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Freedive photographer
Freedive photographer

Free-diving is an aquatic sport, considered an extreme sport, in which divers attempt to reach great depths unassisted by breathing apparatus.



The world record for the "No Limits" category of competitive free diving is held by French diver Loic Leferme. On 30 October 2004 he dived to a depth of 171 m, in Villefranche, Nice, France; surpassing his previous record by 9 meters. The current women's record is held by Tanya Streeter, who dived to 160 m (524.8 feet) on 17 August 2002. The unofficial records are held by the late Audrey Mestre (166 m) wife of legend Francisco Pipin Ferreras; she drowned whilst trying to set a world record of 171 m (561 feet).

Competitive free diving is generally broken down into three categories; static, dynamic and depth.

  • Static Apnea is timed breath holding and is usually attempted in a pool.
  • Dynamic Apnea is underwater swimming for distance and has sub-categories for swimming with and without fins. This competition is usually held in a pool.

The depth category has four sub-sections:

  • Constant Weight competition is for self-propelled maximum depth, no weights or lines are allowed. This category is also divided into sections for fins or without fins.
  • Free Immersion competition is for self-propelled ascent and descent along a line and is for maximum depth.
  • Variable Weight competition uses a weighted sled for descent and the diver ascends by pulling themselves up along a line.
  • No Limits competition allows the diver to descend with a weighted sled and ascend with a buoyancy control device, usually an air filled bag with a tether.

Women's and men's records are recognized in each category.

Free-diving featured heavily in the 1988 Luc Besson film Le Grand bleu (The Big Blue).

Physiology of Free-diving

The human body has several adaptations under diving conditions, which stem from mammalian diving reflex. These adaptations enable the human body to endure depth and lack of oxygen far beyond what one would expect. The romantic explanation is given by the anthropologists' aquatic ape theory.

These are the adaptations human body have under water and high pressure.

  • Bradycardia: Drop in heart pulse rate
  • Vasoconstriction: Bloodvessels shrink. Bloodstream directed away from limbs for the benefit of heart, lungs and brain.
  • Splenic contraction: Releasing red blood cells carrying oxygen
  • Blood shift: Blood fills up bloodvessels in the lung and reduces residual volume. Without this adaptation, human lung would shrink and wrap into its walls and have permanent damage at depths below 30 meters.

Some famous free divers

See also

External links

ja:フリー・ダイビング id:Selam bebas nl:Vrijduiken ru:Фри-дайвинг sk:Ndychov potpanie


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