Speaker 0 00:00:01 It's about mental strength and about staying as relaxed as you can as well. And then as soon as the breathing and visa coming, I just try to stay relaxed and focus on my objective. Holding your breath is about time. A watch is the main tool that a free diver needs.
Speaker 2 00:00:28 What gives us our edge and how do we go beyond it? How thin is the line between taking part and tipping into victory? What inspires those moments of rare advantage down to the millimeter, down to the microsecond that change the shape of the race? Is it faith, talent focus, or shared determination, a winner's born or made, and what happens when things go wrong or when it all goes right. Welcome to the edge. We'll be talking to people operating at the very edge of possibility from athletes to actors and from artists to entrepreneurs. I'm your host to Vandam BRCA, and we'll be giving you the fuel you need to get in the zone and challenge your limits. Watch out. This is the edge, a podcast by tag Hoya. Arthur Gohan Bowery. Thank you so much for joining me at the edge with tag Hoya. It's so exciting to have you here in the flesh. Um, we have lots to talk about today. Most importantly, obviously your free diving career. Um, I guess the first thing I'd quite like to discuss with you, I'd read something in the news recently, um, about you wanting to break a new record, a swimming costume record in Canada. So can you explain what the, what the costume is compared to get a suit?
Speaker 0 00:01:54 I just sent an email before, because I, I, to like you were talking about an swimming costume, I don't know why it's just a swimsuit actually ha it's like a regular,
Speaker 2 00:02:04 A regular, that's a, I think that's a language barrier thing that we might have heard. I
Speaker 0 00:02:07 Don't know where, where the keep came, so it's just a swim regular.
Speaker 2 00:02:11 So would just mean like a pair of swimming trunks basically.
Speaker 0 00:02:13 Yeah. Just, just like, just like a, a Speedo, you know? Sure.
Speaker 2 00:02:16 Okay.
Speaker 0 00:02:16 So just like a Speedo and, uh, I would have like a cap, like a, like a head cap, right. And a pair of Googles, like just a mask maybe. Okay. And it makes Speedo and that's it.
Speaker 2 00:02:29 Is that, uh, because it's a temperature thing or what, what's the difference between diving in just a pair of trunks and, you know, wearing the full that's a wetsuit.
Speaker 0 00:02:37 Yeah. Oh, well it's a, it's a question of cold <laugh> yeah. Okay. It's a question of cold. Um, usually we, we use wetsuits in free diving either if we are like free diving in the sea, like depth, uh, or dynamic free diving in pools, or even under ice, normally we use, uh, we use wetsuits. Right. Um, but I wanted to, uh, to, um, take like a higher challenge and, um, and, um, leave my wetsuit, uh, in my bag and try to, uh, try to jump under the ice, like just with a Speedo. Oh wow. And so that's just a way to, uh, to explore something new and to like overtake myself, overpass myself, undertake myself, sorry. <laugh> overpass myself, like in something new and different than what, what I'm used to do. Wow. Emily. So basically it's like the same. There's just the coolness that's, uh, that, uh, just like way more important.
Speaker 2 00:03:39 But when you are doing something at the level that you are doing it at and already pushing yourself as hard as you are, surely something like a couple of degrees dropping temperature is actually quite impactful. How
Speaker 0 00:03:51 Do you, there's a lot of degrees of difference
Speaker 2 00:03:53 Is there, right? Yeah. Yeah. Like
Speaker 0 00:03:54 A wetsuit is very protective. Okay. It's like thermal protective, even if it's like thin. I, I had like a two ERs wetsuit last March, or my first, um, world record attempt of these two world record attempts I'm doing right now. Right. The first one was like last March. Yeah. The next one is next March. So the last one was like, was like, was like with my thin wetsuit, like two millions one. And, uh, but it's already a very big difference. Really. Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:04:24 Wow. So doing it without any kind of wetsuit, I mean, that's gonna be a real challenge right
Speaker 0 00:04:28 Now. Yes. There is a, um, a big work to do on cold acclimatization called water acclimatization. And, um, this is something that's will come, uh, besides of my, uh, free diving training and physi physical trainings. This is something, this is something new I'm adding actually.
Speaker 2 00:04:51 So what, what specifically does that cold acclimatization training look like?
Speaker 0 00:04:58 Well, um, it's in the winter first, um, and basically it's, um, going in cold water as regularly as I can. Um, not more than five times a week because otherwise it's too, uh, too tiring. Okay. Um, and basically it's like going the water as regularly as you can, uh, during all the year. Trying, not like trying not to stop, you know what I mean? Yeah. I mean, I I'm, I'm swimming in the sea in summer and I continue swimming in the sea, uh, during fall. Right. And then I continue it during the winter. So my body acclimatize, um, progressively through the cold tempera temperatures. Right. I cannot jump in like in a five degrees water straight without any, any acclimatized before otherwise my body is not going to support it. It's going, I'm going to, uh, I know like my heart can stop, you know, and I, I can like, um, fill in hypothermia very fast. So my body has to be very acclimatized and this, uh, acclimatization goes through a very progressive adaptation, uh, through the seasons actually. Right. So the important point is to go in the water, um, as regularly as I can and not to stop.
Speaker 0 00:06:33 Okay. Try to, um, to follow the drop of the, the temperatures, uh, in the sea, in the lakes, even in the pools outside pools, like, uh, in my village, just behind these. Yeah. Um, my aunt, my own place. There's a pool there, uh, outside the house and I go there for my cold water trainings, uh, usually. And so I, but I have to go like to make it progressive and, uh, and slow. That's the, that's the key,
Speaker 2 00:07:04 Will it impact how long you are able to stay underwater it being that much colder on your body? Will it, will it make that kind of instinct to protect yourself <laugh> and stay alive that much keener, or are you aiming for it to not have any impact on the
Speaker 0 00:07:21 Duration? There's a big impact yeah. Of the cold and, um, on the breathing envy, right. We call the breathing the, the urge to breathe, uh, breathing
Speaker 2 00:07:30 Envy. I
Speaker 0 00:07:31 Like that breathing envy. That's the urge to breathe, you know what I mean? Sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, uh, yeah, the, the cold has a, a huge impact on it. Um, it's not only a matter of sensation when we dive, when we free dive, actually there is a lot of, uh, physiological adaptations that, um, that comes to us, uh, after a certain point, when we hold our breath, um, these physiological adaptations will be like, um, heart rate slowing down. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, um, a vaso constriction, peripheric vaso constriction, um, and, uh, kind, kind of a blood shift and the blood is coming back to the vital organs. Right, right. Um, so those are like the three mains, um, what we call mammal reflex it's uh, it's those physiological adaptation I was talking about. And those physiological adaptations, usually when they start during the dive, it's the same, the exact same moment as when the breathing and V pops up. You know what I mean? Sure. Yeah. Um, the cold water effects will be to make it happen sooner, the right diving reflex, you know, the mammal reflex. Mm. Um, so as those diving reflexes come sooner, the breathing envy will come sooner as well. So it's not just a matter of sensation of cold mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it's also a matter of, um, free diving challenge, I would say. Right. Like mental challenge, you know what I mean?
