Not since 1976, when Jacques Mayol’s 100 meter dive shattered the record of Italian diver Enzo Maiorca, (the first man to dive below 50 meters) has there been such a momentous occasion in freediving. On the 5th of July 2005, Patrick Musimo is set to take the planet by storm, using his revolutionary technique he will make the Ultimate Dive into the Red Sea – down to 200 meters! The current record for the freediving category of No Limit is 171 meters; Loic Leferme achieved this in October 2004. Patrick’s attempt to dive almost 30 meters deeper than this will be an astonishing feat, he will set a new difficult benchmark for his freediving counterparts and will be contributing to scientific advances in the field of diving. Jacques Mayol’s favorite quote was “Homo Delphinus is not just a concept” perhaps pioneers like Jacques and Patrick can truly take us there.

Now of course, there are some of you who have to ask WHY?
When Hillary, the famous British explorer defied the odds and made it to the top of Mount Everest, people asked him WHY? His answer was simply ‘BECAUSE IT IS THERE.’

H2O asked Patrick the same question in anticipation of his mind boggling dive, and his reply was: Deep inside you'll find the answer. Entering the abyss is like entering another dimension where my entire body starts slowing down and total peacefulness takes over my mind. It is like a journey towards my inner senses, a journey in which I have to prepare myself throughout and from which I return a little changed every time.

Only a few decades ago, the thought of man free diving to a 100 meters was considered a physical impossibility, you are now embarking on a dive that indeed deserves to be called the ultimate dive, how do you train for such a dive, and surely mental training must be paramount as strength of character has to be just as important as physical and technical ability. There are no secrets, but patience, passion and perseverance are the key features of a good free-diver. Of course, physical trainings somehow prepare my body to the extreme pressure constraints. But beyond that, I need to prepare my mind to accept that there are NO LIMITS.

The real limits are the ones, we, as human, set ourselves in our mind. In fact, we are our own enemy, and through fear we build up our own barriers. As for all my records, 90 % of my physical training is done outside the water, I barely swim, but practise a lot of breathing exercises to maintain my lungs and breathing muscles as flexible as possible. I also physically train 3 times a week in the gym, but in comparison, I train mentally every single day to reinforce my mind. Moreover, I often mentally visualize my dive and repeat the different technical parts of it.

Tell me about this free diving record. This record will mark the history of diving, not only because we intend to double Jacques Mayol’s 100 meter famous dive (1970's) but because through the years, no records have been shattered with such difference, almost 30 meters! No previous records have gathered so much press. From France to Russia all the biggest dive magazines will be represented to assist this live performance. Six international TV stations have already confirmed their presence. It is really one of the biggest diving events since decades.


- Date of Birth: 10.12.1970
- Nationality: Belgian
- Education: licenced Physiotherapist
- Four times free diving world record holder
- PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor
- Physical trainer
- Sport mental trainer
- Tae Kwondo instructor
- Kick-boxer

What about your revolutionary technique?
My technique is based on a simple but revolutionary concept. I have been working for the past 2 years on this new method and I now use water to "equalize" instead of air. One of the most important limiting factors for deep freedivers is the capacity to equalize our ears at great depth. Beyond 100 meters, our lungs are shrunk to the extreme and take the size of big oranges. Therefore, it becomes impossible to extract some extra air and counter the ambient pressure on our eardrums. Now, by changing medium and using sea water instead of air I have succeeded to annihilate this constraint.

Why are you doing this?
It is the best way to show the world another way of considering the human physiology. After this dive, certain scientific books will have to be reviewed. We can teach our body to re-accept fluid in our organism like when we used to during our foetus stage.

What does it represent for you?
Since the age of 12 I've been involved with sports and through the years my passion and my fascination for the human body and its capacity to adapt under extreme conditions have fascinated me. When I discovered freediving I took it at first step as a sport, now it has become an art. This dive represents the crowning of my years of research on human physiology. It represents everything I have been fighting for and is the ultimate reason for all my sacrifices.

What about the physiological impact of ‘extreme No Limit dive’?
For sure No limit dives have an impact on our physiology, good or bad we can only try to predict, observe and admire how the human metabolism constantly adapt to new pressure constraint.

What equipment will you use?
I will use a weighted sled of 40-50 kg which will glide along a cable, and will come back up with an inflated liftbag.

How will the record be verified?
As I believe No Limit record dives should not be considered as a sport, I choose not to use a federation for its ratification.

Did we have a federation when they sent the first man on the moon?
So far, I have done 4 official world records and have used 2 different federations to ratify them. I know the ins-and-outs of these federations and do not want to credit them anymore. I do not need to have my name standing on top of their list to feel like a true champion. Instead I've regrouped all the necessary parts to officially certify such dive. 



What you need to know about freediving competition categories

No Limit
The NO LIMIT is the deepest category in freediving. The freediver descends with the help of a ballast weight and ascends with an inflated

Variable Ballast
The freediver descends with the help of a ballast weight and ascends using his own strength: either by pulling or not pulling on the rope.

Free Immersion
The freediver dives without the use of propulsion equipment, only by pulling on the rope during descent and ascent.

