Freediving Romania




Ultimele decizii luate la nivel international in cadrul Asociatiei Internationale pentru Dezvoltarea Apneei (AIDA) sunt prezentate mai jos

  • Presedintele AIDA International, Kimmo Lathinen,  a fost reales cu doar 2 voturi in fata lui Grant Graves.

  • Accidentul lui Nick Mevoli declanseaza o serie de schimbari in regulamentele competitionale si cursurile AIDA la toate nivelele. In cursul lui 2014, aceste schimbari vor fi propuse la vot in cadrul AIDA Assembly.

Election Results

As previously noted, Kimmo Lahtinen received 12 votes for President, and Grant Graves received 10 votes.  After reviewing the results with the candidates and the full AIDA Board (including Legal Officer Petar Bojovic), there was a strong consensus to finalize this result:  elections may be won by large or small margins, but absent extraordinary circumstances the process should be respected.  Accordingly, Kimmo Lahtinen has been elected as President for the 2014/2015 term.

The timing of the election was not optimal, following Nicholas Mevoli’s fatal accident in the Bahamas in November.  Delay would have allowed many to recover from the events of the last month: everyone at Vertical Blue was deeply shaken, and many not there were also hurt.  AIDA’s Statutes, however, do not permit delay: the officer and budget vote is required to commence by 1 December of each year.  AIDA Directors are required to follow Swiss law and AIDA’s Statutes at all times, even when doing so is challenging. Please understand the Board’s need to adhere to those requirements.

The votes cast for Grant should not indicate a lack of appreciation for Kimmo’s accomplishments over the last four years.  Stopping the Nagel embezzlement (which robbed AIDA’s financial resources for many years), implementing financial controls and accountant review, producing financial statements, implementing automated education, competition and judge tools (EOS, CARS and JOS), revamping education offerings, and regularizing Board meetings and reports, each is impressive.  In the aggregate, they demonstrate an extraordinary amount of progress, progress no one wants to lose.

Those votes do, however, indicate the importance of understanding the causes of Nick’s accident, and of making changes to prevent further fatalities.  In some sports–such as mountaineering–fatalities are accepted as an inherent risk; in competitive freediving they are not.  AIDA had over 20 years of competitions without a fatal injury prior to November, and we understand that it’s critical to AIDA Nationals, athletes and the sport to avoid such accidents in the future.   To this end, AIDA will work on a number of fronts to enhance diver safety.

Safety Enhancements

First, we will analyze the results from the review team (i.e. Antero Joki and the medical professionals), and propose changes to rules and procedures (including the Competition Rules, and Safety and Deep Diving Guidelines) to protect against the risks exposed by Nick’s accident. This effort will be a top priority for AIDA in the coming year, with a target of May for implementation. Of course, rule changes will need to be reviewed and approved the AIDA Assembly, and additional changes may be made later as needed.  We are currently discussing this project with key individuals, and will have more information for you on staffing and timeline shortly after the New Year.

Second, we will update AIDA’s educational offerings to reflect what we learn from the accident review.  Jean-Pol François will lead this effort, which will likely include changes to the 1*, 2*, 3* and 4* courses, as well as safety and instructor courses.  We intend to highlight the risks of squeezes, and to focus students on safe diving techniques and attitudes from their initial training in the sport.

Third, AIDA will implement an online incident reporting system, in order to track accidents and aggregate data, so we can learn from less serious incidents and prevent more serious ones from happening.  Funding for this project (€5000) was included in the 2014 budget, and we hope to have this system operational by the start of the diving season in the northern hemisphere (by May or before).

For AIDA to implement these changes successfully, we will need the support of the Assembly, as well as AIDA Nationals, judges, instructors and organizers.  Changes to Rules and procedures are important, as are changes in education, but to prevent further serious accidents it is equally important to have judges, instructors, athletes and organizers adopt those changes, and focus on a culture of safety for competitive freediving.


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