In a recent Times newspaper article, Sara Campbell talks of a desired attempt to break her recently set World Record of 96 metres, by successfully completing a dive to 100 metres in the Constant Weight category.
During the recent Vertical Blue competition in the Bahamas at Dean’s Blue Hotel, Miss Campbell set a new record at 96 metres and shortly afterwards did a failed attempt to 100 metres.
She has announced to the press that she plans to redo this depth at the end of this month, likely in the Red Sea. It is rumoured in the freediving community that 100 metres has already been achieved by other women freedivers during training, but has not yet been attempted at competition level.
Campbell is currently the subject of two scientific studies, and researchers have established she has a lung capacity 25% larger than average for someone her size – just 4ft 11in. A single dive to 100 metres has a surrounding pressure of 11 atmospheres, which compresses the lung to 11 times its normal size. The diaphragm is crushed, as are all the air spaces of the human body, making equalisation tricky and also a “drunken” feeling is felt at this depth as nitrogen has an anaesthetic effect under pressure.
Divers experiencing nitrogen narcosis generally have impaired motor ability, and the muscles, which can occasionally function without oxygen, produce lactic acid as a by-product of anaerobic respiration. However, French freediver Julie Gaultier has been quoted saying “narcosis is the salt of freediving”. Elevated levels of blood lactate beyond a tolerance level results in muscle fatigue or cramping.
The freediving community are no doubt watching updates from Campbell to see whether the smallest freediver in the world is going to set the deepest recorded depth.