Speaker 2 00:09:20 And your body kind of literally working against you to do what you, to allow you to do what you want to do in a way and overcoming that
Speaker 0 00:09:27 My body can work against me. Sorry. I,
Speaker 2 00:09:29 I guess it's all of those physiological adaptations are working against your desire to
Speaker 0 00:09:34 No, actually those, those it's, um, very ambivalent because those, um, physiological adaptations, they are, um, needed to go far or to stay long on breath hold or to go deep in the sea. It's, uh, without those mammal reflexes, those physiological adaptations, we cannot hold our breath for so long. Ah, those are, um, physiological mechanism that allows us to, uh, to hold our breath insecurity for very long. Right. Those are, um, survival, uh, mechanism. Right. You know? Sure. Yeah. Yeah. And, um, and it's in our genes actually. It's, uh, it's natural. It's like reflex. We cannot control it actually. Okay. Um, and it's, um, it's common to all the mammals, so, uh, whales, us cats, dogs, and mouses, you know? Sure. Um, so we have it as well, and those are like the key to hold our breath for long. Right. That's it. Okay. But on the other hand, when you have those adaptation adaptations popping during the breath hold, usually the, the urge to breathe, the feeling that you want to breathe comes at the exact same time. Those reflexes are, uh, starting, you know what I mean? Yes.
Speaker 2 00:10:58 Okay. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:10:59 It's, it's a matter of CO2 and, uh, and, uh, brain brain adaptation to the CO2 that is, that is increases in the increasing in the blood, you know, right. When you hold your breath. So that's a, this is the question. Um, so yes, actually you need those reflexes, but on the other hand, the ears to breathe is coming in the same time in cold water, those reflexes are starting very, very fast. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> the vessel constriction, the heart rate, uh, dropping and the blood shift to the vital organs. It starts very, very, very fast. Mm. Like just after, I don't know, like, uh, maybe 20 meters under the ice. Wow. Swimming, it's starting very strong. And so the breathing envy in the same time, you know what I mean? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So, uh, yeah, this is the, the main impact of cold water on free divers. It's that it makes it more difficult mentally, but on the other hand, the diving reflexes are very strong. So you are kind of kind of safe actually. Cause those reflexes allows us to go far on our breath holds in security. Actually this is a security system for the body to protect itself itself. You know what I mean? Amazing.
Speaker 2 00:12:20 Yeah. Course. That's it. We're gonna talk more about the record breaking dive that you did last year in much more detail, um, soon, but I guess before we do that, we should go back to the beginning. Arthur, how did you get into free diving in the first place?
Speaker 0 00:12:36 Oh, uh, young <laugh> uh, yeah, I was born in niece, my hometown now. Um, but I grew up in Paris. Um, but my, both of my families, they come from, um, south France and, uh, so I was going there very oftenly when I was a child during holidays. Um, and I spent most of my time underwater, like, um, playing with the fishes and stuff like that. So already very young. I had like a very close, uh, intimacy with this element. Um, and I felt like just, I felt well underwater holding my breath. It was like something I don't know, very, uh, deep inside me. <laugh> okay. Um, and then I saw actually, uh, I saw the movie the big blue. Mm. I dunno if you heard about it. Yeah. Yeah. It's very famous in France. Yeah. And it's a bit cliche to say that, but, uh, it had a big, uh, impact on me.
Speaker 0 00:13:39 Um, I was exactly feeling the same thing as the, the feeling that is, um, described in this movie when, uh, when the, the main character is diving on the water with this feeling of, uh, you know, very, um, you know, very poetic, very, uh, detached from reality, uh, and is, uh, his thoughts, you know? Um, and, um, this was exactly what I was feeling underwater, uh, before. So I saw the movie and I said, okay, this is something, wow, this is something very interesting. Maybe it's something I should get involved in more seriously. But, uh, I didn't actually, at that time, I saw the movie at the age of like 10, 12 years old. Right.
Speaker 0 00:14:26 But it stayed in my mind for my old, um, my old like teenage time. And then at, uh, the age of, uh, 25, 26 just after my students in Paris, um, I went back to sports seriously. I went back like swimming, dunno how why, but was just swimming. Um, and, um, and after, after a while I, I was, uh, on the internet at my place trying to find like a swimming coach, you know, to, uh, to do it seriously. And suddenly I said to myself, okay, I love free diving. Is there any, uh, any way to do it, like in a club with like professional, uh, coaches and teachers, you know, like someone who can tell you how to do it? Uh, I thought I was the only, uh, the only dumb guy to, uh, to search for it. And actually, I, I typed on Google freed diving club Paris, and I realized that it was like a sport that was, uh, exploding at that time.
Speaker 0 00:15:38 Oh, really? Yeah. It's, uh, actually it's not today. It's not only a sport reserved to a, um, to a, a category of diver, like very experienced diver who wants to train in pools and, uh, stuff like that. It's not like only for spare fishers who want to improve their skills actually today it's like a sport therapy who, which is, um, actually, it's, it's a sport that a lot of people are, um, are, um, begging for, you know, in, uh, in big cities, especially like Paris, for example, of course people are always like looking for, um, like, I don't know, like yoga, Tahi, uh, meditation. I was gonna say, it's meditative. Right. You know what I mean? Yeah. Of course these kind of activities and actually freed diving became one of these activities. One of these sports that are very trendy, uh, nowadays. So now there is like everybody coming in clubs and trying, not only like skilled divers or space fishers as it was like before, right.
