Culture Weekly

Lapping up experience

May 24 - May 30, 2023
Gulf Weekly Lapping up experience
Gulf Weekly Lapping up experience
Gulf Weekly Lapping up experience

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Mohamed Al Hermi, who recently made a splash for being the first Bahraini athlete to represent the kingdom in a global freediving championship, is back in the water and training extensively in preparation for two national competitions.

The 31-year-old Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) swimming coach and free-diver competed against 350 divers from 44 countries at the World Freediving Indoor Championship staged in Kuwait and enjoyed every moment.

“To be the first to raise the Bahrain flag at the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) freediving indoor championship still feels amazing,” said the fire officer at ALBA who is also a ‘fin-swimmer’, the sporting term for an underwater sports athlete. “I can’t explain my feelings, it was just ‘wow!’

“It was a pleasure to represent my country in the biggest event in the freediving world for the first time. I felt the positive energy and it has pushed me forward to want to compete more.”

He remained so motivated that he started training with his renowned Croatian coach Lidija Lijic on the same day he landed back in the country.

“I work out underwater and also do a ‘dry workout’ based on a specialised plan by my coach,” added Al Hermi, a level one national coach certified by Bahrain Olympic Committee.

 “Now, I’m preparing to participate in at least two national competitions before next year’s freediving championships and I aim to set more national records.”

Al Hermi is currently a four-time national record holder in speed-endurance apnea, dynamic no fins, dynamic bi fins and monofins.

Speed-endurance apnea is an event where the athlete covers a fixed distance in the minimum possible time. The event is conducted in a swimming-pool and is swum in fractions of a pool length alternating apnea swimming with passive recovery at the pool’s ends.

Dynamic no fins is swimming a distance horizontally underwater, usually in a swimming pool, whilst wearing bi fins (two separate, unconnected fins) or a monofin (both feet in one fin).

Al Hermi is also classified as the second fastest in the whole of the Arab world in the Speed Dynamic Apnea 2x50m category.

He enjoys competing in different disciplines which also include static breath holding and sprint 100M breath holding.

His adoration of everything aquatic started when he was four, swimming and snorkelling at the local pool with his father Arif, who was a member of the Bahrain national team in the early 1980s.

“Eventually I was asking to take on more depths, distances and breath-holding that I found my way to freediving,” he added. “I was freediving as a hobby and when I started focusing on my technique and performance, I found that I improved a lot with my distance and technique.

“Many of my family and friends advised me to take part competitively when they saw the levels I reached so I started to attend Freediving School to learn more and develop my skills.”

He became a certified, licensed free diver in 2017 and has been making waves ever since. His personal best so far, as reported in the GDN, is a depth of 30 metres … but he is aiming for a new personal best.

“A special thanks goes out to everyone that supported my journey, especially my family and friends,” he said. “I also want to thank the Arab teams – including Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE and Kuwait – that took me under their wings during the recent tournament and made me feel one with them, as well as the Croatian team.

“Thank you for all your encouragement and support. This competition was to gain experience and knowledge. It’s just the beginning for me and there is more to come!”

For details, follow

@alhermii on Instagram.

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