Frenchman Arthur Guerin-Boeri recently competed in the 9th CMAS Apnea Indoor World Championships in Lignano Sabbiadoro in Italy and set Freediving history with an amazing 300m / 984ft Dynamic Apnea swim.
To put that in perspective that is six lengths of a 50m Olympic sized swimming pool – it can only be described as epic!
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DeeperBlue.com: First of all thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions for us! It’s a pleasure and an honor to be able to help share your story. So, the number 300. Its been a hot topic amongst pool freedivers for a number of years now and some of the biggest names in the sport have come very close in recent times. How does it feel to be THE FIRST man to officially do it?
Arthur Guerin-Boeri: Thanks for your interest! I’m proud but actually also very surprised. It’s about 43m more than my previous Personal Best (PB). So it’s a huge step forward.
DB: Wow, that is great progress! You appeared to have done the dive with relative ease, what do you put your successes down to in this competition?
AGB: I’ve improved a lot my skills in freediving this last 6 months. Due to the new training techniques I have adopted in the last one and a half years. I started to feel the effects 6 months ago, especially on the physicals training with my gym coach Enguerrand Aucher. But also of course on pure apnea with my apnea coach Guillaume Lescure. He constantly adapts my training regime for me.
DB: In a performance such as this one, where you are swimming SIX FULL LENGTHS of an Olympic swimming pool, it’s easy to get overwhelmed before you even really get started. What to you think about to keep yourself on track and do you have a particular mental strategy for approaching such dives?
AGB: I have a 2 hours preparation before the dive. During that time I’m doing some stretching, some visualization, sometimes a little yoga, and during the last 40min before the dive, some breath-hold exercises. After such a preparation, my mind is totally focused on what I’m about to do. I don’t see or hear anything around me anymore and I keep repeating to myself that I’m here to do what I do best.
DB: When you made the turn at 250m, can you tell us what was going through your mind?
AGB: After the turn at 250m, I was already quite sure I was about to do it. I felt fine in my breath-hold however my only doubt was about my legs. That’s the reason why I slowed just a little in my kicking, to make sure they are going to be functional until the end. In any case I had to adapt my movement to go until the end, and not only the speed.
DB: That’s very impressive indeed, and shows your clarity of thought! Your previous performances of 221m Dynamic No Fins (DNF) was red carded for a very marginally late start (0.1 of a second!), which otherwise would have been another CMAS WR. What effect did this have on you before your Dynamic (DYN) swim and do you feel that this hindered you or helped you for your preparation for the swim?
AGB: I was very impatient to validate something after that red card. It motivated me a little for sure! The DNF dive was 221m, in an Olympic sized (big!) pool. I take the entire responsibility of that missed start. I had 3 minutes to go. But it’s still a big frustration.
DB: Maybe not the best way to start (the competition), but it sure looks like it lit a fire up under you! Would you mind telling us a little about yourself? Who is the real Arthur GB, where you are from, how you got into freediving, what it is about the sport that you love? What do you do when you are not freediving?
AGB: I’m 31years old, born in Nice, south of France but I grew up in Paris. Every year I go back down in Nice to visit my family and go deep diving. I also have a very important attachment to Corsica, it’s a place where I’ve been a lot on holidays since I was a child. Professionally I studied to be a Sound Engineer – because basically I love music! I love to sing and have played the guitar since I was 10 years old. That’s passion number 1! Before pretending to be a fish!
When I became a Sound Engineer for other musicians, rather than being on stage myself, it became very frustrating for me and I decided to bring a stop pursuing this as a career. For several years now I’ve been doing different types of jobs in Paris, and have finally ended up as a private driver. I’ve been part of the close-knit driver team of the Hotel De Crillon in Paris now for several years.
A while ago I suddenly realized that I wanted to get back into sport. I’ve always been very sporty but stopped during my Sound Engineering education and for a few years after that.
I’ve always loved swimming so I started to swim on my own, and after a year, I wanted to be coached. As I was online searching for a swimming club in my neighborhood, I discovered Freediving clubs and I started researching them instead.
Freediving has always fascinated me since childhood. My first freediving memories are from Corsica when I was very young. This sport was really calling to me and it came to me as much as I came to it that day, in front of my computer looking for a swimming club. So I searched for “freediving club Paris” and realized that it was actually very developed, with clubs everywhere – in every district and every city around Paris! Then i managed to find one close to my home and that’s simply how I started. Two years later, in August 2013, I became CMAS World champion for the first time – in Kazan, Russia, .
When I started freediving in 2011 and I was still working as a private driver however about a year ago I stopped working to focus on training and trying to become a professional freediver – which is a very hard and complicated task even for the top performing Freedivers. So to achieve my dream I train nearly every day, both in Apnea and physical workouts, in 3 different clubs.
DB: I hear you, a very complicated task indeed (If there are any potential sponsors out there, you can find Arthur’s contacts below)! Do you have any advice to beginners/novices that you would like to share?
AGB: Keep focusing on the sensations at the beginning. Don’t be focused on the performance. Freediving must be experienced as a way of life before an extreme performance activity. This will come later on. But then I tell to all the experienced freedivers that are hesitating to compete to come and join our competitive community! We need more and more athletes around the world.
DB: Very sound advice. I couldn’t agree more. Whats next for you? Can we expect to see you at the AIDA pool World Championships? Do you also train for depth?
AGB: I’ll be in Finland for the AIDA indoor World Championships. It’s already been a very big season for me, after the French nationals, then the French national FFESSM Championships, French national AIDA competitions, the CMAS indoor World Championships, and now the AIDA World Championships and CMAS Outdoor World Championships in October. It’s a lot and it’s very hard to stay strong and focused. After Finland I’ll take a few weeks vacation for sure. I will certainly train depth in Nice this summer, between 15th of July until the end of September, listening to the advice I can get and learning from freedivers such as Aurore Asso, Guillaume Nery or Morgan Bourc’his. I only have limited experience in deep diving. For now I can easily dive to 70m Constant Weight (CWT), but I must be very careful with my lungs, and progress smoothly, as I’m not really limited by my breath-hold swimming time.
DB: Is there anything else you would like to add/say/share with the global freediving community? Or anyone you would like to thank?
AGB: I dream of a unique freedivers community, diving all together around the world, indoor or outdoor, under the same flag. Only way for our sport to really expend worldwide, be understood by the public, get the attention of medias and sponsors around the world, and for us to become professionals.
I would like to thank my coaches Guillaume Lescure and Enguerrand Aucher. The staff of the French CMAS national team Arnaud Ponche, Christian Vogler and Olivia Fricker, the staff of AIDA France , Claude Chapuis and Pierre Vigouroux, for their kindness and for welcoming me in the French AIDA 2016 selection. And someone important to me in Toulouse, south of France, she will know who she is!