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Four World Freediving Records Broken

Thursday, April 14th was the last day for record attempts for Team PFI (Performance Freediving International) off Cobalt Coast on Grand Cayman, BWI. The event now sees three athletes with four new world records and one national record in the sport of freediving / breath-hold diving.

Freediving or breath-hold diving as a sport is where athletes compete in disciplines involving time, depth and distance with different sub categories in each. The competitive world of freediving emerged in the late 1940's and today is enjoying unprecedented growth and booming popularity with underwater enthusiasts the world over. Although freediving as a sport is relatively new, freediving as a means of sustenance can trace its roots back 4500 years.

Team PFI has been training on Grand Cayman for a shot at five different world records and one US national record since March 14th. The athletes on the team are Mandy-Rae Cruickshank (Canada), Martin Stepanek (Czech Republic) and Dr. George 'Doc' Lopez (USA). Mandy-Rae and Martin already held four and five world records respectively prior to the event.

Although the Cayman Islands were damaged by hurricane Ivan in September of last year, Team PFI decided to continue with their planning of this year's event. "Cayman's infrastructure was more than ready to support the extreme needs of our event from a safety and performance point of view" says Kirk Krack, coach/trainer and organizer of Team PFI. "We're very pleased with the support we've received from the many sponsors and supporters who helped make this event a reality and without their support and financial assistance, this wouldn't have been possible."

Mandy-Rae Cruickshank
Kirk Krack assisting Mandy-Rae Cruickshank prior to a dive
Mandy-Rae Cruickshank
Mandy-Rae Cruickshank in Free Immersion

Photo by Alex Mustard

Mandy-Rae is thirty years old and resides in Vancouver, Canada. Freediving competitively since 2000, Mandy-Rae has now held six world records and currently holds three including the constant ballast world record where athletes swim to depth and back with fins and retain their ballast. In March 2004 in Grand Cayman she achieved a depth of 78m / 256ft, surpassing Tanya Streeter's record of 70m / 230ft.

During this event Mandy-Rae successfully achieved a depth of 50m / 164ft in the discipline of constant ballast no-fins where athletes swim down to and back from depth without fins. In addition she also set the free immersion world record to 74m / 243ft where athletes pull down to depth and back without fins.

Martin Stepanek
Martin Stepanek about to start a variable ballast dive
Martin Stepanek
Martin Stepanek

Photo by Alex Mustard

Joining Mandy-Rae is team member Martin Stepanek of the Czech Republic. Martin is twenty-seven years old and a seven-time world record holder now holding four world records also including constant ballast at 103m / 338ft surpassing Carlos Coste's record of 102m / 335ft.

Over the past week, Martin successfully achieved a depth of 80m / 264ft in constant ballast no-fins breaking the previous record of 66m / 216ft. Martin made the last record attempt of the event, reaching 136m / 447ft in variable ballast. This record was previously held by Carlos Coste of Venezuela. In variable ballast athletes ride a weighted sled to depth and then swim and/or pull back to the surface unassisted.

Dr. George Lopez
'Doc' Lopez
Partnering with Performance Freediving International is Dr. George 'Doc' Lopez, CEO of ICU Medical Inc (NASDAQ; ICUI). Doc joined Mandy and Martin in Cayman for his second year and successfully achieved a US National record of 61m / 201ft in Variable Ballast. Doc, a highly successful CEO is also a blue water world record spearfisherman.

The Association for the International Development of Apnea (AIDA), the world governing body for the sport of freediving officiated the event. AIDA Level A Judges Bill Strömberg (Sweden) and Nicolas Laporte (Switzerland) were the officials in attendance ratifying the attempts and ensured the strictest of safety protocols were followed. Both athletes now wait for the results of IOC level anti-doping tests to confirm their world records as a final procedure.

Along with ICU Medical Inc, DiveTech and Cobalt Coast on Grand Cayman provided diving support and accommodations while Danny Kupkowski of 'Off The Wall Divers' provided a daily training boat. Underwater video services were provided by Amphibico Inc of Montreal, Canada. Professional wetsuits furnished by Oceaner Sporting Goods and Yamamoto Corporation.

Daily journals with photos and streaming videos are available at www.performancefreediving.com. More information regarding the event is available from Kirk Krack at kirk.krack@performancefreediving.com

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Upcoming Events

  • April 21-27, 2008 - PFI Presents Bob Croft at Liquification event in Grand Cayman
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Freediving or breath-hold diving is a type of advanced snorkeling and water adventure that allows us to experience the sights, sounds and challenges of the most natural of underwater experiences.

Human evolution and development has ingrained us with an underwater potential the same as our marine cousins, whales, seals and dolphins.

Without the use of underwater breathing apparatus, freedivers on a single breath of air can explore the underwater realm for minutes at a time with relative comfort.

Freediving is about the comfort and exploration of the ocean realm for recreation, spearfishing, competition or personal discovery.

For over 7 years, Performance Freediving has helped enthusiastic men, women and youth to explore the underwater world with expert training, support and products from the world's top freedivers.

PFI is North America's longest running Freediving training agency having taught over 2300 students to dive deeper, longer, and safer. Let us show you how!

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