Speaker 0 00:16:51 A few decades away, but now it's like everybody everybody's coming to try this sport because like they saw in their favorite magazine that it was like good for buddy and, and mine, you know? Yeah. And that they tried yoga, they tried meditation and, uh, they're bored. Yeah. They wanna try something new as, as, uh, as usual. And, uh, so they come to free diving and, uh, and that's it actually. So we have a lot of these kind of people trying freediving right now, it's a very trendy sport in big cities in France. And, um, and we have, like, there is not a single swimming pool now in Paris without a free diving club. Wow. So there's, is, is that a fact? Yeah. Yeah. It's amazing. There's big development, gosh, net sport. So that's how, how I, I started, I, I saw I'm I found a free diving club on my computer on Google and I, uh, I just tried, I did like what we called a, um, baptism. Okay. <laugh> <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:17:53 This is how we call
Speaker 0 00:17:54 This is how we call it like a first time experience driving. Right. Okay. Um, and then I just realized that I found something very, like, very important for me.
Speaker 2 00:18:05 What, what was that first baptism like, like how much can you do in your first try? Like
Speaker 0 00:18:11 What, um, it's ju it's just, uh, it's very simple. It's just like a first contact with, um, the sport you, you are, um, your, um, teacher is telling you the basics, like how to breathe, how to swim underwater, how the philosophy of this, uh, sport a little bit, um, relaxation, trying to, um, trying to, uh, be as smooth as you can. Uh, it's not a matter of relaxation actually in free diving. So, uh, it's just the basics. So this is what you learn at first. And, uh, and this is what I've learned for that first time, you know, like just the, the really the real basics. And then you, you can try a few breath, breath holds, but not very long. Um, you're not here to perform. You' just here to have a first touch with the discipline. Right. You know what I mean?
Speaker 2 00:19:07 So it sounds like it's a relatively easy access sport for, depending on you. You don't have to have been brought up on the coast like diving every day. It's something that anyone can no,
Speaker 0 00:19:16 No, no. Actually most of the free divers are, um, practicing in pooled in France. Wow. Because, uh, there's just the, the cities between Masai and Monaco basically where you can, uh, practice free diving. You know what I mean? So it's not, it's not everybody. So actually most of the people are practicing in pools in big cities, like Paris li young. I know. And even, even in small cities in France. So, uh, so indoor free diving is, uh, what is developing the most right now, even if like, of course all the disciplines are very cool. And, uh, I love like diving deep in the sea. Mm. Uh, I love holding my breath and study as well, even if I do it a lot less, but there's different diff disciplines, you know, like static, deep diving, dynamic diving, of course that's the three main disciplines
Speaker 2 00:20:07 And out of those disciplines, which do you find yourself most drawn to?
Speaker 0 00:20:12 Uh, well, the, the, I think my favorite one is like deep diving. This is what I prefer, of course, but the one in which I am the most skilled, I would say is, uh, dynamic free diving. So it's like going as far as I can, of course, like with my monofin my, my big monofin, you know, or like, uh, on breast stroke without fence, right. This is what I do the best. And recently under the ice,
Speaker 2 00:20:40 It, it strikes me. It's kind of interesting. I run personally and I've kind of got into it originally. I got into as a fitness thing, and then I've realized, and I was, I'm sure lots of people would say this about the sports that they engage with. It's much more about my mental state than it is anything else mm-hmm <affirmative>. Do you think that there's kind of an alignment you've already touched on it a little bit between our growing appreciation of the importance of mental health and sports that are quite meditative, such as free diving? Is there a,
Speaker 0 00:21:09 A relation
Speaker 2 00:21:10 Correlation between
Speaker 0 00:21:11 Yeah. Yeah, sure. Yeah, sure. Mine, um, mine's health is growing more and more, and people are in this eternal quest of wellbeing all the time, especially in our, uh, society now where, uh, everything's very aggressive. Uh, everything is very competitive. Um, people are being asked to be, uh, performant all the time in their jobs, in their life, personal life, professional life, you know? So, uh, yeah, the people have a, a big need of wellbeing more and more and are searching for it. So, um, I think this is the reason this kind of sport are, uh, developing so much right now. Mm. Yeah. Sure. Do you,
Speaker 2 00:22:00 Do you think that your, I guess this is kind of a similar point, but do you think that your ability to push yourself to such limits underwater impacts the way that you live above it?
Speaker 0 00:22:12 Oh yeah. Sure, sure, sure. This is the, the reason I call it to support therapy, right. It's because, uh, this kind of mental tweaks that you have to, uh, master when you hold your breath for so long, um, directly impacts the way you deal with your stress, the way you, uh, you deal with adversity, your, uh, resilience ability, uh, your self-confidence, uh, your self-consciousness, uh, you know, all this kind of, uh, topics. Yeah, because this is a, this is a very, um, unique mental training. I would say, trying to undertake a very primitive survival reflex. That is the breathing envy. You know, this is very, very unique. There is not any other activity in the world where you learn such such things. You know, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, sometimes people go going very, um, very high in like the Everest or something. Like some things like this, you know, they can experiment the envy to the, the huge to breathe. Mm. But we do, we do it voluntarily, you know, we hold our breath and, um, yeah, this is, this is very unique as a, as a mental process. And it affects and impacts our everyday life very, very fast. When you start freediving even at low levels, like you, you don't need to be a champion. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> even like, uh, if you free dive just for fun, uh, not going very far outside of your comfort zone, you know, you already feel the impact mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah.
Speaker 2 00:24:02 This is a personal question. You don't need to answer it, but was there something that happened in your life that kind of triggered you to need that way of managing things? Or was it more of just a general kind of, this is something that I know will benefit me.
Speaker 0 00:24:14 Oh, yes. Before, before the staff started diving, I was like in a, um, urban, everyday life that, uh, I was very uncomfortable with, um, in Paris, uh, very stressed, you know, I was like, uh, very anxious, uh, worried and, uh, yeah, freediving saved me that's for sure. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:24:38 Amazing.
