Apneists UK club and school

Apneists UK was established in 1999, formally as ‘The Manchester Freediving Group’ for Cheshire & North Wales. Since that time more and more freedivers have been introduced to the sport of apnea through our freediving school and we are continuously growing every year.

We pride ourselves on maintaining good contact with divers throughout the UK as this give us a larger network of established pockets and the freedive community thoughout the world. Apneists UK is headed by its founder Steve Millard, who has been in the watersports industry since 1991. Our central base is Manchester, England where most of our courses are run. Students are able to benefit from joining a large network of qualified and experienced divers throughout Northern England, Scotland and Wales.

Our group has sessions in Manchester, Trafford, Stockport, Leeds, Liverpool, North Wales, York, Harrogate, Newcastle, Astley, Birmingham, South Lake District, Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh amongst others, and we maintain close relationships with other UK groups so that our network can help you on your travels anywhere you are in the country.

Teaching all over the UK and abroad we will travel to your location for groups. We follow all standards set out by the agencies AIDA International, RAID the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and UK Health and Safety recommendations.

PADI Instructor Course

Apneists UK Club description

Trying to describe our club in the best way is a challenge. I think the best description is that it gives you whatever you want out of Freediving. We have a minimum entry requirement so that all divers know what to do in the case of emergency, and how to look after each other, which means our starting base of people are also all considerate people.

The main focus of the club is four main areas. There is a fifth, competition, which is treated differently. It’s accessible for anyone who is interested, but you don’t need to go down that route unless you want to.

1) Courses:

Basic education is important for safety, for comfort, for ease of learning and for consideration of others. We start with the AIDA 2* pool and theory course or the PADI Freediver course, and then Freedivers choose whether they want to move up the AIDA / PADI ladder towards becoming a better diver, or they want to concentrate on specialities like no fins diving, monofin use for the budding mermaids and mermen, spearfishing, competition safety diver or really whatever direction they want to go. Some divers just want to enjoy the sport at this entry level and get benefits by doing so. Most though do choose to improve themselves in some way through the Education system we have in place

2) Fitness:

Freediving is a sport, it uses energy, but you are exercising doing something you enjoy. It helps weight loss, it improves cardiovascular fitness, and strengthens muscles and helps with flexibility amongst other benefits. This is an enjoyable way to keep fit whilst doing something you enjoy, as good a reason as any. We always have over 10 weekly pool sessions, sometimes more across the UK, and regular open water diving in the warmer months.

3) Recreation:

We have regular pool sessions where people can turn up and socialise, enjoy a dive and come for the fun and relaxation of it all. This is as much of an option as performance training is. The beautiful thing about Freediving is that you can have people in the same pool space, with different goals and they all get what they need from a session. It works very well for us. Even though it is a very personal sport and you get out of it what you want, we also look after each other very closely, so strong bonds are formed. We dive both in pools and open water, and once again, you can specialise in either or both.

4) Adventure:

We go swimming in the sea, we dive with sharks and seals and turtles and rays, we dive wrecks, we spearfish, we dive on sleds as deep as we can, we just turn up at remote locations and just dive, it is a very free sport, you have the option of accessing waterways, lakes, quarries, seas and oceans in a totally different way than you have experienced before. For the adventurous amongst us, this is certainly an option, but if not, the recreational diving is fun.


We don’t just have Instructors in the club, we have coaches too. These are dedicated Freedive professionals who can spend time with athletes over long periods of time, help design training plans around their lifestyle, help work on their nutrition, technique, flexibility, fitness and a host of other skill sets in order to create the finished product, a world class athlete. Without doubt Apneists UK deliver in this field through regular coaching programs and we have had 27 National records through the club, we have had world champions in the club, national champions and we have no end of podium places to our name in competitions over the years and many times athletes have represented their country in world championships.

We hope you will find our website useful and perhaps one day welcome you as a member too. If you have any question regarding are courses or freediving in general, or you just want to give us your feedback, then please don’t hesitate to contact us by email or call steve.

We look forward to your reply . . . happy diving.

“So, thank you again, your lovely nature was so calming and encouraging, and you made everyone feel safe with you so quickly.  Not everyone has that gift.”

Annie Ruscillo

“Hi Steve, Really enjoyed the course yesterday. I liked your relaxed style. It just worked!”

Nick Turton

“Thanks a lot Steve, really enjoyed this day and looking forward to more sessions! I particularly liked the atmosphere of calm, trust and benevolent encouragement that was established, very helpful to set your mind in the right place before holding your breath Many thanks again, à bientôt Florent”

Florent Pallas

“Hi Steve, Just a very quick email to say thanks to the both of you for yesterday and for making the day such a wonderful experience.Cheers from Becca and me (. . . short Swiss Matt)”

Matthias Ruttimann

Our Team

Steve Millard
Steve MillardAIDA Freediving Instructor Trainer & PADI Freediving Instructor Trainer & RAID Freediving Instructor trainer
Gary Lowe
Gary LoweFreediving Instructor & Aida International Judge
John Moorcroft
John MoorcroftAthlete, Spearfishing & Freediving Instructor
Mandy Buckley
Mandy BuckleyFreediving Instructor & Aida International Judge
Matthias Ruttimann
Matthias RuttimannAthlete & Freediving Instructor
Bart Lubecki
Bart LubeckiAthlete & Freediving Instructor