Kauai freediver in championship

  • Elijah Aasand

Team America of the United States Freediving Federation set new national records at the Caribbean Cup in Roatan, Honduras over the last several days. Their impressive results in the competition promise a strong performance in the 2019 Freediving World Championships, which kicked off Tuesday on the island and will conclude this weekend.

The team includes Kauai’s Elijah Aasand, a freediver since 2014. Others from Hawaii on the team are Daniel Koval and Kristina Kuba, both of Kailua-Kona, and Enchante Gallardo of Honolulu.

This is the 2nd time in history that the U.S. made an international appearance at this competition.

There are over 30 countries represented with nearly 100 freedivers competing.

Competing against freedivers from all over the world in the Caribbean Cup, which ran from Aug. 1 to Monday at West Bay Beach, Team America athletes now holds the following national records in each respective discipline:

• Daniel Koval: CWT – 108 Meters

• Enchante Gallardo: CWT Bi Fins – 79 Meters

• Kristin Kuba: CWT Monofin – 75 Meters

• Enchante Gallardo: FIM – 67 Meters

• Andriy Khvetkevych: CNF – 63 meters

“Team USA came to Roatan very prepared this year, walking away from the Caribbean cup with several medals and new national records. We are feeling very strong as a team and are very excited to be here competing again in the World Championships” said Koval, team captain. “Everyone is playing their role as both a diver and teammate – the USFF has given us the best circumstances to perform at our best.”

Jeremy Stephan, president of the USFF, said Team America commits to intensive training year-round, “so they came to Roatan prepared and ready to make an impression. We’re looking forward to being back at the Freediving World Championships and concluding the summer season with high energy.”

With their first appearance in the international competition taking place just last year, the American freedivers reaped impressive results.

Daniel Koval earned a bronze medal in the Free Immersion division, along with Kristin Kuba and Renee Blundon setting new national records in the Constant Weight Bi Fins and Free Immersion divisions respectively.

The Freediving World Championships event organizer is the Roatan Freediving School & Training Center, which will shuttle all participants by boat to a diving platform 3 minutes away from the San Simon Beach Club at West Bay Beach. Experienced Italian freediver Marco Cosentino will serve as the chief of safety and will be supported by a team of 12 additional safety freedivers.

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