Speaker 0 00:24:38 So this is, this is what, uh, pushed me actually to, uh, to, uh, go back to sport basically. And then in a second time, uh, to think about free diving as a way maybe to, uh, to get better. And actually it worked, and now I'm a professional free diver trying to get out of my comfort zone in some different things, even more than free, just free diving, you know? Yeah. Like developing projects with my partners. Uh, I'm working on a documentary survey right now. Uh, I have, uh, you know, communication projects with, uh, different kind of partners. And, uh, I don't know, like, uh, conferences, talks, uh, workshops, uh, you know, I that's, it, you know, I'm just trying to, uh, to change the way, the ways that I, uh, get out of my comfort zone. This is what I think is the most important, not stay in the same thing all the time. Cause otherwise it's going to, um, to get too easy at the end.
Speaker 2 00:25:43 Yeah. Agreed. I understand that feeling. <laugh> um, I've got two more kind of general questions, um, about free diving before we go into the, the big dive that we're gonna talk about. Mm. Um, this may connect to that. What has been your most, um, what's been your favorite dive to date?
Speaker 0 00:26:05 My favorite dive. Uh, my favorite dive. My favorite dives are usually the ones I'm doing when I'm training, training for depth.
Speaker 2 00:26:17 Okay.
Speaker 0 00:26:18 In the sea. Um, I'm doing what we call hangs. It means that I'm, I'm getting down at a certain depth, usually 45, 50, 55 meters. And I hang down there for a certain time before to come back up to the surface. Wow. And, um, usually I'm getting down very, very slow, like for like one minute 30, 30 seconds, then I stay, I hang down there, like for two minutes. Wow. In the big blue, minus 55. And then I come back to surface in like one minute and 30 seconds the same. So it's like five minutes dives, about five minutes. Wow. And I go down, I stay down there, like ice closed in the middle of the, this, uh, I manity, you know. Wow. And then I go back to surface. That's my favorite dive. Usually this is, uh, UNES scriptable <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:27:16 So you are, you are under the water holding a row for five minutes or more doing those dives.
Speaker 0 00:27:21 Yeah. But those, like, those are like very specific trainings. Uh, I don't do it all the time, but I know that when I do it, it's very, very pleasant. That's my favorite dives. That's for sure.
Speaker 2 00:27:29 What, what's your feeling when you're down there?
Speaker 0 00:27:31 What's the, the compression, the blue, the darkness as well, the cold you are like kind of, uh, entirely, uh, concentrated literally. I mean, like, it means like focus on just on yourself, your sensations leaving the, the present moment and that's it, uh, totally away from the surface and, uh, your surface life and all that comes with it. It's like just a moment for yourself focused. And you're just, well, I mean, I feel very well down there. Uh, you don't feel the, the need, the urge to breathe at the need to breathe really, you know, down there, you don't feel it because the compression makes it, uh, easier. There is some, um, I would say, uh, physiological changes in your blood with compression, uh, spec specifically with oxygen that, um, makes it easier for you to resist the breathing ENV down there. You don't, we don't want to breathe, actually.
Speaker 0 00:28:39 You're good. Wow. And you're like just hanging there to the rope, you know? And, uh, you're just observing around a little bit, closing your eyes and you feel the compression and it increases even more this feeling of, uh, concentration, you know? Yeah. Introspection, maybe even introspection, you know? Right, right, right. And so you're there for like two minutes and, uh, and then after two minutes, I start back to, I start to go back to the surface and it's like to, like, I don't know, it's like a feeling to, uh, just, uh, to get born again. You know what I, you know what I mean? Mm-hmm, <affirmative> like coming back to surface to fresh air after such a long time down there hanging. So that's, uh, yeah. UNES, scriptable feeling <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:29:27 So, so when you take that first breath, is it, are you kind of desperate for it?
Speaker 0 00:29:33 It's it's okay. Actually five minutes is, uh, five minutes with just with, without so much effort, because when you down, you free, full after 20 meters because you don't, you don't, uh, the, the buoyancy is, uh, positive, just like in the 15, 21st meters, then you're free, full. Wow. You're free, full.
Speaker 2 00:29:55 So you're just like a dead
Speaker 0 00:29:55 Weight. So, yeah. So, uh, there's not so much efforts to go down there and, uh, you know, five minutes without so much efforts. I mean, your, your oxygen levels are okay. I mean, mine, mine actually are. Okay. So, um, yeah, I'm not so much, um, hypoxic, as we say, when I come back up to the surface it's okay. Wow.
Speaker 2 00:30:20 Yeah. Cause I didn't, I did not know
Speaker 0 00:30:22 That big dives, like my big dives are like swimming nonstop for like four minutes and 30 seconds, four minutes and even 50 seconds for my personal best in pools, swimming nonstop without compression. So without this effect, it's way, way, way harder. I bet, than like going down in the sea, right. This is a big difference between dynamic free diving and deep diving in the sea dynamic, free dynamic free diving's in pool. It's way, way, way harder, right. Mentally, uh, because, uh, you don't have the compression that helps you to, uh, manage your breathing envy. You don't have the free fall, so you cannot relax for this big free fall that you'll have from 20 meters minus 20 to the button mm-hmm <affirmative>. And, uh, you have the surface just over your head as well in the pool. Mm. Like doing, going horizontally, you know, so, uh, it's way, way, way harder. And the, the dives actually are way longer as well. In dynamic. When you go down in deep diving for a performance you dive like for, you know, 3 30, 4 minutes for the, the deepest ones in pool. My, uh, my world records are like 4 30, 4 50 for four minutes and 50 seconds. So it's like way longer. Wow. So it's longer, the urge to breathe is bigger. You don't have the compression, you don't have the free fall. So it's way, way, way harder to, uh, manage mentally for about the breathing envy.
Speaker 2 00:31:51 And I guess you're using more oxygen cause you are
Speaker 0 00:31:54 Swimming, you're swimming. Yeah. Yeah. So that, yeah. And, um, in deep diving as well. So this is the advantage. Um, I mean, I mean like the advantage actually of, um, this is the, the, the difficulty of diving in the pool is all that I said that is very hard mentally. Um, the advantage of pool diving is that you don't take so much risk. Sure. On the other end in deep diving, the, uh, advantage I would say would be that you don't feel, you don't really feel the breathing envy, but there is the risk taking that is the inconvenient. I would say.
