What’s The Freediving Record?

By David Fialkoff •  Updated: 03/09/21 •  8 min read

If you are wondering how long you should train to break a freediving record, be aware that it will take a lot of work and time since the world record is 214 m!

This record was set on June 14th, 2007, by Herbert Nitsch – a freediver from Austria. However, it applies only for no-limit freediving, so there are many other records to break. Let’s learn more about them!

What is the world record for freediving?

The sport of freediving can be divided into several disciplines. And there are separate world records for each of them. You will find them listed below:

1) Variable Weight Apnea

Variable Weight apnea is one of a few non-competition disciplines in freediving for which records may be set. In this discipline, a diver is allowed to change his/her weight during the dive. Variable Weight freedivers usually use a heavily weighted sled on their way down and pull on the line when ascending.

Although Variable Weight freediving is a quite competitive event, it is also a perfect way to explore underwater. It gives you a quick and easy descent and a lot of time on the bottom, even at significant depths.

The main difficulties related to Variable Weight freediving are equalization and breath-hold. Additional weight will take you well below 100 m, and you will not find air to equalize your ears there. Besides, you need to make sure you have enough oxygen remaining in your blood and lungs for safe ascending.

So what are the world records in Variable Weight freediving? Let’s find out!

This record was set on October 18th, 2015, in Egypt by a Dutch diver Nanja van de Broek. Her dive lasted about three minutes, and she broke a legendary record of 127 m previously held by Natalia Molchanova.

The world record in Variable Weight apnea freediving was set on November 1st, 2015, in Greece by a Greek diver Stavros Kastrinakis. A dive to a depth of 146 m took Stavros more than three minutes, and it was his first world record in freediving.

2) No-Limits Apnea

No-Limit freediving is another non-competition discipline, and as its name suggests, you are allowed to use any gear you want to reach the maximum depth and return to the surface again. No-Limits apnea was the principal discipline practiced in the early days of competitive freediving.

Most often, No-Limit freedivers use a heavy sled on their way to the bottom and a balloon filled with a gas to ascend again. It allows them to reach a speed of more than 2 m/s.

However, due to the effects of nitrogen narcosis, many freedivers are unable to operate an underwater gas-filling system properly. For this reason, the way that the deepest No-Limit dives are conducted has changed drastically, and now it allows divers to achieve speeds of around 5 m/s.

No-Limit freediving is undoubtedly both the most dangerous and the most technical freediving discipline. You might think that the diver has nothing to do except holding his breath and holding on to the sled. Still, there are numerous potential dangers he has to take into consideration, including the effects of water pressure on his body or the problems of descent speeds of more than 5 m/s and equalizing at depths over 150 m.

Now, let’s learn more about the world records in this discipline.

This record was set on August 17th, 2002, in the Turks and Caicos Islands by a U.S. diver Tanya Streeter. Her dive lasted over three minutes, and it was the greatest depth achieved by any diver at the time.

The world record in No-Limit freediving was set on June 14th, 2007, in Greece by an Austrian diver Herbert Nitsch. He achieved a depth of 214 m, which was enough for setting one of his 33 world records!

3) Free Immersion

In Free Immersion freediving, you are allowed to use a line for both descending and ascending, but you cannot use fins or extra weight. The Free Immersion dives are usually much slower than No-Limit or Variable Weight ones – a dive can last more than five minutes.

Free Immersion freediving is probably the most forgiving discipline of this sport. It is the reason why it is so popular among beginners. Nevertheless, even though it is relatively safe, there are still some risks involved.

The main danger associated with Free Immersion freediving is the risk of injury caused by the water pressure effects. For this reason, you should be extremely careful at depth.

Now, let’s take a look at the Free Immersion world records:

This record was set on October 16th, 2019, by an Italian diver Alessia Zecchini. Her dive lasted almost four minutes, and she achieved a depth of 98 meters.

The world record in Free Immersion freediving was set on July 24th, 2018, at the Vertical Blue freediving competition in The Bahamas by a Russian diver Alexey Molchanov. He achieved a depth of 125 m, setting one of ten world records set at that competition.

4) Constant Weight

Constant Weight apnea is the most prestigious freediving discipline worldwide. It requires you to ascend and descend along the rope without touching it. Moreover, you cannot change your weight during the dive, but you can use fins.

World records in Constant Weight freediving are as follows:

This record was set on July 22nd, 2018, in the Bahamas by an Italian diver Alessia Zecchini. She achieved a depth of 73 meters, setting her second freediving record.

The world record in Constant Weight freediving was also set by a Russian diver Alexey Molchanov at the Vertical Blue freediving competition. On July 18th, 2018, Molchanov achieved a depth of 130 m and broke his own world record.

This record was set on June 11th, 2019, in the Philippines by a Slovenian diver Alenka Artnik. Her dive lasted about three minutes, and she achieved a depth of 92 meters.

The world record in Constant Weight freediving with bi-fins was set on August 05th, 2019, in Honduras again by a Russian diver Alexey Molchanov. He achieved a depth of 110 m, setting his third freediving record.

How long can free divers hold their breath for?

How long can you hold your air? This question is probably the most asked question for any freediver. What might seem to you as something unbelievable or unachievable is, in truth, a great combination of physical stamina and mental evolution.

Most freedivers can hold their breath for more than five minutes, and some of them – for eight minutes or even more. The limits of breath-holding are considered to be nine minutes for women and eleven minutes for men. Nevertheless, some individuals can hold their breath far beyond that.

What is the longest time a person has held their breath?

As was mentioned above, it is not recommended to hold your breath for more than eleven minutes. But what is the world record for the longest time holding a breath underwater?

The record for the longest time breath held voluntarily was set on February 28th, 2016, in Barcelona by a Spanish freediver Aleix Segura Vendrell. Aleix has spent 24 minutes and 3.45 seconds underwater and broke the previous record (22 minutes and 22 seconds), which was set by a German freediver Tom Sietas.

What’s the deepest a freediver has gone?

Seventy years ago, scientists believed that a depth of 30 meters is the deepest you can dive and survive. According to them, your lungs might suffer a fatal collapse if you would go deeper. But a group of crazy people known now as freedivers decided to check if it is true.

As you already know, today’s freedivers are diving six or even seven times that, and they are not going to stop. Diving to 30 meters is just a warm-up for most professional divers, especially for Herbert Nitsch.

Herbert is the only freediver who achieved a depth of more than 200 m. His world record of 214 m set in 2007 remains unbeaten to this day. There are many other records set by freedivers and scuba divers. Still, the depth of 214 m is the deepest the diver has gone without air supply and other specific equipment.


As you can see, there are dozens of freediving disciplines and numerous records to beat. You might try to dive deeper than Herbert Nitsch or hold your breath longer than Aleix Segura Vendrell. But remember – it is not that easy!

Setting a new world record as well as breaking an existing one requires a lot of effort and many years of hard work. Nevertheless, nothing is impossible, and even the craziest record can be broken!

David Fialkoff

David Fialkoff is the founder of Spearfishing.Live, a site that's dedicated to the sport of spearfishing. He is a full-time digital marketer and loves to spend time chasing fish underwater on the weekends.