The Deepest Diver in the History of Free Diving Goes Below the Ice

On the sluggish drop towards 80 meters, the sound of crackling ice rippled via the water, the barometric strain cranked up, and it was painfully chilly. His job was to simply accept all of it, and stay relaxed regardless of how terrible it felt or what occurred subsequent.

He arrived at the illuminated backside plate, grabbed a black tag, and with an ever-dwindling oxygen provide, dolphin kicked again towards the gap in the ice.

For the previous 4 years, Alexey Molchanov has been the undisputed greatest all-around free diver in the world. He got here of age touring the world, from competitors to competitors, along with his mom, who set 41 world data and received 23 world championship titles, regardless of not discovering the sport till after she divorced at 39 years outdated. She by no means sought sponsorship and supported her household by instructing the sport she liked.

By the time she disappeared while free diving near Ibiza in 2015, her curriculum was being taught throughout Russia and Eastern Europe, and Molchanov already had one depth report, and a number of world championships to his identify. He’d additionally began manufacturing free diving gear below the Molchanovs model. But along with his mom gone in a tragic flash, many free divers puzzled if he’d unravel. And what would change into of the model that carried her identify?

Molchanov didn’t share his ache. He didn’t search remedy or confide in anybody, together with his older sister, Oksana Molchanova, which involved her. She’s additionally a free diver and an teacher, however for 2 years after her mom’s loss of life, she prevented the water. Molchanov dived extra usually and introduced his mom’s free diving curriculum throughout the globe. The ocean turned his grief counselor.

“The water, free diving was the way for me to cleanse and recover,” he stated. Being underwater allowed him to attach along with his mom whereas additionally letting go. “It’s thinking about this connection, and it’s also about not letting the tension and all the negative emotions settle in the body.”

The data began piling up shortly. Two years after his mom’s loss of life, in 2017, Molchanov received Vertical Blue, the Wimbledon of free diving, for the first time. The following yr, he broke two depth data at the similar competitors in Dean’s Blue Hole, the dwelling coaching floor of his best rival, William Trubridge. In 2018, he broke his personal Constant Weight report, by diving to 130 meters and again with a monofin, and he nabbed Trubridge’s Free Immersion world report, by knocking down a line to 125 meters and again once more.

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