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NZ Record At Stake - Don't Try This At Home


NZ Record At Stake - Don't Try This At Home

Lying facedown in a swimming pool while holding your breath for as long as possible is something many of us tried for a lark as kids. Using the very same methodology Ant Williams, a highly tuned focused athlete will be attempting to break the existing New Zealand breath hold record of 5 minutes 10 secs for a place next to some of the longest breath holders on the planet.

because timing is everything, Peter Crabb of New Zealand Underwater, the national diving body, will record the all important length of time that Williams denies himself air in an event called static breath holding. Static breath holding is one of three disciplines that Williams competes in his chosen sport of freediving.

Williams has already broken the New Zealand record in the constant weight category by plunging to an awesome 45 metres in the icy waters of Queenstown's lake Wakatipu in June this year and he will attempt 60 metres this summer in the sea.

Dynamic breath holding involves distance swimming underwater and Williams can swim 160 m on one breath. This is a distance of just over three lengths of an Olympic-sized pool.

Williams spends many early morning hours in pools all over Auckland and his weekends plunging to blackness in lakes and the ocean in pursuit of his passion. However, one aspect that provides challenge for Ants is the mental preparation for his extreme sport. Williams is a qualified sport psychologist and has expertise in this area. He has coached amongst others, Chuck Berry, a base jumper who hurls himself off cliffs wearing a parachute.

There are some great aspects of the human body that are evidence of our aquatic ancestry that kick in when we dive deep, but it is a tantric yoga-like reduction in heart rate and enormous mental discipline that are required for static breath holding.

Williams and a group of free divers have recently affiliated themselves with New Zealand Underwater to further the development of the sport here and these are exciting times for competitive freediving in New Zealand, Crabb says.

The TV cameras will be rolling on the roof at sky City Hotel on Sunday afternoon, December 14 as Williams makes his preparation and enters the water...

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