Gary McGrath is the deepest ever self-propelled freediver from the UK, claiming a national record of 112m in CWT at 2022’s Vertical Blue competition.
In this episode we catch up with Gary since last years amazing Vertical Blue performance and examine the dark places in our mental environments, open up about depression, anxiety and seeking help, and sincerely hope you benefit from this discussion ❤️
Miguel Lozano is one of the deepest freedivers in the world. He first appeared on episode #67 of The Freedive Cafe podcast!
Stefan Randig is a German competitive freediver based in Dahab, Egypt. He first appeared on episode #10 of The Freedive Cafe.
Jordy Duncan is not only my awesome co-host on the Freediving Journal News Dispatch, but an up and coming elite freediver in her own right.
Jordy has only been diving for around 2 years but has managed to achieve distances in the pool of more than 200m, which for me is an absolutely mind-blowing achievement!
Perhaps more interesting than Jordy’s rapid rise as a freediving athlete is to see that in the context of where she’s coming from…. Jordy has struggled with an eating disorder for much of her life and her discovery of freediving and applying herself to it has been instrumental in her recovery.
Pete Botman is a Canadian/Dutch freediving athlete and instructor based in Dahab, Egypt. He is a 100m+ diver, multiple World Record holder in the CMAS Master’s category and he didn’t start freediving until he was later in his forties.
Tito Zappalà is an Italian freediver and coach. He worked under the eye of Andrea Zuccari at Freediving World in Sharm el-Sheikh for five years before moving up to Dahab when he currently lives and coaches.
Ali Okab is the boss and face of the world-famous Aqua Marina, located right at the Blue Hole north of Dahab, Egypt.
His restaurant is the starting point for all freediving adventures in the Blue Hole and the de facto family house for freedivers from all over the world.
Kateryna Sadurska is a multiple record holder and Ukrainian champion.
She has a background as a synchronised swimmer and even made it to the Olympics in Rio to represent Ukraine in that sport, and later turned her attention to our wonderful sport of freediving where she has rapidly been rising to the elite levels, especially in her pool performances.
Denis Grosmaire was raised in the pacific island nation of French Polynesia, travelling for island to island as a kid with his mom, growing up in the ocean from a very young age.
However, he didn’t dive deeper than 30m or take a freediving course until he was 39 years old. After that he very quickly rose up through the competition ranks and now dives well over 100m.
Denis also has a fascinating relationship with sharks. He spends hours and hours in the waters of French Polynesia with Tiger sharks and has fought hard to win some amazing conservation victories there.
Bizo Silva is an Emergency Medicine physician practicing in a trauma center in Northern California, USA. He specialized in lung ultrasound in trauma. Bizo took part in much of the basic research and development of methods on how lung ultrasound is practiced today.
After working for a few years in a very busy trauma center in Brazil, he moved to the USA in 2007. He discovered freediving on a vacation to Hawaii, and shortly after decided to shift careers towards freediving medicine after he was blown away by the fascinating physiology of this unusual sport.
Alex Llinas is from Colombia and holds several national records. He dived his first 100m during competition at this years AIDA World Championships in Roatan.
His story of spending years in immigration limbo, battling cancer and losing his father before going on to become a top freediving athlete is truly inspirational.
Juani Valdivia, neurosurgeon and competitive freediver joins us again to discuss some important topics related to freediving medicine.
Carlos Diezel is a freediving athlete from Brazil and manager of the world famous Dahab Freedivers school in Egypt.
This interview can also be watched on Youtube at Freedive & Thrive
Rami Bladlav is a top level athlete in Static Apnea competing for Sweden. He is nearing the 10 minute breath-hold mark.
Today we talk about his journey from Iraq, to Mixed Martial Arts, to his passion for long breath-holding performances.
Guillaume Néry is one of the most iconic figures in the freediving world. A World Champion, world record achiever and a filmmaker who has introduced the underwater world and freediving to millions.
Lily Crespy is a former molecular biologist turned freediving coach and instructor. She has represented France several times as an athlete in freediving competitions and is part-owner of the world famous Dahab Freedivers school.
Lidija Lijic is a 5 x world record holder, a World and European champion, a pilot, a climber, a mountaineer, an architect, a motivational speaker and a Sea Shepherd ambassador.
The strength of the Croatian athletes in freediving is well known, Lidija is not an exception. We talked about her Jump Blue Days, running up mountains with a snorkel in your mouth, an incredible project in the Himalayas with Vitomir Maricic, her love of sport climbing and her possible plans for this years Vertical Blue….
Stig Severinsen has a degree in biology and a Ph.D. in medicine. He began experimenting with holding his breath as a child at the bottom of his parents’ pool.
Stig has played underwater rugby at an elite level, he’s been a freediving world record holder, he’s broken a few Guinness world records, he was the first to break the 20m breath hold barrier on pure O2 among other feats of human endurance, and now he works on spreading the word about his system Breatheology, a set of tools and techniques derived from 3 specific areas;
- The art and science of breath control and yoga
- Research on human physiology and neurology
- Modern sport exercise training and FLOW psychology.
On today’s show is Jennifer Wendland, Jennifer is a current World Record-holding freediver from Germany and unless anything has changed since we recorded this interview two months ago, currently holds all of the German national records, and has done for quite a long time!
We talk about how she manages to balance training as a top-level athlete while working a regular human job, we compare athletes of other sports and talk about what challenges she faced over the years and how she overcame them.
The preamble to this episode contains a rant by Donny about politics and sport and references the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the country of Taiwan. If you are easily triggered by these topics then please skip to 13:39 to start the interview.
Florian is French freediver with more than 10 years experience in the sport and has reached in these last few years, the amazing performance of 10 minute in static apnea, his chosen discipline – a performance that very few in the world have achieved.
