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Breaking the 100 meter mark

December 19, 2010

William Trubridge has set a new world record for “no weight, no fins” freediving at 100 meters and returning to the surface in 4mins 2 seconds.  This is really incredible considering that just 10 years ago the record was almost half this depth.    This happened on Dec. 14.

What is really wild is he did this after a consecutive set of deep dives.   Oh…and the next day he pushed for another record to 101 meters.

The day before he made a clean dive to 100m, but was disqualified for incorrect surface protocol.  He  neglected to remove his nose clip before giving the OK sign.  Then, on Dec. 14, Trubridge’s first attempt didn’t go well.  He swallowed air on his roll and had to abort.   The next dive was solid.

Diving to 100m unassisted is a massive feat.  Here’s a few cool bits of info gleamed from various articles.

— Trubridge reached the mark set in 1980 by Jacques Mayol, whose exploits were featured in the film The Big Blue.  But whereas Mayol used a weighted sled to descend and an inflated lift bag to return to the surface. Trubridge relied on his hands and feet to propel him through the depths.

— He does not remember much of his dive, as he had been on autopilot throughout.  “I’m doing that more and more,” he said. “It’s the same as driving or washing the dishes, it becomes part of your muscle memory, your subconscious. It means more efficient movements and with your brain out of action it uses less oxygen.

—  William’s success came without technical support from physiotherapists, nutritionists or scientists.  But he did train five to seven hours a day for seven months of the year, and used yoga breathing exercises and mind-control techniques in preparation for the 4min dive. “A lot of my techniques are taken from yoga practice. My mother Linda is a yoga teacher and my wife Brittany has just become one too.”

— The dive was his 13th freediving world record and surpassed his previous 95m record set in April.

— “At 100 metres the pressure exerted by overhead water crushes [diver’s] lungs to the size of small grapefruit, and the blood vessels inside them swell with blood in order to stop the lungs from imploding. The heart slows to 25 beats per minute, and [diver’s] have to fight the narcotic effects of pressurised carbon dioxide and nitrogen – the so-called ‘rapture of the deep’ that tempts him towards a fateful sleep,” said Joy Cottle from AIDA NZ, the body representing New Zealand freedivers.    [A gas’s volume at the surface is compressed to just 9% at 100 meters]

— Trubridge is not planning any attempt to extend his unassisted record in the near future.  “A hundred metres is kind of a nice round number,” he said. “It kind of makes it more like a momentous achievement.”   However, he is interested in trying to break the record for free-diving with fins, which stands at 124m.

Here’s a few good videos and quotes.

Touching 100:

“I remember my depth alarm going off and pulling the tag from the bottom plate, 100 meters below the surface. I remember keeping my eyes half-closed and telling myself to ‘relax’ and ‘flow’ as I set off on the long swim back towards the light. And I remember erupting into celebration with my team the moment the judges displayed their white cards”

“It’s never been about the competition with other people. It’s more about the exploration of what we are capable of.”

Another great video here of him returning to the surface and the celebration.

[I take this material from various articles on, Hawkes Bay Today, NZHerald, and 3News, and a great interview by Sport Diver Magazine]

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