AIDA Spotlight - Meet Konstantin Borisov, a certified AIDA instructor and professional cosmonaut!
Meet Konstantin Borisov, a certified AIDA instructor and professional cosmonaut!
How long have you been freediving?
I completed the AIDA 2 Pool course in January 2005 and have been freediving, teaching and developing the sport in Russia ever since.
Why and how did you start freediving?
Around 2003-2004, my passion for ocean mammals, dolphins and whales led me to the conclusion that I wanted to visit these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Therefore, I needed to learn how to hold my breath so that I could spend time underwater with them. Very little information about freediving was available in Russia at that time, but there was some information in English. The AIDA International website helped me to find accessible instructors and contact them.
October 2005 was the first time I visited Dahab and completed my initial open water course. That was when I fell in love with the Red Sea and the Sinai Peninsula. After that, I spend all of my vacations over the next few years there trying to learn and practice more. This motivated me to become a judge in 2006 and an instructor in 2009.
I also became really involved in yoga and the healthy food hotel project which resulted in two amazing years spent in Dahab from 2010 to 2011. It was here that I was able to develop myself as an open water freediving instructor and got some judge experience.
Over time, I viewed freediving as a unique tool to better understand your psychology and to experience a unique feeling of weightlessness and inner freedom while swimming underwater with no need to breathe.
That passion motivated me to share the sport with friends, who then invited their friends and relatives. So, as years passed, my friends and I found ourselves creating a club for other like-minded individuals with a perfect freediving name, “Aqualibrium” (www.aqualibrium.ru). At this club, we run freediving courses, from novices to instructors, organize AIDA competitions (2-3 every year since 2011), judge competitions at other clubs, conduct regular pool training sessions and develop special projects like freediving for visually impaired people, freediving for surfers and more.
What is your favorite thing about freediving?
Personally, my favorite thing about freediving is the freefall - when you slide along the rope and relax as much as you can, aware of the building water pressure while your mind and body remain calm, and you feel the speed of motion from your fingers as they skim the line. Eyes closed, mind empty, no plans about the future, no regrets about the past, only the process and the moment.
As an instructor, my favorite thing is to watch the students advance to the next level, particularly in static and depth and realizing that relaxation has led them to new experience which stays with them forever. Over 500 have completed courses with Aqualibrium and each has learned something new about their body and mind. It is very inspiring!
How does freediving help you in developing yourself as a professional test-cosmonaut?
First, part of a cosmonaut’s job is to be fit and healthy. We are rigorously tested for stamina, strength, cardiovascular ability and even flexibility. Some of these tests take place in a pool and my freediving and swimming skills help me get high scores. Moreover, freediving helps you maintain your overall health, which is vital for the job.
Second, freediving makes you feel more comfortable underwater. Several important training sessions prior to every space flight take place in a hydro laboratory, which is easier for an experienced freediver.
Third, being exposed to water and teaching in the open sea trains your vestibular capacity – this, expectantly, makes you more efficient during the first weeks in space.
Fourth, teaching underwater helps you manage your body and your students in three dimensions. In simple words you have the experience of not only moving back and forth, but also going up and down, being aware of all three dimensions – which is similar to working in zero gravity.
Fifth, freediving teaches you to be calm under stress and helps you to remain relaxed in unusual environments. This is very useful for survival training, passing important exams and experiencing uncommon situations which you encounter when working in space.
Why do you love being part of AIDA?
I love being part of AIDA, because here I find passionate people from all over the world who share my love of the sport and the ocean. No matter the country, culture or religion, once you meet a freediver and look into each other’s eyes, you know that they know why we do freediving.
Additionally, this is the community where people are motivated make the sport and the education safer and more efficient. This is also the environment where commercial topics such as turnover, profits, shareholder value, etc. are not the top priority. Therefore, being near these people, doing projects with them is a big relief as opposed to usual business-oriented life - it’s a nice escape from simply making a living. AIDA is a community of friendly freediving professionals and I am proud to be a part of it.