New Depths in Freediving
Perhaps nothing universally pushes the physical (and mental) limits of being human as much as the act of holding your breath underwater — which means every one of us can relate, at some level, to the sport of freediving. What's harder to relate to is the seemingly super-human feats that competitive freedivers have accomplished in recent years. In 2010, New Zealander William Trubridge broke the 100-meter mark — diving 101 meters (331 feet) in a single breath. Trubridge didn't use any swimming aids, a type of free dive known as Constant Weight Apnea Without Fins. His record still stands in that category.
In 2013, Russian Alexey Molchanov used a monofin to achieve a depth of 128 meters (420 feet) in one breath, and set a new world record in the Constant Weight Apnea category. Some freediving competitions don't even require a dive. In Static Apnea (aka breath holding), divers simply go face down in a swimming pool. The Frenchman Stéphane Mifsud holds that world record, set in 2009: a mind-blowing 11 minutes and 35 seconds without breathing. According to Grant Graves, the President of USA Freediving, impossible is the new possible. Take Static Apnea. Graves says the world record has already been far surpassed in non-record performances, and that the Holy Grail is now 14 minutes. For freediving Constant Weight Apnea Without Fins, the next frontier is 120 meters, nearly 400 feet, and for Constant Weight Apnea, it's 150 meters, nearly 500 feet. "We have had numbers go up so fast that perceived limits are not as powerful as they used to be," says Graves.