In an incredible display of human endeavour, New Zealander Anthony Williams overcame extreme freeze and murky depths to achieve the deepest dive under ice – breath held (fins and diving suit) by a male.
On 27 March 2019 Anthony plunged into a frozen fjord in Kirkenes, Norway, achieving an amazing depth of 70.3 m (230.643 ft).
The dive, which lasted 2 minutes 29 seconds, saw him push through the pitch-black abyss on a single breath.
The risky pursuit of freediving under ice is fraught with physical and mental challenges - overcoming the body's natural reaction to panic and controlling bodily tension throughout the dive, were just some of the issues Anthony had to conquer.
We caught up with Anthony and ask him a few questions about his passion for freediving under ice.
How did you get into such an activity?
I began freediving whilst I was working as a Sport Psychologist in France. All of my athletes were performing in dangerous sports like base jumping, MotoGP racing and big wave surfing. I thought I should learn a dangerous sport to better understand what my athletes go through.
Why have you gone for this particular record?
I wanted to go out to the edge of this extreme sport to see what I could learn. It's when you test the limits of the sport that you learn new techniques and begin to innovate.
What challenges have you overcome in preparing for this attempt?
The challenges we overcome have been numerous. But my biggest challenge has been coping with the incredible discomfort and darkness of diving under the ice. The frigid water cuts through your wetsuit and stings your face. As you sink down it is remarkably difficult to relax as you drop in to the pitch black darkness all alone.
How do you train for this attempt?
I trained for this event by diving deep in the ocean twice a week for four months. To get used to the cold I took cold showers every day and spent a week on the ice in Finland where I dived under the ice each day.
What goes through your mind as you descend in to darkness?
As I dive it is critical to control my mind and overcome the fear of sinking alone in deep, dark water. As the water pressure mounts, I tell myself to 'let go' and enjoy the dive. Then I focus very inwardly on my relaxation and my techniques to equalise as I approach the deepest stage of the dive.
What will your adventure be?
Feeling inspired to attempt a Guinness World Records title yourself after reading Ant's story? Discover your Spirit of Adventure by finding out more about GWR Day, including how you can get involved on the day itself (Thursday 14 November). We realise everyone’s adventure is different, so whether it's taking on a new challenge, fulfiling a desire for adrenaline or perfecting your existing skills – there's a record waiting for you.