Pumping Mental Muscle
He might be more of a good ol' boy than an ascetic, but Hunter-Reay is all about discipline and that starts in his head. He says that free diving has been good for him because he's had to learn to keep his calm even when his body is telling him to panic. "That initial burn is a natural reaction," he says of the urge to swim toward the surface. "You can train your body to do so much if you focus on the mental approach."
Though it took him a long time to learn to suppress his urge to swim up, he can now descend to the seafloor at 60 feet and hang out a bit, sneaking up on the parrot fish and grouper that prowl the Bahamian waters he frequents. "In racing, you want to have a very calm aggression about everything," he says. That's the same approach he's taken to staying down.