Friday, March 28, 2008

Freediving: A Short History

A Short History of Apnea
Many people wonder, when has this freediving "thing" began ? The most ancient evidence of freediving has been found on the coast of the Baltic sea, where a civilization that has been named "The Clam Eaters" has been dwelling about 7,000 - 10,000 years ago. The civilization was named so because the remains of clams and shellfish were found nearby - evidence these people used freediving as means of retrieving food from the bottom of the ocean.

Jewelry was to be made of pearls, a material that could only be retrieved from the bottom of the ocean, in ancient Egypt as early as 3,500 bc.

Apnea was certainly practiced in all of the cultures bordering on the Mediterranean basin, and this has been confirmed by traces visible in both archeological findings and chronicles handed down through Greek and Latin literature.
Modern Day Apnea
The first ever recorded freedive has been performed by a Greek fisherman named Haggi Statti in 1913. Haggi, age 35, has been introduced to a captain of an Italian fleet ship anchored in the Picadia bay. His task is to recover the ship's anchor, which has sunk to a bottom of about seventy-five meters. As payment he asks for a small sum of money, and the permission to be able to fish with explosives. After several days of searching the seafloor between depths of -60 and -80 meters he recovered the ship's anchor, returning from a depth of -76 meters after an immersion of around three minutes.

The first official record has been set in 1949 by Raimondo Bucher who has reached a depth of -30 meters where he has passed a parchment sealed in a canister to a diver below. This record has been broken in 1951 and set to -35 meters and broken again in 1952 and set to -39 meters.
The First Rivalry
In 1961 the record has been set at the depth of -50 meters by Enzo Maiorca, who together with his rival Jacques Mayol will dominate the world of freediving in the next three decades. In 1966, Mayol took the mark to -60 and the race for depth has began.
In 1968 Maiorca dove to a depth of -72 meters and a year later to a depth of -74 meters, a month later, Mayol responded by descending to a depth of -75 meters and -76 meters right after in Japan. Inflamed by the -76 of Mayol, Maiorca swam past him in the abyss to -77 and improved this depth twice to -78 and -80 meters. Mayol breaks the record again by 6 good meters. In 1974 Maiorca passes the baton to -87. Mayol responds by diving to a depth of -92 meters and thirteen months later, on the 23rd of November, Mayol reaches the legendary depth of -101 Meters. In 1988 Mayol performs a dive to -105 meters. Maiorca has retired with a dive to -101 meters, a suitable ending to a glorious diving career.
The Second RivalryIn 1989, the Cuban Francisco 'Pipin' Ferreras dove to a depth of -112 meters. The record has been broken in 1991 by the Italian Umberto Pelizzari and a new rivalry was born. On the 20th of September 1992, Pipin dives to a depth of -120 meters. Pelizzari responds on October 11th by diving to -123 and taking away the "Deepest Man" title from Pipin. Pipin reclaims the title on the 12th of November the same year by diving to a depth of -125 meters. Pipin Improves his depth 3 more times; on July of 1994 to -126 meters, -127 meters in November the same year, and on the 30th of July, 1995, he dives to a depth of -128 meters. On the 24th of October 1999, Pelizzari reclaims the "Deepest Man" title back with a dive to -150 meters.

The Apnea of the WomenThe history of women's apnea began in the early sixties. On the 26th of June 1965, Giuliana 'Jolly' Treleani dove to -31
meters, taking the title that was established with -30 meters by Hedy Roessler who had overtaken the -25 meters of Francesca Trombi. Giuliana has traveled with Maiorca to cube where she reached the -45 meters mark. In 1986, Rossana Maiorca, daughter of Enzo, has reached a depth of -69 meters. In 1988 Patrizia Maiorca, Rossana's sister, has reached -70 meters while Rossana dove to a depth of -80 meters. One year later Angela Bandini, a student of Mayol, trounced everyone, men included by reaching the incredible depth of -107 meters.

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1 comment:

  1. Nice article, please consider adding another very important forefather, Bob Croft.


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