Speaker 2 00:32:36 Has there been a moment where you've felt like you've pushed it too far where you're like, okay, that risk was too great to take and
Speaker 0 00:32:45 Not really, no. Okay. All the dives that we make, uh, in pools, you don't have any risk. So yeah. There's nothing to say about pool diving. Um, in deep diving, you always master the depth where you're going. It's always something that, you know, you can do without any problem. Mm. You never start. Freediving going like 80 meters. You start like with six, six meters, then eight, then 10, then 15, then you'll do 20. If you're good. And then you will do 21, 22, 23 and stay like for a whole week at this depth and one meter and one meter again. And this is how you progress in free diving actually. So, you know, like for a competition, if you want to do like 55 meters, you know, that you are perfectly fine to do that. You did it several times at training before you never go to be known.
Speaker 0 00:33:47 You know what I mean? Yeah. It's always something you announce before and something, you know, you can do. Right. You understand, of course, yeah. This is the way we progress actually. And this is the way we can do it safely. Mm. Um, and under the ice, um, there is a risk actually as well. Um, and, um, well, I don't really know how to manage it actually. <laugh> I just go, uh, no, there there's a few, um, emergency exits, I would say. Okay. We do like holes every, uh, 20 meters, I think. Uh, but anyway, when you have done like 80 meters and you know, you have to go to the next one to get an exit and you already, uh, want to breathe since the, the first 20 meters in one degree water it's, uh, there is a risk taking, there is a risk taking, but it's okay. I mean, I, I accept it.
Speaker 2 00:34:44 Well, that brings us neatly on to the dive that you achieved. Uh, the longest breath held underwater as a free dive and you swam 120 meters under ice in Finland, if I'm not mistaken. Um, how, let's talk about how the beginnings of that, how do you train specifically for a challenge like that?
Speaker 0 00:35:03 Well, I do a, a train, um, the same as usual, except that I'm adding cold water acclimatization. So it means I have to be specific. I have, um, three trainings of free, pure free diving, pure apnea per week.
Speaker 2 00:35:22 Okay.
Speaker 0 00:35:23 In pool dynamic, free diving. I have, um, two cardio training per week. Uh, I have, um, two, I would say lifting trainings. I have two body weights trainings. Wow. Uh, and I have three to four cold water acclimatization trainings per week. Gosh, that's it so
Speaker 2 00:35:52 Big though.
Speaker 0 00:35:53 Yeah. Yeah. Actually it's two trainings per day, right? Either one like fitness and water. Yeah. Like cardio and free diving, uh, cardio and cold water, that's it. So I have basically two things per day and I have to find the time to rest as well to eat well. Sure. So big weeks actually too big, uh, a bit too big for me. I am, I'm having trouble organizing all my stuff because on the other side, I have to manage a lot of things. What I was talking about, you know, like all the, um, professional activities that are surrounding this, uh, this free diving, uh, activity of mine, um, which is, uh, all the work I have to do with my, uh, sponsors, all the conferences I have to, uh, to give, uh, the interviews like this one, um, uh, my projects that are going on that I have to organize. And, uh, well, it's a lot of, uh,
Speaker 2 00:36:54 It's a lot of stuff.
Speaker 0 00:36:55 It's a lot of work.
Speaker 2 00:36:55 And how many weeks do you do before a race, uh, before a dive like that? How, you know, the weeks that you're talking about, where you're doing two trainings a day? Well,
Speaker 0 00:37:03 Um, the world record attempt would be in March and I started training. Uh mid-September.
Speaker 2 00:37:12 So a good six months.
Speaker 0 00:37:13 Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:37:13 Wow. And do you get to actually train on the lake that you are going to be swimming bit or you never see that until the day? No. No,
Speaker 0 00:37:21 Because it's in Canada, of
Speaker 2 00:37:22 Course. Yeah. So,
Speaker 0 00:37:23 Uh, no, no, I don't see it before, uh, like two weeks before the attempt. Right. Until two weeks before the attempt.
Speaker 2 00:37:30 And would you, would you get swimming it then?
Speaker 0 00:37:32 And then I would be swimming
Speaker 2 00:37:33 There. You're swimming there, right. Okay.
Speaker 0 00:37:34 Yeah, I'll be, I'll be swimming in there cuz I have the chance to have a, a Canadian team over there, uh, which is going to help me, uh, to build the setup because it's a huge work. Right. We have like tons of ice to remove, to dig those, uh, emergency holes. Uh, we have, uh, like, uh, hundreds of meters of rope to deploy under water so I can, uh, have my safe line, my guideline, uh there's two lines. Okay. And the third line for their safety divers that are, uh, next to me as well. Um, there's a lot of things to <laugh> to build. Actually it's a big setup. I cannot like just like go up for a weekend, uh, and dive in, in a frozen lake. It's there's a, a logistic that is too big for that. This is something I cannot do before, right. To be there actually to get
Speaker 2 00:38:28 There. And I guess you need to prevent it from freezing over again as well. <laugh> essentially,
Speaker 0 00:38:32 Yeah. Every morning we have to break the ice again when, when we are, uh, on location on the setup, cuz it's it freezes, uh, during the night, but the, the, the ice is very thin in the morning, so that's okay.
Speaker 2 00:38:44 And let's specifically talking about that moment before you go in, you know, you, you've got an hour before you're doing a dive. What is your mental state? How do you prepare? What, what are the things that you do to get yourself into the position to actually take that plunge?
Speaker 0 00:39:00 Uh, well there is a big preparation. I, um, I'm doing a two hours preparation before it goes through, um, a lot of stretching, a lot of, uh, visualization, uh, you know, I visualize my performance in real time, walking on the ice, watching at me, swimming under the ice like this, you know, really? Yeah. On the setup.
