Le web magazine 100% Apnée Sunday - Feb 25, 2024

INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE : Ilaria Bonin, world champion.

Ilaria Bonin
photo: Nicolas Proquin

INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE : Ilaria Bonin , world champion (may, 2014)
Italian champion answers our questions:

FRANCE APNEE: Ilaria, could you introduce yourself to the readers of France Apnee.
ILARIA : Hello everybody! I’m Ilaria and I’m 30. I grew up in Busto Arsizio, the city of the myth Umberto Pelizzari, but since 3 years I live in Lodi, to be trained by my coach Mike Maric.
The great part of my day are for training but I still working cause is impossible at the moment to live only with this. I work… in the water! I teach swim to baby and kids. And I also work like a pedagogist, I take care about school placement of children with disabilities.

FRANCE APNEE: For the last few years and even more so last year, we have heard a lot about you. Could you let us know when you started practicing freediving? What led you to this sport? And when was your first competition?
ILARIA : I started free diving in the summer of 2007. I was searching a new way to stay in the water. I played waterpolo for 15 years and in that summer i decided to change. But I love water and I knew Umberto Pelizzari since I was a child, so in my city there was a good school with a strong instructor and I started… in 3 years I completely fell in love with apnea…
I remember clearly my first competition: 1st may of 2009! And I really loved it.

FRANCE APNEE: What do you like about practicing freediving?
ILARIA : I think I love freediving for 2 part of my temper: I love to stay in the water and feel free and, like a good agonist, I like to work and reach my goal, harder is the work, better are the results.
Freediving give me this feelings like no other sport.

FRANCE APNEE: Have you ever practiced any other sport at top level before freediving? If so in what way your previous experiences helped you with your freediving practice and performances?
ILARIA : I played waterpolo since I was 9 years old, and I stopped at 24! For the begin I played in a team with boys and girls together and then in a girls team. I played in the team of my own city for 10 years and when I started university I changed: there were the most beautiful waterpolo years of my life! We played in the “C” championship, but we were the youngest team and one of the stronger. For two years we reach the final match to upgrade in the “B” level, and at the second years we did it.
I think water polo is a very strong sport and you need all: speed, strength, endurance… Water polo taught me determination, sacrifice, perseverance, and the will to reach a goal.
It also taught me something wrong for apnea: in water polo you need to training a lot, instead in apnea is better to training well.

virage des 200m DYN à Belgrade photo : Nicolas Proquin

virage des 200m DYN à Belgrade
photo : Nicolas Proquin

FRANCE APNEE: You are being coached by Mike Maric . Could you tell us a bit more about him? Are you planning to keep your partnership going?
ILARIA : I knew Mike in 2008 and I saw him swim with a monofin for the first time. I really fell in love with this kind of dolphin tail… So, 2 years later, I asked him to teach me how swim with this strange fin and we started to work together. I think Mike is a wonderful trainer first, cause he was an athlete and he kwon exactly what do you feel when you’re underwater. He always told me the right word at the right moment, he has a great capacity to invent a new kind of training to keep my will and my happiness strong.
I hope to continue to work with him, I think we can still do better!

Ilaria et Mike Belgrade 2013 IAWC

Ilaria avec son coach Mike Maric photo : Nicolas Proquin

FRANCE APNEE: 2013 has been a great year for you. What are your plans for 2014? Are you planning to compete at the European CMAS competition in Tenerife? There will be no DNF, what do you think about that?
ILARIA : Yes, 2013 was a great year! For 2014 I want to change something, I need it. I think I’ll be in Tenerife and I’m happy to compete in jump blue! I hope in the next years will be a good difference about indoor and outdoor competition, but for now, I’m happy to stay in a pool and in the sea too!

FRANCE APNEE: This year there are no AIDA pool world championships but only the team world championships in your home country, Italy. Would you like to compete? Do you practice constant weight? What relationship do you have with open water?
ILARIA : At the moment I don’t know if I compete or not, the selection of the team isn’t done! But I hope to be there! I laugh a bit about my relationship with open water, if you think that I started do freediving cause I was really afraid about the blue of the sea… But I like to exceed my limits and I want to do that!

FRANCE APNEE: Last year you competed in both the AIDA and CMAS pool championships. In France Athletes have to make a choice for one or the other. What do you think about that?
ILARIA : Until 2 years ago it was the same in Italy, but now you can choose to be in one or in both the associations. I think is a very good thing, cause you can have an experience in 2 different way to compete. For some years, if you wanted to do costant weight in Italy, you needed to choose AIDA ‘cause the were no deep competition in CMAS. But now, both organize competition in pool and in the sea and you can choose where and when compete easily.

FRANCE APNEE: A few months ago you started your competing year at Besançon in France. Could you tell us more about this competition?
ILARIA : Olivia (F.) and Arnaud (P.) invited me and I was really glad to go there. It was my first “free” competition abroad (not considering Europe and world Championship) and I enjoyed to be there like a guest and do my “race” with only happy thought and feeling and without any stress. Infact, after Kazan I took a long period out of the pool, cause it was a great goal, but it took me to much energy. Restart to compete in Besancon was a soft and joyfull way to begin!

FRANCE APNEE: Italy as France has a strong tradition in Apnea. What do you know about freediving in France? Did you have the opportunity to chat with French Athletes either in Belgrade or Kazan last year?
ILARIA : I think we share the roots of freediving… and we contend for the podium in every competition. The first placement in jump blue in Antalya was a good example!
I like to chat and talk with other athletes during competition: exchange way to training, way to live freediving, is a great opportunity!

FRANCE APNEE: During the last pool championships you were in direct competition with Natalia Molchanova. What do you think of this extraordinary athlete?
ILARIA : I hope to be like her… She’s the strongest woman in the world, she always win with an unbelievable performance!

FRANCE APNEE: Do you have a role model in freediving, an athlete that you admire the most? And if so why?
ILARIA : Natalia is one of mine best model, but I prefer to pick up particular thing to different athlete to compose my persona way to dive.

FRANCE APNEE: what are your plans for the next few year for your freediving practice. What do you dream to achieve?
ILARIA : At the moment my plan are to arrive very well to the CMAS world Championship in 2015… But I prefer to keep my secret, and reveal it step by step…

FRANCE APNEE: Do you have anything else you would like to tell the readers of France Apnee?
ILARIA : Keep your passion with you! Read France Apnee underwater!

Grazie mille Ilaria et à bientôt sur France Apnée!

Sortie à 233m DYN (Belgrade 2013) photo : France Apnée

Sortie à 233m DYN (Belgrade 2013)
photo : France Apnée

Crédits photo: France Apnée et Nicolas Proquin