The development of underwater swimming in Kazakhstan began to take shape in the late 1960s.
Every year, Kazakhstani athletes showcase a commendable standard on the international stage, achieving remarkable results and bringing prestige to their nation. Among those elevating Kazakhstan's image and promoting sports are underwater athletes, who rank among the world's finest. Their repertoire boasts a cascade of medals and records in three disciplines of underwater swimming and modern pentathlon.
The emergence of underwater swimming in Kazakhstan dates back to the late 1960s. Domestic achievements encouraged athletes to pursue excellence both nationally and internationally. The impressive performance of Kazakhstani underwater swimmers can be attributed to a robust coaching tradition founded upon unwavering discipline and tenacity.
Valery Vasilyev, an esteemed coach in underwater sports and modern pentathlon, reveals that within the realm of sports, underwater orientation stands as a significant discipline. In this discipline, athletes, without surfacing, must locate various targets underwater while maintaining a designated course, often with visibility limited to 1-2 meters.
“Underwater orientation is an intricate sport, where, in coaching terms, a strong mental acumen is paramount. Athletes require solid psychological resilience as they navigate underwater conditions, facing discomfort and fear, even within the confines of a secure aquatic environment under the watchful eyes of judges and controllers. Of course, to surmount these challenges, including coping with low temperatures, athletes must possess an exceptionally robust constitution. During the exercise, swimmers cover an 800-meter distance at a depth of two meters. This endeavor extensively engages muscles in the back, pelvis, and legs, with the arms focused on maneuvering equipment. Consequently, athletes must be in excellent physical condition to endure such substantial demands” – Valery Anatolyevich explains.
Shakhnoza Kurbanova, an instructor at the State Team Training Center of the Sports Committee of the Ministry of Defense, is one of Valery Vasilyev's protégées. As a master of sports of international class in underwater orientation, she boasts an impressive collection of 94 awards of various distinctions: 23 international and 71 Republican accolades. At the CSKA, Shakhnoza, alongside her coach, focuses on preparing combat swimmers and underwater athletes.
The principles of underwater orientation are akin to those on land, yet underwater orientation is inherently more intricate. Equipped with a compass affixed to a tank, a depth gauge, and meters, the objective is to swiftly navigate and locate submerged buoys. A mere 1.5-2-degree error can lead the athlete far off course.
Underwater sports are among the disciplines that the International Olympic Committee views as a prospective inclusion in the Olympic program. Showcased demonstrations by athletes are anticipated at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Paris.