What is Freediving - Dynamic No Fins DNF Discipline Explained
Simply put, Dynamic Apnoea without fins requires the freediver to swim as far as they can underwater. Competitions and record attempts usually take place in a swimming pool and the rules require the diver to use only the propulsion provided by hands and feet. It's probably the most technical of the pool disciplines, the distance traveled by the DNF freediver depends mostly on how efficient their movement is through the water, as well as on the amount of air they take down with them. Turns and push-offs from the wall are allowed and as such, a shorter pool (usually 25m) is preferred for this discipline.
DNF freedivers typically use an adapted breaststroke action where the arms move all the way from an extended streamlined position over the head to finish the stroke below the hips with a 'frog-kick' action for the legs. A long glide-phase is useful in the stroke to make it more efficient. Top level DNF divers will usually require only 2 or 3 strokes for a 25m length.
A very important aspect of DNF technique is the leg-kick, and this is the part that often causes trouble for beginners. No-fins specialists often have a background in swimming, but this is not true for everyone. The current men's DNF world record holder, Mat Malina, for example, by his own admission, has never been a great swimmer! Some divers, the current women's world record holder for example, will use several kicks to one arm-stroke which allows them to maintain a more streamlined position through the water.
For both dynamic pool disciplines (Dynamic DYN) divers will tend to use some kind of wetsuit or a swimming speed-suit and a heavy weight worn around the neck. The suit is designed to improve streamlining through the water and the weight to create neutral buoyancy so that, even with lungs full of air the freediver is able to put all their effort into moving horizontally, rather than staying under the water. Goggles and a noseclip are usually worn on the face to prevent water going up the nose and allow the diver to see, but increasingly, top level divers are starting to dive without goggles, and even without a noseclip to help to stimulate a greater mammalian dive reflex.
IMPORTANT: Any kind of breath-hold activity in water is potentially dangerous. Don't try and do this (even just one or two lengths) without the supervision of a qualified and experienced freediver. If you don't know any freedivers, look up your local school on our freediving school directory here, or have a look on google for your local club.
Remember, Never, Ever Freedive alone.
DNF World Records
Women - Natalia Molchanova (RUS) 182m
Men - Mateusz Malina (POL) 226m