6th Individual World Championships

Silver-medal earning performance - © Igor Liberti

William's unmatched no-fin technique - © Igor Liberti

Silver at the 6th Individual World Championships

Long Island, Bahamas – November 12 – December 4, 2009

On December 3, 2009, Vancouver-born William Winram announced and realized a valid dive in the breath-hold discipline of Constant Weight without Fins (CNF). Winram dove breast-stroke style down and up a dive line to the set depth of to 86 meters (282 feet) during the finals of the 2009 Individual Freediving World Championships, held in Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island, Bahamas.

Not only Winram’s 18th Pan-American record claimed in four years since his debuts in the sport, the dive earned the Canadian Champion a silver medal, no less. Winram had already achieved a Pan-American record depth of 80 meters in the same discipline, during the qualifying event, on November 28, 2009. The new depth he achieved during the finals opens a new era in the sport of freediving in the West, as he is the first individual to reach that depth on his own power in the Americas.

William had arrived in the Bahamas on November 12, 2009, directly from a very challenging expedition where he had dove within great white shark territory in the turbulent waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

With no competitive training since June and only 7 training dives in Dean’s Blue Hole prior to the competition, Winram outdid himself. In fact, both his dives (during the qualifying event and during the finals) were personal bests, a feat very few freedivers attempt during a competition,
let alone a competition with medals at stake such as World Championships.

During a brief interview he gave after his shining performance, William said: “the dive felt great! I was super stoked to have realized that depth and with so few training dives. I came here without expectations, still exhausted but completely transformed by the amazing experience I had just had with great white sharks. So, I just dove without a set limit, strictly going by how I felt. In just a few days, I was diving within the seventies. In the finals, my actual dive was 87 meters because i dove past the bottom plate and that is a new personal best for me! I am looking forward to next year and see what I can do with some actual training…”

It was a fruitful world championships for the Canadian contingent as fellow team member and Pan-American record holder Jana Strain collected the bronze medal in the same discipline bringing the Pan-American to the new depth of 54 meters in the women’s category.

In addition to the outstanding performances by William and Jana, the Canadian safety team, headed by Doug Sitter of Freedive Toronto won accolades for their professionalism, their skill and their all around amiability. From all accounts, they have represented Canada, and AIDA Canada (the national freediving federation), very well.

Winram left the Bahamas on December 4, 2009 for French Polynesia where, together with former multiple freediving world record holder-turned-photographer Fred Buyle, he will complete the filming for a series of five documentaries for Ocean Quest.