On the gradual drop towards 80 meters, the sound of crackling ice rippled by way of the water, the barometric stress cranked up, and it was painfully chilly. His job was to just accept all of it, and stay relaxed regardless of how terrible it felt or what occurred subsequent.
He arrived on the illuminated backside plate, grabbed a black tag, and with an ever-dwindling oxygen provide, dolphin kicked again towards the outlet within the ice.
For the previous 4 years, Alexey Molchanov has been the undisputed finest all-around free diver on the planet. He got here of age touring the world, from competitors to competitors, along with his mom, who set 41 world data and gained 23 world championship titles, regardless of not discovering the game till after she divorced at 39 years previous. She by no means sought sponsorship and supported her household by educating the game she liked.
By the point she disappeared while free diving near Ibiza in 2015, her curriculum was being taught throughout Russia and Japanese Europe, and Molchanov already had one depth report, and a number of world championships to his identify. He’d additionally began manufacturing free diving gear beneath the Molchanovs model. However along with his mom gone in a tragic flash, many free divers puzzled if he’d unravel. And what would change into of the model that carried her identify?
Molchanov didn’t share his ache. He didn’t search remedy or open up to anybody, together with his older sister, Oksana Molchanova, which involved her. She’s additionally a free diver and an teacher, however for 2 years after her mom’s dying, she prevented the water. Molchanov dived extra typically and introduced his mom’s free diving curriculum throughout the globe. The ocean turned his grief counselor.
“The water, free diving was the way in which for me to cleanse and recuperate,” he mentioned. Being underwater allowed him to attach along with his mom whereas additionally letting go. “It’s serious about this connection, and it’s additionally about not letting the strain and all of the damaging feelings settle within the physique.”
The data began piling up shortly. Two years after his mom’s dying, in 2017, Molchanov gained Vertical Blue, the Wimbledon of free diving, for the primary time. The next 12 months, he broke two depth data on the similar competitors in Dean’s Blue Gap, the house coaching floor of his best rival, William Trubridge. In 2018, he broke his personal Fixed Weight report, by diving to 130 meters and again with a monofin, and he nabbed Trubridge’s Free Immersion world report, by knocking down a line to 125 meters and again once more.