Dynamic apnea

Terms and definitions: Freedive dictionary as a resource for freedivers of all levels

To comprehend the meaning of freediving, one must immerse themselves in the specialized language that describes its various aspects and techniques. It's not just a sport; it's a pursuit that challenges individuals to hold their breath and explore the underwater world in its most natural form. The following text offers a detailed look at the specific vocabulary of freediving, starting with the general dictionary every freediver should know. This collection of terms acts as a primer for understanding the nuances of the sport, from the physiological adaptations divers must cultivate to the potential risks and the exhilarating personal triumphs. We'll begin with foundational concepts before delving into the finer points of lung capacity, the body's management of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and the diving slang associated with competitive freediving.

Categories of Freediving

As we delve deeper into the world of apnea, we encounter a diverse array of disciplines that challenge the human body and spirit in unique ways. Each category of freediving presents its own set of challenges and requires a distinct set of skills and techniques in the freediving terminology. The breath-holding ability which is central to all forms of apnea is pushed to its limits. The following is an overview of the primary categories that exemplify the breadth and depth of this remarkable sport. From the serenity of floating motionless at the surface to the intense focus required in deep ocean explorations, these disciplines not only test the boundaries of human aquatic potential but also celebrate the sheer joy and personal accomplishment found in the silent world beneath the waves.

  • Static Apnea (STA): Breath-holding while stationary on the water's surface.
  • Dynamic Apnea (DYN): Underwater swimming a distance in a pool, using fins.
  • Dynamic No Fins (DNF): The same as DYN, but without any fins.
  • Constant Weight (CWT): Diving to depth and surfacing with fin propulsion without changing ballast.
  • Constant Weight No Fins (CNF): Similar to CWT, but without fins.
  • Free Immersion (FIM): Divers ascend and descend by pulling on a rope, no fins used.
  • Variable Weight (VWT): Diving with the assistance of a weight, which is then left at the bottom for an unaided ascent.
  • No-Limits Apnea (NLT): The freediver descends with weights and returns to the surface with a lift bag or other buoyancy device.
Freediving monofin

General Freediving acronyms

Here are also some general freediving dictionary terms that every enthusiast should know, as they highlight critical safety roles, personal achievements, and various phenomena encountered beneath the surface.

  • Buddy: Essential of safety, this is the role taken by a fellow diver during a freedive.
  • Personal Best (PB): A diver's highest achievement in depth, distance, or time.
  • Freefall: A phase of the dive when buoyancy becomes negative and descent occurs effortlessly.
  • Narked: A disorienting effects of nitrogen narcosis.
  • Decompression Sickness (DCS): A dangerous condition from ascending too quickly, leading to nitrogen bubbles forming in the bloodstream.
  • Squeeze: Injury resulting from inadequate pressure equalization within air-filled body cavities.

Lung-Related Measurements

Diving terminology is intricately linked with the human lung's capacity and its manipulation, both of which are critical factors in apnea that directly influence performance and safety. This section introduces important lung-related measurements and techniques are pivotal within the diving terminology of freedivers. Each provides a piece of the puzzle in understanding how breath-hold divers optimize their respiratory system for diving depths, duration, and recovery.

  • Total Lung Capacity (TLC): The full volume of the lungs, a fundamental aspect of understanding one's breath-holding capacity.
  • Vital Capacity (VC): The maximum air expelled after a full inhalation, reflecting the improvements as divers train and progress.
  • Residual Volume (RV): The air remaining in the lungs after exhaustive exhalation, a concept becomes more pertinent as divers learn about lung flexibility and capacity.
  • Tidal Volume (TV): The regular volume exchanged during normal breathing, which changes with breath-holding techniques.
  • Inspiratory Reserve Volume (IRV): The extra air inhaled after a typical breath, reflecting the capacity one can tap into during a dive.
  • Expiratory Reserve Volume (ERV): The additional air can be exhaled, which is an important concept of techniques like 'reversed packing'.
  • Functional Residual Capacity (FRC): The volume of air present after a passive exhalation, important for understanding lung mechanics during a dive.
  • Packing: A technique to increase lung volume, showing the advanced methods divers use to extend their depth and time underwater.
  • Reversed Packing: Increasing diaphragm flexibility by expelling air, a technique relevant for divers at an advanced level.
  • Over packing: Taking in air to the point of discomfort, a practice that is avoided due to the risks, including a blackout.

Oxygen and CO2 Terminology

Understanding the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxide within the body is fundamental to the practice of freediving. This introduction delineates the critical terms related to oxygen and CO2 management every freediver must familiarize themselves with. These terms are not just part of the technical jargon but represent vital physiological states that can significantly impact a diver's safety and performance. From the risks of hypoxia and hypercapnia to the emergency scenarios signified by words like blackout and samba, this vocabulary forms the basis for the necessary knowledge to navigate the challenges of breath-hold diving.

  • Hypoxia: Dangerously low blood oxygen levels, a term which divers learn early on for safety reasons.
  • Hypercapnia: High carbon dioxide levels in the bloodstream, a condition divers are trained to recognize and manage.
  • Hypocapnia: Lower than normal carbon dioxide levels, an imbalance that divers seek to avoid through proper breathing techniques.
  • Cyanosis: Skin discoloration signaling insufficient blood oxygen, a visual cue to identify potential hypoxia.
  • Samba: Involuntary muscle spasms from low oxygen levels, formerly known as 'LMC' (loss of motor control), emphasizing the need for immediate safety response.
  • Blackout: Loss of consciousness due to critically low oxygen.
  • Shallow Water Blackout (SWB): A loss of consciousness upon ascent, highlighting the importance of safety protocols.
  • Deep Water Blackout: A rare blackout occurring at depth, a term that underscores the risks associated with deep dives.
Freediving competition

Competition Vocabulary

The lexicon of freediving competition is a key aspect which defines the sport's structure and rules. In this introduction, we will explore the specific terms used to articulate the procedures, performances, and judging criteria that are integral to competition in average freedive depth. These terms help to ensure clarity and fairness in the evaluation of athletes' attempts, from the commencement of a dive to the critical moments following a diver's resurfacing. Understanding this competition diving dictionary is imperative for competitors, judges, and spectators alike to fully grasp the intricacies of freediving contests.

  • Official Top: Scheduled start time for a diver's competitive attempt.
  • Judging Cards: Indicators of a performance's validity: white is penalty-free, yellow is penalized, and red is disqualified efforts.
  • Surface Protocol: A post-dive sequence requires removal of face gear, an okay signal, and verbal confirmation of the diver's well-being within 15 seconds of surfacing.
  • Announced Performance: The depth, distance, or time a freediver declares before a competitive attempt.
  • Realized Performance: The actual achievement of a freediver in competition.
  • Tag: An object a diver must retrieve from the designated depth and return with it to the surface.


In conclusion, diving acronyms, terminology, and slang collectively form the essential lexicon of freediving, interweaving the fabric of safety protocols, competitive practices, and the sport's communal ethos. Each term we've dissected serves a pivotal function—from facilitating nuanced discussions of lung function to ensuring the precise execution of surface protocols and the successful retrieval of tags from the abyss. Athlete who challenges the limits of human potential and the novice absorbing the foundational knowledge on Aida2 course, mastery of this specialized language is crucial. It guarantees effective communication, nurtures a sense of community, and, paramountly, upholds safety in the sea vast expanse. As the discipline of freediving expands, so too will its distinctive vocabulary, mirroring the sport's evolving nature and the divers' relentless pursuit of subaquatic exploration.

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