Ocean Science Professor Claire Paris broke two USA national records while simultaneously setting her first-ever Pan-American freediving record at the 2022 AIDA South Florida Apnea Challenge (held Saturday June 11 at the Herbert Wellness Center of the University of Miami).
Pan-American records encompass all of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean national records. In the first morning session, Paris set a new Dynamic No Fins (DNF) record with a swim of 147m/482ft in 3 minutes 11 seconds.
In the second session, Paris swam 182m/600ft in 3 minutes and 7 seconds in the Dynamic Apnea BiFins (DYNB) discipline and surpassed both the Men’s and Women’s USA National Records.
According to Paris:
“These records are very special since they are the first as grandmother of Naomi June. She represents hope for our future. Her generation will never allow marine mammals in captivity, will find no beauty in stolen freedom and will appreciate the value of wilderness.”
“I dedicate today’s records to the orca Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut, know as Lolita. Swimming in a small tank for 52 years of her life she taught us resilience, patience, and kindness. It is now time to bring her back home to the Salish Sea where her mother and pods awaits.”
Paris credits many others for her accomplishment:
“It takes work discipline to get here, but I could never have done this alone or without loving being underwater alone! Eliminating virtual boundaries is the result of team work. I thank my coaches Mirela Kardasevic for hard core dynamic training, and Tom Peled for teaching me how to breathe and get stronger to improve my performance. And most of all I would like to express my gratitude for my unfailing and supportive husband.”
This is Paris’s ninth USA National Record (NR) and first official Continental Record (CR) and Pan-American Record. Her DNF record surpasses the previous Women’s USA record of 142m/466ft set May 6, 2016 by Jacquelyn Dent at the Australian Pool Nationals. The DYNB record surpasses Paris’s own USA NR of 159m/522ft set on December 19, 2021 at the AIDA Tampa Bay Apnea Pool Competition.
Ricardo Paris, a freediving instructor trainer and President of USA Freediving, is Claire Paris’s husband and the organizer of the annual South Florida Apnea Challenge. He says:
“Claire is very passionate about both freediving and science and excels in both fields. I am always impressed by her, but these official records are not a surprise — they are just the result of her hard work and dedication. She is an inspiration to her university students and fellow freedivers.”