I feel most nervous in the countdown for my dive - my heart beats loudly in my chest and the sly wolves of doubt scratch at the door of my mind. Although it's not an ideal way to start a dive, I've stopped worrying about it. I do my best to focus on the light reflecting off ripples on the water's surface and try to accept it as is.''
My first urge to breathe starts quite early, before the end of the first 50m length. It's a gentle cue and easy to ignore - I'm focussing on finding my rhythm and settling into the swim.
The second length is surprisingly the most challenging. The urge is now more insistent and I hear the first voices in my head suggesting 'Why don't you come up now?', 'Its too much effort', 'Take it easy'. And so begins the functional part of the dive.
From 100 to 150m I try to maintain my rhythm but have to adapt to the tired feeling in my legs (which is lactic acid building up from exercise without oxygen). Maybe it's because I'm a scientist, but it helps that I understand physiology so I can explain to myself why it's happening and that it's a sign my body is working as it should. At the 150m turn I give myself a little celebratory thought of 'Woo Hoo!', You've come this far - well done!'. From then on its the persuasive phase.
As I veer towards the surface at the wall or rope, I'm already running through the sequence I have to do on surfacing to prove to the judge that I'm still with it. Breathe, breathe, breathe, nose-clip off, goggles off, give an OK sign, say 'I'm OK'. Any deviation from that disqualifies the whole dive. And then all that's left to do is smile sweetly at the judge and hope for a white card.
Rebecca set a National Record of 186m DYN on 29.11.14 at Grand Central Pools in Stockport.