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Ocean Scientist Breaks Freediving Record

Ocean Scientist Breaks Freediving Record in National Competition

MIAMI – University of Miami Professor Claire Paris broke the USA Women’s National Freediving record in the freediving discipline of Dynamic No Fins with a three minutes and seven seconds swim of 128 meters (420 feet) on a single breath. She was competing with twelve other athletes in the first annual event.

“I am very happy and grateful with this National Record accomplishment. It is a reflection of my connection with water and the ocean,” said Paris, director of the Physical-Biological Interactions Laboratory at the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. “I have dedicated my life to the study and conservation of the ocean and freediving makes me feel one with the water.”

As an ocean scientist at the UM Rosenstiel School Claire Paris' research focuses on dispersion at sea. She has developed numerical modeling tools used worldwide to track oceanic currents, pollutants, and the early life forms of marine organisms that dwell in the plankton, whether they are baby fish or coral larvae. To inform her virtual larvae with realistic behaviors, she has also developed a unique underwater drifting laboratory to track the movement these tiny larvae and record the signals they might use in the open ocean to find they way to the reef and nursery grounds. Another powerful component to her scientific approach is how she interacts with her research subjects underwater. Paris uses her talent as a certified freediver to minimize any human disturbance to her research subjects.

The competition took place during the California Cup freediving competition at the Culver City Plunge Community Pool. Dynamic No Fins is performed by swimming underwater without fins in a pool, the athlete holding their breath and swimming as far as they can. Distance is measured where the athlete emerges with a metered tape. Paris added three meters / ten feet to the record previously held by Shell Eisenberg, Performance Freediving Instructor in Hawaii.

USA Freediving is a non-profit association founded on a democratic representation of freediving within the United States and internationally. Founded in 2003, US Freediving brought together a diverse group of 21 founding members, all interested in the development and growth of freediving. In just six months, this highly dedicated group was able to create an association recognized as the voice of freediving in the United States by the international community.

The International Association for the Development of Apnea (AIDA) is the international sanctioning body for freediving, individual and team competition, and freediving world record attempts. AIDA nationals are individual associations that represent freediving and AIDA in their country, similar to Olympic Organizing Committees. For more information about AIDA, visit:

Read more about Professor Claire Paris:

Paris work cuts across disciplines and brought recognition to the key role of larval transport in marine population connectivity with important applications to fishery management, coral reef conservation, the design of marine reserve networks, and to the impact of changing climate on planktonic life, the very beginning of most marine organisms. With 10’s of oceanographic missions around the world and more than 100 publications, her contribution to ocean science is internationally recognized.


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