Florian is based in Thailand, from where he joins me today. We’ll hear about his journey as a freediver, his work in Thailand with his school Blue Immersion and how COVID has affected business there.
We talk about the myocarditis he developed after his COVID vaccinations and how it has affected his athletic, breath-hold performances and we give advice to budding static apneists on how they can best improve their breath-hold times.
Petar Klovar is a World Record breaking Croatian competitive freediver. In the 2022 CMAS World Championships he dived an incredible 92m in CNF (Constant Weight No Fins).
On today’s show we have a Freedive Café favourite returning to the show. Founder of Immersion Freediving and the Freedive Live Podcast, Ted Harty came back and we had a conversation sharing some of our experiences and advice regarding the instruction of freediving.
So this episode may offer up some helpful or insightful information for new or aspiring freediving instructors and my even hold a few gems for experienced instructors too.
Ted appeared on Episode 60 and Episode 82 of the podcast.
Maria-Teresa Solomons is a link to the early days of deep freediving before the modern competition era, along with her partner at the time Aharon Solomons they were there in the time of Pipin and Audrey, Umberto Pelizzari and Davide Carrera, a young Martin Stepanek was around, Kirk Crack, Tanya Streeter, a whole host of freediving royalty, a time when things were simpler in the world and also in freediving, when freediving was still very exploratory and deep diving logistics and training were being figured out as they went along.
You’ll also hear about the shared history I discovered I had with MT and Aharon with a place called Agios Pavlos in southern Crete in Greece, which blew my mind, and then we’ll move on to talk about MT’s life in Baja, Mexico, where she is running unique freediving training courses and we talk about her experiences with plant medicines and the ultimate potential of the deep diver outside of just training and performances.
Vitomir Maričić returns to The Freedive Café to answer the legendary Training Talk questions!
We also discuss his experiences with nitrogen narcosis and decompression illness.
Vitomir first appeared on Episode #81.
Originally aired on Thrivers Podcast exactly one year ago, in this fascinating interview we discuss James Nestor’s latest book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art.
James Nestor originally appeared on Episode #19 of The Freedive Caféwhen we discussed his previous book Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and what the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves.
Chris McKay is the founder of Freedive Tulum and was Chief of Safety at the 2021 AIDA World Championships in Cyprus.
Tom Peled is a breath coach and freediving coach from Tel Aviv, Israel. Join us for this fascinating conversation on the power of the breath, working with trauma, helping athletes to their peak performance and much more.
Julia Mouce, Freedive Cafe favourite returns for her fourth appearance!
Julia is the owner of Apnea Bali freediving school on the island of Bali, Indonesia and one for the most highly regarded professional freediving coaches in the world.
Today we focus on the art of instructing freediving, from the beginning level, to coaching athletes at the top of their game.
Julia appeared on EPISODE 28, 52, and 101
The Hungarian phenom Farima Korok returns to the show, continuing the run of amazing female athletes appearing here recently.
Fatima first appeared on Episode #110 of the podcast, you can hear all about her personal story and journey in freediving there. Today we welcome her back to answer the training talk questions!
On today’s show we have another amazing girl joining us, you know the girls are really the ones leading the way in terms of exciting freediving these days, and Alice Modolo of France is no exception.
This year at the famous Vertical Blue competition she achieved the first ever 100m dive for a French female athlete in a CMAS competition and topped that off with a CMAS World Record in CWT bifins with a dive to 95m.
Alice has had a long and interesting journey in freediving, at one poiunt giving up the sport for several years to focus on her career, then ultimately giving up her career to focus on the sport. We’ll hear all about the process she has gone through to bring her mind, her breath and her body into alignment with what is necessary to be a world record-making freediving athlete.
Gary McGrath is an English competitive freediver. His first appearance on the show was Episode #109 | Breakthough
This is his Training Talk episode
Claire Paris is a competitive freediver and professor in the Department of Ocean Sciences at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Her research is dedicated to biological oceanography and ocean conservation and we’ll go into that in detail in the show. If you wanted to know how pelagic fish begin their lives or what the difference is between phytoplankton and zoo plankton and how important they both are to the health of the planet, you’ll find that out too
Tom Ardavany first contributed to the Vertical Blue medical team in 2012 and has been part of the team many times since then. He has also been present as a medic at many other top-level freediving competitions including Blue Element in Dominica.
Tom is an expert in the field, and brilliantly educates us on everything from lung squeeze and athlete monitoring protocols as well as the unforeseen and strange situations that have taken him by surprise over the years.
Louisa Collyns hails from London but eventually found her way into the underwater world through scuba diving, and then, as so often happens, she met some freedivers and nothing was ever the same again.
She has been involved in teaching freediving and being a safety diver at major competions for the best part of a decade and is also the founder of Freedive Ibiza, which has been providing freediving education on the beautiful Spanish island since 2015.
Mirela Kardasevic is and has been World Champion, Vice-World Champion, 6 times World Record Holder, twice bronze medalist at the European Championship, and multiple Croatian national champion and record holder and some of that might have to be updated since the CMAS competition last week, but as you can see, it’s quite the list of achievements for someone who came into the sport aged 30 and has only been at it for a few years.
Nathan Vinski is an up and coming Canadian competitive freediver and freediving coach.
Nathan’s specialist skill is ‘being a struggling freediver’ and knowing how to apply a sports science-based approach to freediving, helping to turn freediver struggles into strengths. If you want to know how to train and compete for depth, or pool, in cold or warm locations, Nathan is a guy that can help you out because he’s been through all the struggles and reached all the dead ends that we aspiring deep divers often encounter.
Fatima Korok is from Hungary. Fatima has been on a special journey through freediving, not just quickly rising to become the first Hungarian freediver to become a World Champion, but overcoming many personal challenges on the way.