David Mellor Diary – Double Dip Freediving Competition

18th July
Double Dip Chepstow

The SaltFree Double Dip Freediving Competition Is Almost Here!

Welcome to the not-so-secret freediving training diary of David Mellor!

David is back in the UK. You may have seen him teaching recently on some of our courses! So what else has he been doing in preparation for the next competition – the SaltFree Double Dip Freediving Competition? We find out! Last year David took 2nd Place scoring 48m FIM, 36m CNF and 46m CWT. Can’t wait to see how he performs this year!

SaltFree Double Dip Freediving Competition – What is it?

The Saltfree Double Dip freediving Competition 2019 is Great Britain’s National Depth Freediving Championships.

Hosted at The National Diving and Activity Centre, it’s an opportunity for freedivers to showcase their freediving athleticism in a 3-day event designed for all levels and disciplines.

Known as the ‘Double Dip,’ it’s set up to allow athletes to take part in all depth disciplines over the course of the competition, with up to two dives in one day, and a single dive on each subsequent day.


While athletes are encouraged to take up the 3-day challenge, it’s not a requirement to compete every day, or across all 4 disciplines. Competitors can choose how to allocate their dives across the 3 days; choosing only one day to dive; a single discipline repeated more than once; or all of the following:

  • Constant Weight (CWT)
  • Constant Weight with Bi-Fins (CWT-BIFINS)
  • Free Immersion (FIM) and
  • Constant Weight with No Fins (CNF)

AIDA Rankings and Rules

Double Dip is an AIDA ranked competition and is conducted according to AIDA competition rules. It is the responsibility of the freediver to be familiar with the rules. Entrants need to be a member of AIDA National to be able to compete.

On each day of the event there will be a competition meeting, this is where athletes will have the opportunity to ask the AIDA judges any questions regarding the rules.


Training Day: 18th July

Event Days: 19th, 20th and 21st July 2019


National Dive & Activity Centre, Chepstow


Day 1 and Day 2

09h00-10h00Athlete Registration
11h00-12h30Competition Session 1
14h30-16h00Competition Session 2
16h00-16h30Judge Video Review
16h30Preliminary Results
16h30-18h30Buffet Meal

Schedule Day 3

10h30-12h00Competition Session 1
12h00-13h00Lunch + Video Review
13h00Preliminary Results
13h30-14h00Prize Giving

So, how has David been preparing for the event since his return from Bali?

1. Double Dip Freediving Competition – Rest

It’s now been 5 weeks since I came back from training in Bali. The first week back was spent on a family holiday in Cornwall, it was a complete rest, no gym training or any sort of breath hold training not even stretching. I decided it was better to take break from anything related to freediving.

I think the rest did me good because after the holiday I was keen to get back in the gym. I had built up more muscle than I usually have from gym training in January, February and March but soon lost a lot of it when I started my depth training.

Deeper diving I don’t find that physically tiring as some sessions – you only do 2 or 3 dives – I think the mental side of it can be more taxing.

2. Double Dip Freediving Competition – Conditioning

I am now in what I would describe as a conditioning phase…gym work to build my strength again but also pool twice a week. The pool work doesn’t consist of long breath  hold dynamics, it’s more CO2 training. It consists of a lot of surface swims and also short apnea, empty lung repeated sprints.

Some surface swims are just 100 metres front crawl x 5, this is a good drill for me as my technique is bad so I struggle to get my breathing correct which results in a high CO2 build up. My muscles soon tire and the CO2 is very uncomfortable, but I know it’s doing me good.

Another drill I do is surface swims with my mono and a front snorkel. The snorkel I have plugged with a cork so that I can only get a restricted amount of air. This drill I am hoping will improve my mono kick but also again I get a high CO2 build up so should help with my breath hold.

I have identified my CO2 tolerance as the reason I was failing some of my dives. My equalisation was failing even though I still had air in my mouth, my soft palate would close and that would create a vacuum that I couldn’t unlock so I would have to turn.

Relaxation was another reason, but I actually think the two are connected. The CO2 would build up which made the dive slightly uncomfortable and that would lead to my relaxation going which would then make it hard for me to equalise. The reason I say this is because I have been training in cold water and I was getting the same issues at 40 metres as I was when I was diving to over 60 metres. The feeling was the same, air in my mouth but the soft pallet locking up again. I’m hoping by training my tolerance to CO2 I will find more relaxation which should help with my equalisation.

3. Double Dip Freediving Competition – Strategy

My next competition is the Saltfree Double Dip Freediving Competition at Chepstow. The water will be cold so I know I will have to be conservative with my announcements. I have a couple more training sessions there and will base my announcements on what happens in those sessions.

I don’t think this competition will have much bearing as to what I hope to achieve in Nice as the water is much colder in Chepstow but it’s still good competition experience for me.

Two days after the Saltfree Double Dip Freediving Competition  I will start my prep for Nice in September, I am really motivated to do my best there so my training schedule will ramp up as I start my depth phase of training.

Missed David’s last blog? Catch up with everything, here:

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Competitions Countdown!

World Championships Nice
13th - 20th October
Infinity Depth Games Cyprus



Mini Comp – Dahab – 52m BiFins
Dahab Championships – 2nd Place!


2nd Place: Double Dip: 48  with mts fim, 36mts cnf and 46mtrs cwt in Sept
3rd Place: Nationals: 124mtrs dyn, 100mtrs dnf and 5.19 static.
3rd Place: Bristol Blue (Team Event)  135mtrs dyn and 5.48 static
Vostok cup: 50mtrs cwt, 50mtrs fim and 41mtrs cnf in Oct
Redccup: 60mtrs fim and 57mtrs cwt

Personal Bests and Achievements


134m DYNB
*New PB!! 9th Feb ’19*

118m DNF
*New PB!! 17th Feb ’19*

43m CNF
*New PB!! May ’19*


Male UK Freediving Champion 2018

100 DNF
5.48 STA
60m FIM
57m CWT
41m CNF



UK Nationals –  Bristol – 9th – 10th March
Mini Comp -Dahab – 5th April
Dahab Championships – Dahab – 25th – 29th April
Philippines Diving Champs – Panglao – 18th – 19th May
Double Dip 2019 – Chepstow – 18th July 2019
World Championships – Nice – Sept
Infinity Depth Games – Cyprus – 13th – 20th Oct

More To Be Announced!


UK Nationals – March 2018
Double Dip –  Chepstow – Sept 2018
Vostok Cup –  Kalamata – Oct 2018
RedCcup  – Egypt –  Oct 2018
Bristol Blue – Bristol – Oct 2018

Video Library


January 2019

February 2019

March 2019

April 2019

Abbreviations and Meanings

DYN – Dynamic

DNF – Dynamic No Fins

DYNB – Dynamic Bi-Fins

CWT – Constant Weight

CNF – Constant Weight No Fins

FIM – Free Immersion

STA – Static

CWTB – Constant Weight Bi-Fins

FRC – Functional Residual Capacity


RAID Advanced Freediving Instructor


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