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America’s Cup Sailors Use Freediving As Part Of Their Training

At first glance, one wouldn’t think that professional sailors — particularly those racing in this year’s America’s Cup in Bermuda — would need to learn freediving, but Craig McFarlane would beg to differ.

With the current class of America’s Cup yachts incorporating high-speed catamarans, getting mentally prepared for making split-second decisions is just as important as being physically fit.

McFarlane, physical performance manager for Cup defender Oracle Team USA, has set up a mental and physical training regimen for the sailors on the team, from brain games to weightlifting to, yes, even freediving to make sure team members are at their peak when the racing begins.

McFarlane told the U.K’s Daily Telegraph:

“Freediving aids their decision-making; they won’t panic as much, their heart rates won’t be as high and they’ll be able to recover quickly.

“The second aspect is the increase in lung capacity that comes from the drills that you do; breathing, lung extension and utilising your oxygen. When you’re in an environment where there’s no room to f— up, you’re actually forced to calm yourself down and control your breathing rate and heart rate. That opens up a lot of crossover with being comfortable in an uncomfortable environment.”

Check out the rest of McFarlane’s physical and mental regimen for his sailors in The Daily Telegraph.

And to learn more about the America’s Cup, go to

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.