Deepest free dive: Human more than 100 meters underwater

If you’ve not heard of free diving Imagine this. Soaring hundreds of feet deep into the sea using just mask, a massive dose of courage and a deep breath.

deepest free dive

Pearl divers and spear fisherman have been diving free for many thousands of years. But an increasing number of divers are doing it for fun.

There are a myriad of races around the world, where athletes test their limits and their good judgment by diving as deep as they can, even without Scuba gear.

Freediving is among the oldest types of diving, and it requires divers to dive deep enough to dive in only one breath.

Freediving is among the very first water sports to become popular. It’s been around for a long period of. The traditional way of doing it was to dive for food and sponges, coral and pearls. 

Freediving was only reduced when technology improved, and introduced us to more efficient methods of fishing and foraging. However, in the ancient times, freediving was very commonplace and the longest freediving depths were about 50 meters in one breath!

Freediving today is an activity that is competitive and experienced divers can endure as long as 22 minutes in the water.

The most experienced freediver, Stig Severinsen has his Guinness World Record for the longest freedive in ice on just one breath and Stig Severinsen was the first to achieve this record doing the dive in Speedos!

Let’s find out about two most famous freedivers in the world:

Herbert Nitsch

Herbert Nitsch

There are just 4 freedivers worldwide who have dived further than 560 feet. Two divers drowned in the process. Nitsch is the sole diver, to date that has dived further than 700 and 800 feet. There’s a lot of history behind freediving. And it is the perseverance of dedicated free divers in opposition to the negative critics.

They have made something that was once considered impossible, possible!

The unique career of his freediver began by a single incident. In the latter part of the nineties, when Herbert was on his way to a scuba diving safari, his equipment for diving was lost in the process. Therefore, Herbert decided to snorkel instead of diving the entire trip. 

Then Herbert discovered his natural aptitude to freedive very quickly. He was enthralled by the unique nature of the sport and was advancing quickly. After freediving for ten consecutive days just, he came 2 meters (6.5 feet) less than his Austrian National record.

Herbert is a self-taught person. He is an innovator in every aspect. He created his own techniques for freediving throughout the years, a technique that is quite different from conventional styles. 

He came up with innovative ideas for the sport that have now become standard features in the freediving scene of today. For instance, he brought the monofin into the depth and distance disciplines, and set world record across all the fin-disciplines. 

Herbert also introduced new inventions to the freediving community like Neck weights, the pipe masks, the decompression stopping during breath-hold, oxygen use after deep diving, as well as the EQUEX (equalization extension instrument). 

Herbert designed and developed the most high-tech sleds that are advanced to be used in the No Limit discipline, which include various safety, back-up, and override mechanisms.

Herbert Nitsch is named as “the Deepest Man on Earth” and for a excellent reason! He is a multiple World Champion and the current record holder of the Freediving World Record. Nitsch has 33 records in the world and he is able to keep his breath underwater for longer then nine minutes.

Alexey Molchanov

Alexey Molchanov can dive more than 39 stories down and hold a single breath for more than five minutes.

alexy molchanov

In the year 2020 , Alexey Molchanov swam beneath a frozen quarry just outside Moscow. Holes were cut through the ice to allow him to swim in case the need to come out, however he was unable to breathe for three minutes swimming for nearly 600 feet.

In the spring of 2021, he took a plunge into the ice of Siberia and took a dip. At 14 degrees, it was when he set a new world record, the deepest dive under ice using fins. In a single breath, Molchanov reached 262 feet in 37-degree water.

Researchers who looked into Molchanov and the effect that free diving has on his body have estimated that the amount of air he breathes in at least two tons of air prior to each dive.

This is a technique that he learned from his mom, Natalia Molchanova, considered to be the best free diver ever. She began her career when she was 40 after an impressive life in Russia.

Alexey Molchanov:

She was my coach in swimming. And I was following her trainings. We would go together to the pool. She would do her training, I would do my training.

So this transition to free diving and me following her as a free diver coach, that was very natural. She started to be like best, very, very fast and yeah, I was proud. I was very proud of her.”

Together, they took on the world of freediving and took over it. Alexey set his world record at the age of 21.

At the age 53 His mother Natalia held world records of 42 and had won 24 gold medals.

In the year 2015 she was delivering the public a diving course for free in the waters off Spain when she vanished. Her body was never discovered.

Molchanov appears to be content underwater, hunting whales, not record-breaking records, and on land with his newly-wed daughter and wife Elena the former Olympic swimmer. The family is expanding free diving school that his mother founded, and has certified hundreds of instructors across 20 countries.

As the sport continues to grow, Alexey Molchanov seems confident about his role in it. At the age of 34, he owns more than a dozen world record.

World Record made by free divers

Free-immersion freediving(FIM)

Free-immersion (FIM) is the process by which a freediver swoops down a dive line that is weighted. It means the diver won’t require the assistance of fins or a monofin to assist them.

