British freediver sets new national record

Gary McGrath freediver

London-based freediver Gary McGrath has broken the British freediving record at a prestigious freediving competition in the Bahamas.

Wearing a monofin, McGrath swam down to a depth of 112m, using a measured rope for guidance. Judges from the event’s organising body AIDA were waiting at the surface to validate his dive as ‘clean’ and confirm he had broken the previous record, 111m.

Freediving involves diving underwater without the use of breathing apparatus.

Mr McGrath, who is from Twickenham, told media: “Diving below 100m is a totally unique environment, it’s my therapy.”

The 41-year-old had to hold his breath for three minutes and 13 seconds to complete the dive.

“This year has been extremely challenging for my mental health and freediving has helped me overcome that for sure.

“At depth I have complete isolation from the everyday world we live in. Down there it’s just me and nature. It’s that escape that all freedivers crave.

“There are moments of extreme mental clarity and purity that I can only achieve when underwater. The flow state that a deep dive allows me to experience is unique and addictive.”

Freedivers are expertly trained athletes who are subjected to a stronger pressure on their bodies with every metre they descend. At 112m, the atmospheric pressure would have shrunk McGrath’s lungs by around 12 times – to the size of a golf ball.

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