Speaker 2 00:39:24 So you're imagining yourself. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:39:25 So I walk, I walk along the setup and I, I watch myself actually swimming under the ice at the exact place where I, where I will be swimming. Wow. I do it like several times just prepare my mind and my brain actually to what's going on to what's coming on. So I do a lot of visualization like this. I do a lot of, um, stretching then a lot of, um, breathing exercises, um, a lot of, uh, breath hold exercises as well. And um, and then when I, uh, when I've, when I have finished all this, I'm like kind of a, I don't know, like a HTIC, uh, state of mind, you know, uh, I don't see very much what's what's happening around me, you know, I'm like, uh, in
Speaker 2 00:40:18 My, uh, blink
Speaker 0 00:40:19 Yeah. Blink. Mm. And, um, yeah, that's it. And, um, a few minutes before the attempt, I, uh, go out of my last, um, preparation, breath hold. Um, I breathe as much as I can. I, uh, get out of my, uh, dry rub, which is this kind of huge park out that I have, um, that keeps me warm. Yeah. And I, uh, just go very slow in the water. Uh, I stay in the water for like two, three minutes the time for my body to get, uh, acclimatized to the shock, the temperature shock. And, uh, as soon as my body's starting to acclimatize, I take a last, uh, a last breath and, uh, and I go, um,
Speaker 2 00:41:11 Two other things about preparation. Do you, do you have to, once you are in that zone and you're kind of hypnotized and you're blinkered, do you have to not be around other people? Do you have to kind of say right. That this is the way
Speaker 0 00:41:22 No, it's
Speaker 2 00:41:22 Okay. Right.
Speaker 0 00:41:23 They can be around it's. Okay. I'm so focused that, uh, nothing can reach me actually. It's uh, wow. Yeah. I'm very relaxed focused and uh, no fear, no apprehension, no, no stress. Just, you know, very, just very focused on my, on my goal.
Speaker 2 00:41:41 Actually. Do you have a kind of a psychologist with you doing that? Or is it completely your own? No, no, no, no.
Speaker 0 00:41:46 I do it alone. Do it alone. It's uh, yeah, I've learned it alone actually, uh, through the years, uh, through my years of, uh, competitor in free diving. Yeah. It's uh, a process I've learned myself
Speaker 2 00:42:01 And in terms of food and drink, I mean, I imagine that you want to not have a full stomach doing something.
Speaker 0 00:42:07 I even friends. So that's difficult.
Speaker 2 00:42:08 I was gonna say, what do you, what do you, what can you eat? What can't you eat? What do you drink in preparation? You know, like basically just,
Speaker 0 00:42:15 Just healthy. Right? That's it. But you just
Speaker 2 00:42:18 Healthy, but you must have to give your body a break before you're not gonna want to be digesting.
Speaker 0 00:42:22 Oh, no, no. Yes. I just have a, like a quick breakfast, right. Uh, something very easy to digest and, uh, that's it, but I need to have some energy as well. Mm. To, um, compensate the, the calorie waste because of cold water. Mm. So I cannot be like hypoglycemic, uh, if I'm going here for this kind of dive, so I have to, I have to eat some like, um, carbs in the morning, but carbs that I, that will be easy to digest actually. Okay. Complex, complex, carbs, easy to, easy to, to digest. That's the key.
Speaker 2 00:43:01 Good to give us a specific, like a baked potato <laugh> uh,
Speaker 0 00:43:05 Yeah. Less potatoes, bit of rice. Right.
Speaker 2 00:43:08 Okay. Um,
Speaker 0 00:43:09 Stuff like that, stuff like
Speaker 2 00:43:10 That. Okay. So now you're underwater, you've taken the plunge. What are you feeling? Where is your head? What is your instincts in those first moments? How, how are you feeling?
Speaker 0 00:43:24 What, well, before, just before to go, I take my last breath. Um, I give up with all my last thoughts about what's going to happen. Um, I abandon myself actually to something, uh, I don't know that transcends me a little bit, you know? Mm. Uh, no fear anymore. I go and, uh, we'll see <laugh>, but I'm, I'm very confident, uh, at that moment. Um, and then I go and for a certain time, which will be probably around 30 meters, 25 to 35 meters, let's say I will be very comfortable. Okay. So I will be in this kind of state in which I was just before to go, like very hypnotic, very relaxed, the thoughts coming in and going, you know, and, uh, you know, very, very fuzzy, actually very, uh, very comfortable and suddenly the urge to breathe is going to pop. And then all the reality is going to come back straight to my mind and my body. And from this moment until the end of the dive, it'll be a very long process of, uh, undertaking myself in, uh, this kind of very specific, uh, efforts, which is, uh, trying to, uh, overpass a, uh, surviving, uh, refl, which is the breathing envy. And it's only mental. It's only about, uh, mental strength. That's it? So, uh, well, I don't know. It's just, uh, leaving my brain on the side and, uh, <laugh> and keep going, you know, <laugh>,
Speaker 2 00:45:25 I mean, I'd, I'm thinking if I'm running and I really wanna stop and like, come on Mateo, come on. Do, do you talk to yourself?
Speaker 0 00:45:31 That's, that's
Speaker 2 00:45:32 It, you're just saying, can you
Speaker 0 00:45:33 Do this? That's it, but it's about mental strength and about, uh, staring as staying as relaxed as you can as well. Mm. This is what is very strange and free diving. It's not like, okay, now, now you're gonna go. And like, you push yourself and, um, and, uh, you, um, and you translate it to your, to your body, like getting more dynamic and forcing more. And, uh, no, you have to do it for your brain for your mental strength, but you have, besides of it to, uh, keep your body in this kind of relaxation state, as long as you can. Wow. You know what I mean? Yeah. This is very, uh,
Speaker 2 00:46:18 There's a duality to it.
Speaker 0 00:46:20 Yeah, exactly.
Speaker 2 00:46:21 The challenge. Um, what are you kind of CENS wise? What are you seeing? What are you hearing? Are there people cheering? Is there someone above you? Are you hearing, I dunno, dolphin noises <laugh>
Speaker 0 00:46:32 No, no. Under the ice, it's very, uh, very, very strange in frozen lakes because you it's, it's, uh, one of the only places on earth where, where I have experienced this kind of silent. Okay. It's uh, it's scary a little bit, really. Yeah. You, you, you, there is not a single sound. It's very strange. You can, you can hear everything, your movements in the water, the water sliding on your skin, your heartbeats, uh, you hear everything because, uh, there is not a single sound. Wow. Yeah, this is very strange. <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:47:10 Yeah, but this is
Speaker 0 00:47:12 An incredible experience to leave. Yeah. To be in frozen lakes under, under the ice. And they're, and they're the ice,
Speaker 2 00:47:19 Do you know, in, um, meditation, they say you kind of have to focus on three things in the room and send to yourself or three sounds. Do, do you, do you practice a similar thing when you're under the water? Do you kind of, or,
Speaker 0 00:47:31 Uh, not really. No, no, no, not really. I just, uh, take advantage of this comfort zone as long as I can. Mm. And then as soon as the breathing and visa coming, I just try to stay relaxed and focus on my objective as long as I can. And that's it.