FIM Record(Men): Alexey Molchanov

Depth: 126m (413ft)
Time: 4:30
Year: 2021

FIM Record(Women): Alessia Zecchini

Depth: 101m (331ft)
Time: 3:50
Year: 2021

Continuous weight freediving(CWT/CWF)

weighted sled

Divers often believe that Constant Weight Freediving to be the most pure type of freediving. It’s divided into two distinct freediving disciplines that are the CWT (constant weight using fins) and CWF (constant weight with fins but without). These world records in this discipline are:

CWT Record(Men): Alexey Molchanov

Depth: 131m (429ft)
Time: 4:10
Year: 2021

CWT Record(Women): Alenka Artnik

Depth: 120m (387ft)
Time: 3:32
Year: 2021

CNF Record(Men): William Trubridge

Depth: 102m (335ft)
Time: 4:14
Year: 2016

CNF Record(Women): Alessia Zecchini

Depth: 74m (243ft)
Time: 3:10
Year: 2021

Free-immersion freediving (FIM)

Free-immersion (FIM) is the process by which a freediver is pulled along a line of weighted diving. It means that the diver won’t require the assistance of fins or a monofin in order to help them.

FIM Record(Men): Alexey Molchanov

Depth: 126m (413ft)
Time: 4:30
Year: 2021

FIM Record(Women): Alessia Zecchini

Depth: 101m (331m)
Time: 3:50
Year: 2021

Variable Weight Freediving(VWT)

In Variable Weight Freediving divers make use of the weight to drag them steadily down until they reach their desired level. 

When they reach the desired depth then the weight is released and divers are able to safely return up to the surface using fins and pulling the rope. Although this extreme sport isn’t necessarily competitive, world record may be made in it.

VWT Record(Men): Stavros Kastrinakis

Depth: 146m (479ft)
Time: 3:33
Year: 2015

VWT Record(Women): Nanja Van Den Broek

Depth: 130m (427ft)
Time: 3:00
Year: 2015

No Limits Freediving (NLT)

NLT is the field that demands the most deep free diving to be performed. When doing No Limits Freediving, divers utilize a weight to drag them down into the ocean. They then use a buoyancy device of control that will lift them back up towards the ocean’s surface.

NLT Record(Men): Herbert Nitsch

Depth: 214m (702ft)
Time: 4:24
Year: 2007

NLT Record(Women): Tanya Streeter

Depth: 160m (526ft)
Time: 3:26
Year: 2002

Dynamic Freediving (DYN/DNF)

Dynamic freediving such as freediving with constant weight is broken into two categories that are Dynamic with fins (DYN) and dynamic with no fins (DNF). 

Dynamic freediving occurs when freedivers hold air in their breath for a long time, not a certain depth. The competitions usually are held in an aquatic pool.

DNF Record(Men): Mateusz Malina

Depth: 244m (801ft)
Year: 2016

DNF Record(Women): Magdalena Solich-Talanda

Depth: 191m (627ft)
Year: 2017

DYN Record(Men): Giorgos Panagiotakis & Mateusz Malina

Depth: 300m (984ft)
Year: 2016

DYN Record(Women): Magdalena Solich-Talanda

Depth: 257m (843ft)
Year: 2019

How does free diving works?

scuba gear

Underwater freediving is the act of holding your breath. Some freedivers prefer to play it for fun while others make use of this technique during spearfishing or competitive freediving.
Freediving can also be referred to as ‘apnea’. It is an underwater activity that requires divers soaking themselves with the ventilation system. 
A lot of people believe that freediving can bring advantages for both the short- and long-term divers, which include greater awareness of oneself, breathing control as well as stress management and relaxing muscle tensions.
But freediving could bring with it a host of serious dangers, including the body’s temperature dropping 25 times faster than usual as well as decompression sickness and the level of nitrogen within the body rising. 
There are many other risk, but with proper training and instruction from a group of experts in freediving Learn ways to limit the risk of freediving and ensure your safety underwater.

How long do you have to be able to hold your breath?

scuba gear

In the beginning the physiologists and scientists believed that if human beings plunged more than 100 feet and their lungs collapsed, they would die. 
They done exhaustive research and etermined what they could learn about the body’s functions and the impact that massive levels of pressure could cause. 
However, freedivers decided to take a chance on the risk and today are swimming 7 times deeper than what was originally recommended.

What is the Deepest Free Dive Limit?

deepest free dive

No limit freediving is the deepest dive and most extreme freediving-discipline. It utilizes a sled with a weight to assist the diver in descending into the depths and an inflatable device to help him ascend up to the water’s surface.
Another well-known diver, freediver James Nestor explane own feeling in freediving the following way:
“Something amazing happens the second we put our faces into water. Our heart rates lower about 25 percent. Blood begins rushing from our extremities into the core. The mind enters a meditative state. At around 250 to 300 feet the heart rate of some of these free divers has been recorded to be about 14 beats per minute. That’s about a third of a coma patient’s. It should support consciousness, according to physiologists. And yet deep in the ocean it does. But no one knows exactly how.”
There is something magical about free dive, which divers appreciate. Aside from providing a physically challenging activity, it also challenges people to push human body beyond limits they thought were possible.


Freediving is a thrilling and highly specialized skill which is believed to be more hazardous that base-jumping. But this breath-hold type of diving underwater has the most experienced divers returning to try it again. 

Have you ever dived freediving before? There’s nothing quite like keeping your last breath before the dive and many freedivers believe that the sensation of coming back is similar to breath for the very first time.

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