As a breath-hold time it was relatively short, certainly for Stig Severinsen, but a recent horizontal dive by the veteran Danish freediver has smashed a previous distance record by 25m and has just been featured as “Record of the Day” by Guinness World Records (GWR).
Severinson, now 48, undertook his “2020 Dive” over a distance of 202.0m to represent the past “wild and challenging” year and to “end it on a positive note”.
Using a monofin off the Mexican resort of La Paz in Baja California, he completed the longest open-water dive ever performed on a single breath of air – the equivalent of more than eight lengths of a standard swimming pool. The previous GWR record of 177m – just over seven pool lengths – was set by the Venezuelan Carlos Coste four years ago.
Severinsen and his team were based with British-owned dive-centre Cortez Expeditions for the record attempt.
“It’s so amazing to see so many people become inspired by this dive, which is exactly why it is important to set goals and chase your dreams!” said Severinsen yesterday (23 December). The author of the influential freediving manual Breathology, he teaches breathing techniques for both peak performance and physical and mental rehabilitation.
Considerably longer-distance breath-hold dives have been achieved by freedivers using biofins over the years but under the pool conditions as recognised by governing body AIDA – both Polish freediver Mateusz Malina and Panagiotakis Giorgos from Greece have achieved 300m.
Severinsen is already a long-time Guinness World Records holder and has been praised by the organisation for the difficulties of the challenges he has undertaken.
In October 2013 he achieved two underwater breath-hold distance records in icy Qorlortoq Lake in Greenland – the first while wearing a wetsuit and fins, and the second a day later wearing only swimming trunks. In water temperatures of 1°C, he covered distances of 152.5m and 76.2m respectively at around 1m depth.
GWR says that Severinsen, who has a maximum lung capacity of 14 litres compared to the average 5-6 litres, has contributed to scientific research “by allowing scientists to test and evaluate what happens to his body under extreme physical and mental stress”.
“When the world was hit by Covid-19 almost a year ago, I was looking for a way to show that the pandemic was not an excuse to forget our priorities for Nature, or put our ambitions on standby,” says Severinsen. “On the contrary – that is why I have spent the time training and developing both myself and my message”.
The training paid off – watch his seemingly effortless dive here.