashion, planned and practiced in advance, switching to a feet-first position during free-fall might not necessarily result in injury. But would still look pretty ugly. Close to our little Freedive-Earth hearts this last few months has been the issue of Lung-Squeeze with the long-awaited rule that allows the medic and, potentially, the judges, to disqualify athletes on the basis of injury now in force. It’s a really positive change, one that captures the moment, and our desire to get lung squeeze out in the open, but it needs to be carefully managed. Have a look here at our 2 part series on the issue for more on this.. Incident reporting too, we think, is going to be a big thing for AIDA this year. Watch this space for more coming soon. Don’cha just love Rules?! That’s it. If you’d like to comment on or discuss any of these issues, our Freedive-Earth forum is now live, with space for you to say pretty much whatever you like about it. See you there soon!