Australian freediver attempts unprecedented double world record

Melbourne: An Australian professional freediver has arrived in Hawaii to make final preparations for an unprecedented double world record attempt.

Christina Saenz de Santamaria has been practising in the stunning cenote caves of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and the waters around Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand.

The current holder of two Australian records after diving to 60m in Hawaii in 2011, Saenz de Santamaria, 32, has just arrived in Hawaii to complete final preparations for a world record attempt to 89m, the Courier Mail reported.

This would break the Free Immersion Apnea world record currently held by Russia``s Natalia Molchanova.

Together with her husband Eusebio, she will also attempt to break the tandem freedive record, diving together to 100m.

Holding her breath for more than five minutes while she descends to depths that shrink her lungs to the size of oranges, she said that her sport takes competitors back to mankind’s roots.

Originally from Vaucluse in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, Saenz de Santamaria began freediving six years ago while working as a dive instructor.

Already her sport has taken her around the world, most recently to Mexico’s stunning cenotes.

Cenotes are deep natural sinkholes in the Yucatan’s limestone bedrock filled with water.

Often used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial and spiritual purposes, they are now a magnet for adventurers looking for an unusual challenge.

While professional freediving takes many years of training, Saenz de Santamaria emphasises that her sport is accessible for everyone.

“You don’t have to be a swimmer, after just a few days of training the majority of people can freedive to 20m, so it’s not just an extreme sport,” she said.