Guillaume Néry takes a moment to compose himself, SIA reports referring to CNN.
He adjusts his mask, swallows a big breath of air and then dives into the sea.And he won’t come back up for several minutes. Néry is a former world champion in the sport of freediving, where competitors eschew scuba gear and rely only on holding their breath. In 2002, at the age of 20, the Frenchman became the youngest world-record holder when he dove 87 meters (285 feet) on a single breath of air. “When I started when I was young, it was a way to discover my own limits,” Néry said. “I was driven by performance, by this challenge. … But step by step, I discovered that freediving can also be a way to discover magical underwater places.”
Néry is the star of “One Breath Around the World,” a short film that explores an underwater world that most of us have never seen. Some of the most memorable moments are when he interacts with marine life, including massive sperm whales off the island nation of Mauritius.
Freediving is a dangerous — and sometimes deadly — sport that requires serious training and discipline. Now imagine doing it while holding a camera. He was attempting to dive to 129 meters (423 feet), but someone from the competition made a mistake and set the ropes at 139 meters (456 feet).
Néry made it all the way down, but the record didn’t count because he lost consciousness just a few feet away from the surface. “It happens,” said Néry, who had blood in his lungs and took a few days to recover. “But because of that, I decided to make a break with competition. And during this period I focused on this ‘One Breath Around the World’ project.”
Néry says freediving has become more than a sport to him. It’s a way of life, and a reminder to slow down and stay in the moment. Freedivers have to calm their mind and relax their muscles to conserve as much energy as possible. And that lesson translates outside of the water, Néry said. “From the moment you hold your breath, you just forget about the time. It's like a moment out of time. And when you finish, you feel so relaxed and so peaceful. To me, it became like a philosophy, a way to think better.”
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