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Profile: Alessia Zecchini

Alessia Zecchini catapulted into the public’s awareness as a master of depth in 2017, breaking two world records in Constant Weight. Having previously been known more in indoor freediving, and competing largely with CMAS, Alessia emerged onto the AIDA depth scene in Vertical Blue in April of that year. With a dramatic competition, in which every performance she announced was a World Record attempt, and of her six dives, her two white cards broke the Constant Weight (CWT) world record; first that of Natalia Molchanova, and then Hanako Hirose’s, which had been achieved a mere 10 minutes prior to Alessia’s 104m dive. In May 2018, Alessia broke her own WR with a dive to 105m CWT at the Nirvana Oceanquest Competition, in San Andres, Colombia, furthering the distance between her and the many other strong female freedivers currently competing.

Alessia Zecchini. Photo by Daan Verhoeven
Alessia Zecchini. Photo by Daan Verhoeven

Originally from Rome, and just 25 years old, Alessia already has many years of freediving experience, having started at the young age of 13. Like many freediving athletes, she also has a background in competitive swimming and fin swimming. At her first AIDA Team World Championships in 2014, she achieved two silver medals in Dynamic (DYN) with a 223m swim, and Constant Weight (CWT) with a dive to 84m. However, in CMAS, she is the World Record holder with a 250m DYN.

Italian Alessia Zucchini broke a Women's DYN World Record at the CMAS Apnea Indoor World Championship
Italian Alessia Zecchini broke a Women’s DYN World Record at the CMAS Apnea Indoor World Championship

With Martin Zajak as her new coach and ambitions to break world records in other disciplines, there is much anticipation for Alessia’s continued progression in the sport.

RELATED: Freediving Disciplines Explained

Below she shares her slightly unorthodox way to train outside of the water, those that she admires in freediving and the importance of Italian cuisine to her training and performance! What continues to inspire your freediving? 

Alessia Zecchini: I’ve loved this sport since I was 13 years old and I think is impossible that this love can finish!

Now, I want to enjoy the water, to discover myself deeper and to improve my performances, doing everything better, because we can always improve a lot of things. This is what inspires me to continue to train and for trying to do my best always.

DB: Who do you most admire in the freediving world?

AZ: I admire my good friend Michele Tomasi, a very strong athlete of the Italia Team who competed for many years. I know him from when I started to do freediving and I learned a lot from him, like to never give up and to do always the best that I can do in each discipline.

DB: What is/are your favorite place/s to freedive?

AZ: My favorite place to train is Dahab with Dahab Freedivers! I have in Dahab a lot of friends and the conditions in the Blue Hole are perfect for training.

WR DYN 250m Alessia Zecchini

DB: Can you tell us about any exciting locations that you would you love to freedive?

AZ: I liked a lot Sharm-El-Sheikh but really amazing places like the Maldives. I went there for my first time a few weeks ago and I was like a baby with a lot of new toys, so excited!! We went with a safari boat around many atolls and it was amazing!

DB: What would be your best piece of training advice for beginner/intermediate freedivers?

AZ: To focus on the technique from the beginning, because for me it’s the most important thing and later it’s more difficult to correct.

DB: Top freediving athletes seem to favor a variety of cross-training methods. What is your preferred form of dry training and why?

AZ: Sincerely, I love to train with my rollerblades and once a week I do, like, 25km. I think is useful to do always one aerobic training in a week and I prefer to not do in the water, like a few years ago, because it’s a little bit boring and I like skating a lot.

Alessia Zecchini Set News Constant Weight Freediving World Record
Alessia Zecchini Set News Constant Weight Freediving World Record

DB: What is your pre-dive preference: breakfast or fasting? 

AZ: For me is very important to eat something because without I have very low blood sugar and it’s really dangerous! So, if I can I eat ham and bread or what I can find similar in the place where I compete.

DB: What general nutritional principles do you follow?

AZ: I’m Italian and so I follow the classic Mediterranean diet: breakfast as before, and with tea; lunch with carbohydrates, like pasta or rice, and vegetables; dinner with protein, fish, meat or eggs and vegetables; and fruit when I’m hungry or during the meal.

DB: Freediving is a teacher: what important life-lessons has freediving given you?

AZ: That is very important to never give up and think in a positive way, because like this you can find almost always a solution to solve every problem.

DB: Goals: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

AZ: I see myself to compete in the Olympics game in the 2024…it’s very difficult but why not dream?

Alessia Zecchini. Photo by Daan Verhoeven
Alessia Zecchini. Photo by Daan Verhoeven

DB: Can you describe your most memorable or significant dive?

AZ: My most memorable was -104m in VB 2017… I really wanted to do that world record and I was sure that I could. Before the dive, I looked in Stephen’s {Keenan} blue eyes and he gave me the power to do everything perfectly. He believed a lot in me and he helped me very much to do it. I never will forget that moment and the hug after that amazing dive.

DB: Which of your achievements are you most proud of, and why?

AZ: I’m proud of my last WC AIDA in Roatan, I went there for a reason and I did almost perfectly my job.

Alessia Zecchini - WCh AIDA 2017 Roatan, CWT
Louisa Collyns
Louisa Collyns
After discovering a passion for freediving, Louisa joined the British team, and competed at the Depth World Championships in 2013, just a year after learning to freedive. An AIDA instructor since 2013, Louisa teaches freediving in Ibiza. She is a member of the AIDA Safety Committee and has been a safety freediver and platform coordinator in international competitions such as Vertical Blue, Carribean Cup, and Blue Element, and is Chief of Staff at Vertical Blue in 2018. She is based in Ibiza, Spain.


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