60-minute cameras record record-breaking Bahamas dive
They call him “the machine”, the undisputed king of the depths, for the punitive depths he plunges into with one breath. Alexey Molchanov, 34, holds 24 world records in the growing extreme sport of freediving. Last July, 60 Minutes was with him when he broke a new record, diving to 430 feet – more than the length of a football field – while holding his breath underwater for more than four and a half minutes. without scuba tank.
Molchanov is one of a growing number of elite snorkelers who come together every year at Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas to compete in the “Vertical Blue Competition”. Sharyn Alfonsi was there to report on the jaw-dropping story for the upcoming 60-minute edition, Sunday, September 26 at 7 p.m. ET / PT on CBS.
Molchanov has been nearly unbeatable in three of the four freediving disciplines, competing against himself and working to break his own records. He’s far from finished, he told Alfonsi.
“I do not think so [I am finished]. I know with all the skills I have, with all the mind control I have, I can go further and therefore because I can, then I will, “Molchanov says.” I like to find out. new limits and pushing them further because I know I can. I know through all these years and thousands of hours of training and diving how much I can use my oxygen, how fast I can use it and how effective my technique is. ”
Technique is essential because sport is extremely dangerous. Subjecting the human body to the pressure of water at this depth can cause confusion, fainting, and serious, sometimes fatal, injury. About 60 recreational snorkelers die each year – although there has been only one fatality at a freediving competition in the past 20 years as organizers work to return the sport safer. Competitive snorkelers must grab a depth tag to confirm their descent, then prove they are alert within 20 seconds of the surface for the dive to count. Competitions are conducted using safety measures that include lifeguard divers in the water.
Molchanov learned his technique from his mother, former Russian swimmer Natalia Molchanova, considered the greatest freediver of all time. At the age of 53, she held 42 world records and was on the verge of getting even bigger when she tragically disappeared off the coast of Spain while teaching a snorkeling lesson. His death was a big blow to Molchanov, but the sport helped him overcome.
âI felt that snorkeling was actually the best thing for me to do. It was the best therapy to be in the water,â he says. “It just helped me be, like, at peace and helped me go through this.”
Molchanov and his wife Elena, a former Olympic swimmer, carry on his mother’s legacy. Natalia Molchanova started several freediving schools before her death as they develop, certifying hundreds of instructors in 20 countries.
For Molchanov, freediving is not just about the sport, but the joy and feeling he gets every time he goes to those depths, telling Alfonsi: âIt feels a lot like flying actually. , stay and feel no urge to breathe. “