In 2012, German freediver Tom Sietas held his breath underwater for 22 minutes and 22 seconds, besting Dane Stig Severinsen’s previous Guinness record by 22 seconds. (Although Guinness still lists Severinsen as the record holder, stating he hyperventilated with oxygen before his attempt for 19 minutes and 30 seconds.) The women’s record is 18 minutes, 32.59 seconds, set by Brazillian Karoline Meyer in 2009. Prior to the attempt, she hyperventilated with oxygen for 24 minutes.
32-year-old Brooklyn man died attempting to break an American freediving record on Sunday. Nicholas Mevoli tried to reach a depth of 236 feet without fins and return to the surface safely on a single breath, but despite years of training, he lost consciousness shortly after surfacing and was later declared dead.