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Russian Freediving Legend’s Son Breaks Under-Ice World Record

Alexei Molchanov swam for 180 meters beneath the ice in a Moscow region quarry. Yevgenia Kirpichenkova

Russian freediver Alexei Molchanov has broken the world record for the longest freedive under ice, holding his breath and swimming for 180 meters in a Moscow region quarry, according to a press release Tuesday.

Molchanov beat the previous record held by French freediver Arthur Guérin-Boëri, who swam for 175 meters in 2017. Organizers underscored the difficulty of ice swimming due to the body’s natural instinct to breathe in cold water and the inability to resurface before reaching the next ice hole.

Andrei Molchanov Yevgenia Kirpichenkova

“I know how few athletes remain in [under-ice freediving], so it was especially interesting for me to try my hand here,” Molchanov said.

Molchanov dedicated his feat to his mother, the freediving legend Natalia Molchanova who mysteriously vanished while diving in Spain in 2015. 

“It’s not just a job or a hobby for me, but a life’s work, a tribute to the boundless love and respect for my mother, a memory of her invaluable contribution to our common cause,” Molchanov said.

Andrei Molchanov Yevgenia Kirpichenkova

His record-setting freedive was registered by an arbiter from an international freediving federation, according to the state-run TASS news agency. It will take an unspecified amount of time to process the record, it reported.

Molchanov completed the record-setting freedive on the eve of a feature film based on Molchanova’s life. The film, on which Molchanov has a consulting credit, premieres on March 5.

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