Give the man a big hand: multiple freediving record-breaker William Trubridge has just laid claim to smashing yet another record – and this one looks set to prove extremely tough to beat.
The Bahamas-based New Zealander, who is 42, swam a total distance of 51.575km under water in 24 hours, with each 25m-length of a Nassau swimming pool completed on breath-hold and without using fins. The number of underwater lengths happened to coincide with next year’s date – 2023 – though he says that was an unplanned “fluke”.
The previous endurance record for “breath-hold laps with no propulsive assistance” had covered 23.35km, considerably less than half the distance Trubridge managed.
Diving over the weekend (5-6 November), Trubridge had announced his goal as achieving the standard marathon distance of 42.2km (at least 1,687 lengths of the pool). In the event he had already reached that target after 20 hours and, despite feeling the pain, managed to keep going to the end of the day to make his record even more emphatic.
He said that he had hit his “wall” around halfway through the 24 hours, but managed to get past the nausea, fatigue and ligament pain he was experiencing.
The record bid was intended to promote awareness about “the mental-health crisis facing the world today,” says Trubridge. It coincides with the imminent launch of his The Mental Immune System, which he describes as “a video series and method that programs the subconscious mind with tools that help move past anxiety, stress, and depression.
“I’m passionate about these techniques that I’ve learnt and developed in a career of stretching human limits in freediving and I’m passionate about how powerful they can be for anyone struggling with the daily pressures life exerts on us,” says Trubridge. And having clocked up 2,023 pool-lengths in a day the freediver adds: “Let’s make 2023 the year that we turn the page on mental health!”
Trubridge has set 18 freediving world records in the past, most recently in 2016 in the Constant Weight without fins depth category (102m). He has organised the annual Vertical Blue international competition at Deans Blue Hole in the Bahamas since 2008.