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Freediving - Testing Human Limits

Freedivers compete by trying to hold their breath underwater as long as possible.
Freediver

It's an underwater sport where athletes test the human limits of time, depth and distance on one breath of air. Kidzworld checks out the world of freediving.

Freediving - History

Freediving or breath holding has been around in one form or another for thousands of years.
  • In Ancient Greece, divers would hold their breath and dive underwater to catch fish or search for pearls.
  • In 1911, one of the first freediving competitions was held when a Greek fisherman, Yorgos Haggi Statti, was offered a few dollars to dive more than 200 feet to rescue the anchor of an Italian ship which had become stuck in the Aegean Sea. After several attempts, Yorgos retrieved the anchor from the bottom after holding his breath for close to seven minutes. The Italian ship was set free and Yorgos became known as the "father of freediving."

    Freediving - Disciplines and World Records

    There are now three main disciplines or events in competitive freediving:
  • Constant Ballast - The diver swims as deep as they can and back without the assistance of extra weight. The world record is held by Carlos Coste of Venezuela who dove 102 meters (312 feet) underwater.
  • Static Apnea - The diver holds his or her breath for as long as possible while floating face-down in a swimming pool. The world record is held by Tom Sietas of Germany who stayed under for 8 minutes, 47 seconds!
  • Dynamic Apnea - The diver swims as far as possible underwater in a swimming pool. The world record is held by Peter Pedersen of Denmark, who swam 200 meters (610 feet) without taking a breath.

    Freediving - Techniques

    Annabel Brisenom, a member of the United States Freediving Team and former freediving world record holder, trains for freediving competitions by lifting weights, running and practicing yoga. During a competition, she'll talk to herself and think of positive suggestions to help her stay under longer. Other freedivers constantly repeat the ABCs to themselves or imagine that they're slowly being injected into the ocean with a syringe!

    Freediving - Dangers

  • If you've ever tried to see how long you can hold your breath underwater, then you've already tried freediving. It is a sport which can be very dangerous if you don't have proper training and you should NEVER try any form of freediving on your own.
  • One of the most common dangers in freediving is a blackout. A blackout occurs when a diver pushes themselves to where their oxygen level drops to a point where the brain can no longer perform normal functions and the diver passes out.

    Related Stories:

  • Freediving - Tanya Streeter
  • Wild Things - Dolphins
  • World's Most Dangerous Sports
  • More Off the Wall Sports
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