Profile Series: Audre Mestre

Your Name: Audrey Mestre – I started professional freediving under my single name and that is the reason why I like to keep it.

Nationality: French

Age: 27 years old

Accomplishments in freediving: Freediving is not only records, so I would like to split this question:

  • Records:
  • a. -80 meters (263 ft) May 29, 1997: Women No limit National Record, Sea, in Grand Cayman.
  • b. -125 meters (411 ft) May 13, 2000: Women No Limit World Record, Sea, in Spain.
  • c. -100 meters (329 ft) May 18, 2001: Mixed Tandem No Limit World Record, Sea, in USA.
  • d. -130 meters (427 Ft) May 19, 2001: Women No Limit World Record, Sea, in USA.
  • Exhibitions:
  • a. 115 meters (378 ft) June 6, 1998: Mixed Tandem No Limit, Sea, in Mexico.
  • b. 101 meters (332 ft) November 17, 2000: Women Tandem No Limit, Sea, in Aruba.
  • c. 91 meters (300 ft) September 8, 2001: Women Tandem No Limit, Sea, in USA.
  • Courses:
  • As an IAFD Instructor Trainer I participate at the formation of new freedivers who have a BIG interest in freediving, but not always the techniques and the abilities to do it the safer way.

Why did you become involved in freediving? That s a long story, but I ll make it short. I was doing my thesis in Marine Biology, specifically in physiology, and because Pipin was the current World Champion I chose him as the subject. I was trying to demonstrate the blood Shift phenomena. After I finished I had the opportunity to meet Pipin during one of his record in Mexico so I took the chance. When I started living with Pipin my interest for freediving increased so much, that I felt the need to do it, try it and live by myself the adventure, and here I am.

How often do you train? Honestly, I am not a big fan of physical training. Of course I have to keep a good shape but nothing extreme. The philosophy that Pipin taught me when I first started is that the Ocean is an energy source too strong to be challenged. The idea is to respect the Ocean and capture this energy; to do it, we will have to dive in harmony with it and not against it. With that point of view the training become more mental than physical and that is the reason why I don t train every day during 3, 5 or 8 months. I can not afford to do it, first because a don t have the physique to support that kind of training and second, I don t have the time since I work in an office and I have a lot of activities beside Records. So, usually I start training about 3 weeks before the event. The first week I do only physical exercises holding my breath and simulation dive. The second week I start doing some static apnea and increase the simulation dive and the last week I just dive every day.

What is a typical day for you in your training routine – without divulging any special techniques that you don’t feel comfortable revealing. Maybe my routine training will disappoint you. The first 2 weeks of the training I start doing some weight exercises after my work in the office… Because of my discipline I need to have strong but very elastic muscles around my chest and in my back, that is why most of the exercises that I do are focused in those parts of my body. To get elasticity I have to avoid the production of Lactic Acid, which means that I first ventilate for 3 minutes, then hold my breath until I feel the first diaphragm contraction and then I start working with weight until I can not control the urge to breath. The idea is not to work with a lot of weight, but to do as much repetitions as I can. The last week before the attempt I practice the maneuver of flushing my sinus several times every day.

Do you have any special dietary needs or preferences that you feel helps your training? Do you have any recommendations regarding this topic? Nope. I eat everything I want when I want it. I never did any diet. When you are preparing for a Record you will have a lot of pressure in top of you. I am not referring to the hydrostatic pressure but to the training, media, sponsors&. Which is even worst that the first one. So if in addition to this you force your body and mind to resist temptations. Normally I eat a lot of pasta, but because I love pasta I eat it even when I m not training!

Where do you mainly train – i.e.; pool, open water, etc. I train more in a gym or in a pool

What is your favorite discipline in the sport of freediving? A Lot of people think and say that constant ballast is the most pure way of freedive, I truly respect this point of view and actually I used to be one of them until I started in freediving. Now I understand that the category of constant ballast means that you have to train your body to swim down and up against the pressure, against the water, against the Ocean. Most part of this training is physical and I respect and admire people who can do it, but I am not attracted to doing it. I don t do records just to do them or to be the deeper or be a champion, I do them because is the only way to live very different sensations, the depth is the only place to go and touch, feel and live the power of the Ocean, but to reach it, it has to be done in harmony with it. When you dive with the sled you don t need your body, you have to be so relaxed that, at one point you just forget that you have one and that is when you meet the other person who lives inside you, the one in control of everything: your mind.

What is the most memorable dive or attempt that you have had – positive or negative. My most memorable dive was simply the first one, because it was the pure one. For the first time in my life I was getting a little bit closer to legends like Enzo Maiorca. I didn’t have any sponsor, I didn’t get paid to do it, nobody pushed me, I had no engagement with any one, just with myself. Today I can feel this feeling again when I make new people discover the sled during a tandem dive, when I teach children how to use freediving to feel better, when I freedive with animals and I just forget that I am not one of them.

What advice would you give to someone who might be interested in the sport of freediving? The best advice that anyone can give and should give is to be SAFE. Freediving is a magical world, but unfortunately we are not marine mammals, and accidents can happen, that is why is so important to learn the safe way and the right way to freedive, that is why I believe so much in the IAFD. Everyone have the right to enjoy freediving and those who are professional freedivers, experienced freedivers, have the responsibility to warn new freedivers about the risks, so everyone can live their dreams.

What do you do outside of the sport? I have a lot of activities. In April 2001 I was part of the organization and production of the Children’s Ocean which is a program to help kids between 4 and 12 years old to affront their problems (some are very important) with the help of freediving. If I can make that one child focus his mind on a point in the bottom of the Ocean in order to freedive and touch it, during the ventilation and the dive he forgets the real world and discover a new one where is welcome, for me that is a bigger recompense than records. I also prepare trips, shoot under water film, take underwater pictures, in order to do documentaries and I work in a production company behind my computer preparing taxes and taking care of the book keeping. One of my safety divers used to say that I am the only freediver who has a hobby of accounting.