World Record Freediver Natalia Molchanova Feared Dead After Recreational Dive

natalia molchanova world's greatest freediver

Ask anybody who knows anything about freediving to name the greatest freediver in the world and they’ll probably say Natalia Molchanova. The 53-year-old set 41 world records and won 23 world championship titles across the sport’s various disciplines. In 2013, the same year she set a world record by holding her breath for 9 minutes 2 seconds, Molchanova became the first woman to break the 100-meter barrier in constant weight freediving. And just this past May she set the record for diving without the use of a fin when she plunged down an incredible 71 meters.

Sadly, this freediving legend disappeared on Sunday during a routine recreational dive off the coast of Spain near Ibiza. And after two days of intensive searching, her son, Alexey Molchanov, says she is presumed dead.

At this point we have no idea what happened to Molchanova, and we may never know. However, any number of things can go wrong when freediving, even for a seasoned pro such as her.

“She was a free-diving superstar, and we all thought nothing could harm her,” explained Kimmo Lahtinen, president of AIDA, the global organization that governs freediving. “Nothing could happen to her, but you know, we are playing with the ocean, and when you play with the ocean, you know who is the strongest one.”

Hat Tip – [New York Times]

Tags: death, free-diving, Natalia Molchanova, swimming, world records,