Constant Ballast
The freediver descends and ascends using his fins without pulling on the rope or changing his ballast


Going back 13 years, these are the No Limits world records, most of them in the world of AIDA (a freediving organization)

171m 30/10/2004 Loic Leferme (French)
162m 20/10/2002 Loic Leferme (French)
160m 17/08/2002 Tanya Streeter (USA)
136m 23/09/2001 Mandy-Rea Cruickshank (Canadian)
130m 01/01/2001 Audrey ‘Mestre’ Ferreras (French)
154m 01/01/2001 Loic Leferme (French)
152m 01/01/2001 Loic Leferme (French)
150m 24/10/1999 Umberto Pelizzari (Italian)
137m 05/06/1999 Loic Leferme (French)
113m 07/05/1998 Tanya Streeter (USA)
133m 26/11/1996 Francisco Pipin Ferreras (Cuban)
131m 16/09/1996 Umberto Pelizzari (Italian)
110m 11/05/1996 Deborah Andollo (Cuban)
130m 10/03/1996 Francisco Pipin Ferreras (Cuban)
128m 30/07/1995 Francisco Pipin Ferreras (Cuban)
127m 10/12/1994 Francisco Pipin Ferreras (Cuban)
126m 30/07/1994 Francisco Pipin Ferreras (Cuban)
125m 06/11/1993 Francisco Pipin Ferreras (Cuban)
123m 11/10/1993 Umberto Pelizzari (Italian)

1. We have an incredible number of international media crew attending live the attempt.
2. I had a housing camera specially built for the record. This will allow me to come back with the image of the whole dive, proving that I didn't cheat during the descent (as if it could be?)
At this point it is important to know that, so far, no commercial dive computers were able to record a breath hold dive to 200m. Therefore the AIDA federation was even ready to take the video and the official measurement of the cable as unique proof of the performance. But I wanted to go even beyond that.

3. I convinced the computer manufacturer Suunto to help us by creating 2 special dive computers especially for the occasion. These 2 unique computers are now the only commercial dive computers in the world, which are able to record and display a 200 m dive! In fact they have been conceived to display a 250m deep dive. Another important point, this company is also the official sponsor of the AIDA Freediving Association, meaning that all AIDA's world records are validated by Suunto's computers. We have invited Suunto's European Dive Manager himself to come in Egypt. After the dive he will be able to confirm officially the reached depth. Moreover, the video and the dive profile logged in the computers will be presented on big screen directly after the dive to the entire international press. This has never been done in any records so far, what else can you ask???

Tell us about your training - physical and mental. I specially trained for this dive by preparing my central nervous system to work as much as possible without oxygen and to sustain a huge amount of carbon dioxide. On the 6th of May, I have conducted several tests in the University of Louvain were the greatest bikers, runners etc. are used to test their aptitude. The results were extraordinary, for some tests, the professors had never seen such results! The way my body adapted to O2 restriction and CO2 build-up puzzled them!

Finally, what do you have planned next, after the record attempt? I believe I will take a break and finally find the time to start sharing and teaching my way of diving, that I like to call "the art of free diving". I have been asked to relate my story and to start writing a book... One thing is for sure I want to be more involved in the scientific aspect of our unusual way of diving, keep doing underwater documentaries and keep on travelling.



By: Dr Hossam Nassef (Head of Patrick’s medical team)

As Patrick Musimu started training for his record, Deco International offered him and his team Hyperbaric Medical support as medic first aid evacuatrion was already secured by the search and rescue (SAR) team. And as Patrick and I spoke, I found out that he conducted one deep breath-hold dive every third-fourth day and still breathed pure oxygen for one hour after the exposure to reduce the amount of the build-up nitrogen that all breath-holders expect to have after repeated relatively shallow exsposures or more dramatically after a very deep single exposure. He even spoke about chamber rides during the course of his training for nitrogen washout and as I was not that much convinced with the harmful excess of nitrogen in the tissues of breath-hold divers and as we already had research going on with a team of cardiologists measuring bubbles in the hearts of SCUBA divers.

I took the team together with the portable Doppler echosounder on Patrick's boat and did a bubble count on him upon completion of his 165 meters dive after 5,25,45,60 minutes successively and amasingly the maximum number of bubbles that was found in his systems was found in the right heart and he had only 2 bubbles every third beat while his security SCUBA team who dived on air and mixed gases showed tens of silent bubbles up to 1 hour after they surfaced and of course still had no symptoms! So the whole team concluded that Patrick was absolutely at NO risk of DCS following his single deep exposures even down to 200 meters and I even suggested that he stops normobaric oxygen breathing after his trials to avoid the harmfull effect on the lungs even at this minimal dose. Upon arrival to the base, Patrick performed a lung function test and all the functions and capacities of his lungs were found normal.

Now the assumption was that: Patrick was ready to go on for his record as he:

1- Had no risk concerning the build-up of gases in his body.

2- Had no problem with the mechanical compression on the lungs up to 18 bars, nor with the extreme rates of compression and decompression he employed.

3- Had no hypoxic threaten of any significance as he could easily hold his breath for 7 minutes.

Now Patrick could do it and I think all his team and supporting authorities should feel happy and proud of this achievement.



Read More in H2O

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