Birthdate: June 29, 1984
Erin grew up in Alexandria, Virginia and spent much of her life on the water before becoming very interested in seeing what was beneath the surface. In high school she rowed competitively for her school’s crew team, but really developed an interest in diving when she was in college at the University of Virginia.
“I planned a trip to Europe for a couple of months during a summer break from school. It took about a year or so of planning before I left,” she said. “I looked forward to it the whole year. I finally got to go on the trip, but when it was over I needed something else to look forward to so I signed up for scuba lessons.”
She learned to scuba dive in Lake Rawlings quarry in Virginia, where the water was dark and very cold. She said that even though she couldn’t see much and was freezing her butt off, she fell in love with diving right then and there.
After she graduated from college she spent a week at home before packing up her car and moving to the Florida Keys, where she worked as a scuba instructor for several years. The clarity and warmth of the water solidified her love for the underwater environment.
While working at the dive shop she developed her interest in freediving.
“It started when I was working on the boat. If someone dropped a mask or a weight on the bottom, I’d hop in and get it for them,” she said. “But then it was never enough. I always wanted to go back down, stay there and see what I could do.”
But after a couple of years of freediving on her own, Erin decided to get more training to increase both her safety and overall ability in the sport, so she took Performance Freediving’s intermediate course.
“I couldn’t believe that I could hold my breath for over four minutes and that I could go so deep. Now I get to help other students reach those goals. It’s really rewarding,” she said.
After taking the course she continued training recreationally while continuing to work at the dive shop and while working for a Florida Keys newspaper called The Reporter, a paper for which she freelances as a dive columnist writing Beneath the Surface.
In January 2009, she decided to ditch the scuba tanks and become a freediving instructor for Performance Freediving.
In May 2009, she took part in her first competition in PFI’s “Breathless” event in Grand Cayman, placing third in the women’s division and reaching depths of 55 meters/180 feet.
In May 2010 she competed in “Deja Blue,” PFI’s annual competition in Grand Cayman and broke Tanya Steeter’s longstanding US National Record in Constant Ballast with a dive to 71m/233 feet.
In May 2011 she competed again in “Deja Blue Deux,” breaking her own record four more times, reaching 80m/262 feet in the discipline Constant Ballast.
Following her competition performance Erin competed in the 2011 Formula3Freediving Grand Prix and won alongside her two teammates in this first-ever underwater competitive freediving scooter race!
She now works as one of the head instructors for PFI and teaches intermediate courses around the country and beyond.
“My overall goal with this job is to help build up the freediving community and to bring an awareness of freediving to more people,” she said. “It really is a sport for people of all ages and physical abilities and because it comes in many different forms and disciplines, there’s something in it for everyone.”
For course dates and locations please visit www.pacificcoastfreediving.com