Fancy picking up a new sport all the family can enjoy? Freediving isn’t for you. Or, specifically, no-limits freediving in which an athlete plummets underwater as deep as possible, using any method, in just one breath.


It’s a sport that has seen divers ride hundreds of metres towards the ocean floor on a weighted sled at speeds of over 5m/s. The immense water pressure at the depths they reach is enough to crush WWII era submarines. If the human torpedo somehow doesn’t pass out due to nitrogen narcosis at this depth, they then activate a self-inflating balloon to shoot to the surface, where they may suffer decompression sickness and brain damage.

Ping pong it ain’t. Not only has no-limits freediving seen many deaths, but no official diving body will now ratify any new world record attempts over safety concerns.

But what were the deepest dives made before the 2007 ban? Here are the 10 deepest (four of which are claimed by Nitsch Herbert, who can hold his breath for nine minutes).

Source: AIDA

10. Mandy-Rae Cruickshank

Top 10: Deepest freediving world records - Mandy-Rae Cruickshank © Alamy
World-champion freediver Mandy Rae Cruickshank © Alamy

CAN, 2001, 136m

9. Loic Leferme

Top 10: Deepest freediving world records - Loic Leferme © Getty Images
Loic Leferme holds the world record in diving without breathing apparatus © Getty Images

FRA, 1999, 137m

8. Umberto Pelizzari

Top 10: Deepest freediving world records - Umberto Pelizzari © Getty Images
Umberto Pelizzari © Getty Images

ITA, 1999, 150m

7. Tanya Streeter

Top 10: Deepest freediving world records - Tanya Streeter © Alamy
Tanya Streeter diving in the Turks Caicos Islands 2002 © Alamy

USA, 2002, 160m

6. Loic Leferme

FRA , 2002, 162m

5. Loic Leferme

FRA, 2004, 171m

4. Herbert Nitsch

Top 10: Deepest freediving world records - Herbert Nitsch © Alamy
Herbert Nitsch break the new No Limits world freediving record diving to 214m 700ft in Spetses Greece © Alamy

AUT, 2005, 172m

3. Herbert Nitsch

AUT, 2006, 183m

2. Herbert Nitsch

AUT, 2007, 185m


1. Herbert Nitsch

AUT, 2007, 214m