New Zealander William Trubridge breaks freediving world record

Monday, April 26, 2010

Freedivers experience apnea — no movement of the muscles of respiration — and the pressure causes their lungs to shrink to the size of a baseball

29-year-old William Trubridge from New Zealand set a new freediving record on Sunday, reaching a depth of 116 metres (380 feet) in the Atlantic Ocean, holding his breath for four minutes nine seconds — breaking the world record for the deepest free immersion dive.

Wearing a silicon-coated wetsuit, Trubridge plunged into world's deepest blue hole in a bay west of Clarence Town on Long Island, Bahamas. Dean's Blue Hole is 202 metres (663 ft) deep. Using breaststroke and fins to decend, he said “It was hard to get the tag from the bottom as I struggled with some narcosis". "[I] wasted some time fumbling for the tag, then set off for the surface. I had to use my arms a little from 20m".

Trubridge already held nine world records, and the dive put him into first place in the "Vertical Blue Suunto Dive-Off" competition. Earlier in the tournament he broke the record for a "constant weight, no fins" unassisted dive to 92m (301ft) — the first person to reach the 300ft unaided.

There are many different classes of freediving. For breath-hold diving, there is with- and without-fins, and with/without 'assistance', such as a weighted sled.

This record was for "Constant Weight Apnea with fins", where the diver cannot drop any weights during the dive, and follows a guide line, but cannot touch it. They may use fins to descend, but on the ascent they pull themselves up with the rope. Divers retrieve a velcro tag from a metal plate placed at a certain depth. The record was previously held by Austrian Herbert Nitsch, who reached a depth of 92m (301ft) on 19 April 2010. The 'no limits' record, in which competitors can use a weighted sled, is 214m (702 ft).