Speaker 2 00:47:52 Are you aware of how well you're doing as you're going? Or are you just kind of thinking I've just gotta do this for as long as I can?
Speaker 0 00:47:58 No. I'm, I'm aware of, uh, I'm trying to stay focused on my, uh, Lu C DT and, uh, yeah. How I, how, how I am. I don't know, maintaining my brain abilities, you know, uh, if I can still think, uh, clearly, uh, you know, if I can, uh, um, keep seeing things clearly as well. Uh, this is very important because, uh, the thing we want to avoid is like, um, blackout,
Speaker 2 00:48:30 Okay.
Speaker 0 00:48:30 This is the thing we want to avoid as we are free, diverse as we are freediving this is the hypoxic blackout. This is, uh, the main problem we can face in freediving. So, uh, in this, uh, to avoid this, uh, one of the ways to avoid this is to stay very focused, like listening your body and, uh, how it works, be attentive to your, uh, sensations and your body.
Speaker 2 00:49:00 And you are aware of the kind of meters that you are going. I mean, I guess you can measure them by the holes or the roads. Yes. So, you know, yeah. How far you've got to go.
Speaker 0 00:49:10 Yeah. 20 meters. I want to breathe. I have like, uh, like 85 meters more to do.
Speaker 2 00:49:17 Oh my God.
Speaker 0 00:49:19 Extraordinary.
Speaker 2 00:49:19 Really?
Speaker 0 00:49:20 It's pretty hard.
Speaker 2 00:49:21 Um, and in terms of the way that time passes, is it slower? Is it faster? Is it kind of the same?
Speaker 0 00:49:31 Oh, well, it's very fast when you're good. And it's very long when it's hard. <laugh> of course.
Speaker 2 00:49:36 Same as Don think again. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:49:39 I mean, this comfort zone is very, very short, but it is actually, it's very, it's even it's way shorter than the, the other phase that's way harder. So, yeah. No, when it's, when it's hard, it's long <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:49:53 Have you ever had a hypoxic blackout when
Speaker 0 00:49:55 Diving no. Ever I'm actually never, I'm one of the only, um, free diving competitors in the, in the, what we say the, the highest world ranking that, uh, never experienced, uh, an IXY blackout. Wow. Never, never, ever. Yeah. It means, I don't know. It means, uh, I've never pushed it, uh, too far, I guess,
Speaker 2 00:50:22 Or
Speaker 0 00:50:22 I should maybe <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:50:24 I dunno about that. That's, it's probably a good thing not to have done. Yeah. You, you don't wanna see it as an achievement. Um, so you are back at the surface having achieved a dive, you know, you talked before about that feeling of coming back and feeling very relaxed. I'm I'm assuming you're not feeling so relaxed when you're coming up after a
Speaker 0 00:50:39 Oh yes. After, after the, the attempt it's like, well, all the pressure is, uh, dropping and everything is nice. Uh, beautiful and sweet. So <laugh> really?
Speaker 2 00:50:47 Yeah. And do you, are you feeling the cold? Are you feeling exposed or is it, is there a warmth that, do you see the light at the end of the tunnel?
Speaker 0 00:50:55 No. No, no. You don't. You don't, you don't. I mean, I don't feel the cold so much cause I stayed in the water for like five minutes. Yeah. Like two to three minutes to, to acclimatize at the beginning three minutes for the performance. And so that's like five to six minutes in the water and that's it. So that's not so long. Um, I would feel the cold if I would stay like more than eight, nine minutes, 10 minutes.
Speaker 2 00:51:22 Oh, okay. Yeah. So that's when your body starts to go into that.
Speaker 0 00:51:26 Yeah. That's when my body starts to really, um, um, uh, go down in temperature and, um, and you know, when, when we dive, uh, when we actually swim in cold water in very cold water, when you go out of the water, you feel very good for like five minutes. You'll feel like you're Sable, <laugh>
Speaker 0 00:51:50 Sure. King of the world. Yeah. And then we have what we call the after drop effect, which is a, um, a physiological, um, um, how to say that, um, a physiological mechanism, uh, where the blood that was close to your vital organs because of the cold. Cause when you're in the cold water, there is a vessel constriction as well as, as in free actually. And the blood is, um, uh, shifting back to the vital organs. Exactly the same thing. Right. Um, and then when you go out of the water, the blood is going to go back in your arms and legs and it's going actually to, um, to get the cold, I see that you have right, uh, that you accumulated in your arms and legs and the blood is going to come back to your core inside your body. And, and so this is the, the way, the reason we call it after drop after drop effect is that you continue dropping in temperature even after you went out of the water. Wow. For like F uh, 15, 20, 25, maybe 30 minutes. Sometimes the temperature is keep is, is, uh, keep dropping. You know what I
Speaker 2 00:53:10 Mean? Yeah, of course. Yeah. It makes sense. <laugh> so it's cooling your blood as it kind of comes back to
Speaker 0 00:53:15 Terms. Yeah. And then you, you get cold in the core actually. And uh, so you start shaking after like five minutes and you're like this for like 30 minutes shaking.
Speaker 2 00:53:26 You've
Speaker 0 00:53:26 Put meter a
Speaker 2 00:53:27 Lot. So I want,
Speaker 0 00:53:28 I won't feel this effect if I stay like for just five minutes in this cold, very cold water. Right. I, I, I would start to feel it after 7, 8, 9 minutes, 10 minutes, maybe. Okay. If I'm well acclimatized
Speaker 2 00:53:41 And when you've achieved that record, you know, you've come out. Do you immediately think about the next thing you're gonna achieve or do you kind of bask in the
Speaker 0 00:53:47 Oh no, no, no. I'm, I'm done.
Speaker 2 00:53:49 <laugh>,
Speaker 0 00:53:49 You're done. Right. I'm done. I just want to have a drink, uh, with my friends and, uh, family and, uh, my girlfriend and that's it, you know, like just like just, uh, have a good time. Yeah. And relax and, uh, take some holidays.
Speaker 2 00:54:02 <laugh> okay. So it's not like that churn churn. Oh,
Speaker 0 00:54:05 No, no, no, no, no, no, no. The job is done.
