“I love finding and pushing the limits of what my body and mind are capable of achieving,” says a Hout Bay woman who has just bagged two diving records.
Bevin Reynolds broke national and continental records at last month’s Cape Town Freediving Competition, but she does not intend stopping there.
“There are many things that make freediving ‘addictive’ to me. I certainly thrive on the challenge that it presents – since all dives and swims are done on a single breath of air,” she says.
For Ms Reynolds, the achievement is extra special as she has scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and suffered a lot of pain before she started diving.
“I was practically living on painkillers every day. But now, because of my commitment to freediving, I have strengthened my body to the point that I am almost pain-free. As with all competitive sports, freediving requires that my body is in excellent condition, so I take much greater care of my nutrition than ever before. Another magical aspect has been the sense of belonging I experience with our freediving tribe.”
Her diving career only took off in January this year, when, at the age of 37, she joined a surfing course at Ant’s Pool on Valley Road.
Ms Reynolds, a life coach and counsellor, has also taught swimming in Hout Bay for more than 10 years, but she only moved to the area five years ago.
She broke her first two SA records, for DNF (dynamic no fins) and DYNB (dynamic bi-fins), in May, three months after she started training. Then, the following month, she broke those two records again, doing 165m for DNF and 212m for DYNB.
DNF entails swimming as far as possible on a single breath, using a modified breaststroke. For DYNB, long carbon fins are used to propel the body as far as possible with one breath.
She is now planning to compete in the Aida (International Association for the Development of Apnea) World Championships to be held next year on the Jeju Islands in South Korea.
Ms Reynolds is now crowdfunding and seeking sponsorship so she can compete in the world champs.
“This sport is unfortunately still self-funded here in South Africa. Many countries around the world support their freediving athletes in many ways, and I hope that, with time, the same will happen here.”
Ms Reynolds can be contacted at 082 904 5449.