World champ holds breath

Jan Tyler is a midwife and member of a champion underwater hockey team. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d409034
Jan Tyler is a midwife and member of a champion underwater hockey team. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d409034

Tyler (52) said the game was as quirky as its name suggested, with two teams of six (wearing snorkels, fins and wide-frame goggles) holding their breath underwater and manoeuvring a puck across the bottom of a 2m deep pool.

At the 18th CMAS Underwater Hockey World Championships in August, Tyler and her fellow women’s masters teammates went through the tournament undefeated to be crowned world champions.

‘If I played a sport that was more mainstream I probably would not have had the opportunity to play on a national level,’ she said.

‘Travelling to Hungary and competing was a wonderful experience.

‘When we celebrated afterwards I think we won the best party as well.’

Tyler said she had always loved the feeling of being underwater.

‘Underwater hockey is completely different to swimming because you have to hold your breath and try to stay under the surface as much as possible,’ she said.

‘When you are moving fast and getting out of breath, a big element to the game is how quickly you can recover.

‘Training is about aerobic fitness and developing lung capacity to use oxygen as effectively as possible. It is an extremely enjoyable way to keep fit.’