Free-diver breaks world record for longest swim under ice

Czech free-diver David Vencl swam nearly 266 feet beneath ice on Tuesday, breaking the world record by braving freezing water in a disused quarry northwest of Prague in nothing but swim trunks and goggles. The swim saw Vencl hold his breath for two minutes and 42 seconds.

Vencl said he felt “great” after emerging from the hole in the ice that covered the water, which was chilled to a numbing 37 degrees.

“It was faster than I expected it,” he said. “I felt great, after all, I trained a lot. I was under the ice three times for 75 meters (about 246 feet) during my training.”

The new world record in under-ice swimming near Teplice
Czech free-diver David Vencl reacts after breaking the world record in under-ice swimming in a lake at a former quarry in the village of Lahost, near the city of Teplice, Czech Republic, February 23, 2021.

DAVID W CERNY/REUTERS


He gave a fist-pump in celebration of his achievement, which he said would likely take months for the Guinness World Records organization to formally confirm.

“We now have to wait eight to twelve weeks to get the confirmation,” he said according to the Reuters news agency. “There’s quite a lot of forms we need to confirm and fill out correctly… It looks like it is a world record but because he (free-dive organization representative) couldn’t see me swimming under the ice, he will have to check the video footage and that should confirm it in the upcoming hours.”

CZECH-WEATHER-SWIMMING
A man stands next to the Barbora lake near Teplice, Czech Republic, as his friend, free-diver David Vencl, swims under ice during training to break the Guinness World Record for the longest swim under ice, February 13, 2021.

MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty


Vencl changed the location for his record attempt on Tuesday to the quarry in Lahost, about 62 miles northwest of Prague, due to COVID restrictions making it difficult for him and others to access a glacial lake in neighboring Austria.

Vencl beat the previous record of 250 feet set by Denmark’s Stig Avall Severinsen in 2017.



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