Speaker 2 00:54:08 Okay.
Speaker 0 00:54:08 The job is done. Uh, now the, the time is, uh, is to sharing it with people, you know, medias conference, uh, talk to people about my experience, what I've done, uh, how I've done it. And, uh, that's it.
Speaker 2 00:54:26 I read an interview with, um, Terry O Marie, the other day who was talking about the end of a Sportsman's career being a kind of small death. Um, is there a small death in freed diving or is this something that you can do forever?
Speaker 0 00:54:38 No, we can. We can, we, we can, um, we can do it, um, for kind of a long time actually, Jacque me, you know, the famous dive. Yeah. He did his last world record at the age of 56. I think something like that. Wow. So, uh, that's pretty
Speaker 2 00:54:54 Old. That was his last dive. I kind of imagine his last
Speaker 0 00:54:56 World record
Speaker 2 00:54:57 It's oh, sorry, world record. I was gonna say, wow. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. So you can really go on forever. Yeah. Amazing. Do you intend to do that?
Speaker 0 00:55:05 Yeah, I guess so. Yes, I guess so now, but I, I think I won't go in pool anymore. I will, um, only go for under ice and, and deep diving in the sea from now. That's what I, what I'll do,
Speaker 2 00:55:17 Do you see it as a career or do you see it as just being fortunate enough to do something you love that enables you to live in a certain way?
Speaker 0 00:55:26 No, it's integrated, integrated to my, uh, my everyday life actually, but, but it's also a career, you know? I mean the, the career, the career would, would be more like what I try to develop around actually this activity, uh, the world record attempts itself, uh, is more like a personal challenge. Okay. Um, the career would be all the different kind of projects that I drive, uh, besides of this world record attempts, like the documentary were shooting, for example, for ware, of course, uh, around the world record attempt, uh, this documentary series I'm working on, uh, all the conferences, uh, all this kind of stuff or like the career. Sure. But the freed diving itself is just like a personal challenge actually.
Speaker 2 00:56:19 Just it's the thing you love. I mean, you were wearing a tag Hoy, uh, night diver for your world record achievement in Finland. Um, what is the importance of wearing a watch in these scenarios?
Speaker 0 00:56:30 Well, I mean, uh, for me, it's obvious.
Speaker 2 00:56:33 <laugh> not so much me. <laugh>
Speaker 0 00:56:37 Holding your breath is about time.
Speaker 2 00:56:39 So you actually looking at your watches, you're doing it.
Speaker 0 00:56:42 I mean, a watch is the main tool that a free diver needs. Right. Freediving is all about time. Of course. So, I mean, everything has been said has been said here. Yeah. I mean, freediving is about time passing. Yeah. Um, and about depth as well, a little bit or distance mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, but basically it's about time sure. Time passing. Sure. That's it? That is it.
Speaker 2 00:57:10 We've got that. <laugh> so that was, that was all we needed on that front. Um, we've pretty much covered everything, I guess it would just be good to talk now about Canada and what you've got to look forward to. Are you excited about it? How's all the preparation coming along,
Speaker 0 00:57:25 Actually. Um, not so well because, um, we have a very, very beautiful Indian summer <laugh> yeah. And the water temperatures are not dropping as expected here in France. Right. So I'm having, uh, issues in my, uh, cold water acclimatization and, uh, yeah, it's getting longer than what I was expected.
Speaker 2 00:57:48 How do you tackle that?
Speaker 0 00:57:51 There's there's no solutions. I just have to wait for the temperatures to drop down. Um, for now the, the water in which I'm training in east, in my hometown is about like 11, 10, 11 degrees. Um, last year at the same time, I was already in like seven to eight degrees water. Wow. But it's okay. It'll come in time. Um, I know here in Paris, for example, tonight, I'm going to die to dive in the canal. We have a canal here. Oh yeah. You know? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm going to dive, like, not diving, but just like to swim in the canal. This is the place where I'm doing my cold water acclimatization when I'm in Paris. Cause it's the only place actually I can go. And the canal is like, uh, I think now it's about seven degrees, so that's very, very cool. So that's cool.
Speaker 2 00:58:41 Right.
Speaker 0 00:58:42 I'm doing it with like, with like some people, uh, some this kind of crazy people, this group on Facebook that are diving in Paris, uh, all the year and are swimming in the, in the canal all the year. And even in the winter, they're like what we call cold water swimmers, you know? Yes. And, uh, cold water swimming is like a big, like, it's a big thing, you know, it's very famous. And so the cold swim in the canal, uh, during the whole winter. And so I go with them actually. Yeah. To do
Speaker 2 00:59:14 That. Fantastic. Haven't they just recently Dred the canal as well. So it's, it's clean. <laugh>
Speaker 0 00:59:19 Actually the, the canal is clean. Right. Uh, the river sand is, uh, is not clean everywhere, I would say. Okay. But the canal is very clean actually. So there's no problem swimming in it. That's okay. I mean, you have some bicycles and, uh, stuff like that. Uh, and trolleys and stuff like that in, uh, at the bottom, but that's not dangerous for, um, human health, you know? Sure. There's no chemicals or like, uh, stuff like that inside. So
Speaker 2 00:59:44 That's cool. It's funny to think that you're going to be cold water training in Paris rather than down in east in the countryside. There's something, uh
Speaker 0 00:59:50 <laugh> yeah. Yeah. I'm waiting for the, the lake to, to freeze in the knee actually, right? Yes. The seed, the sea water is, uh, still at 18 degrees now, so it's very warm. Wow.
Speaker 2 01:00:00 Yeah. Oh God. Okay.
Speaker 0 01:00:02 Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Speaker 2 01:00:03 On that note, Arthur, thank you so much for joining us at the edge. It's been absolutely fascinating speaking to you and wishing you all the luck in the world for your record next
Speaker 0 01:00:12 March. Thank you for having me here. Thank you so
Speaker 2 01:00:14 Much for coming.
Speaker 3 01:00:18 Thank you for joining us at the edge. A podcast by tag Hoyer. Don't forget to subscribe on Spotify, iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. The edge is also an online magazine. Go to magazine dot tag, hoy.com for more articles, interviews, and photo series that bring together our love of watches and our desire to push ourselves to the edge of our limits. I'm your host te van BRCA until next time, keep an eye out. This is the edge.