Egyptian swimmer smashes highest jump out of water record

By Hassan Ibrahim

It is not uncommon to see Omar Sayed Shaaban in water - in fact, it's where he can be found most of the time!

The 21-year-old Egyptian national is one of the world’s fastest sprinters underwater, and has just set the world record for the highest jump out of water wearing a monofin, recording an impressive 2.30 m (7 ft 11.8 in) jump.

This is the first time this record has been broken in nine years. 

It was previously held by Cesare Fumarola, Stefano Figini (both Italy) and Soliman Sayed (Egypt), who all achieved a jump height of 2 m (6 ft 6.74 in).

Omar studies Civil Engineering, and it first crossed his mind to break a world record in 2015.

This specific record title is popular in his area, since previous record holder Soliman Sayed isn't only a fellow Egyptian, but actually hails from Ismailia, the same city that Omar is from.


Highest jump out of water wearing a monofin 🏊‍♂️💦 2.30 m (7ft 11.8 in) by Omar Sayed Shaaban 🇪🇬

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Monofins are a type of swim fin typically used in underwater sports such as fin swimming, free-diving and underwater orienteering.

Omar first caught the attention of his coach Farouk Al Akhras after he entered the local swimming school at the rowing club in Ismailia aged eight. 

A year later, he joined the Suez Canal Club in the same city and spent 12 years there, many of those as a professional sprinter swimmer.

A dolphin-like excellence requires Omar to train three times a day, two of them in water, with a gym session in-between.

“I practise to increase my limb beat frequency and obtain stiffer muscles but my aim is never to bulk up," Omar explained.

"Bigger muscles make it hard to sprint in water, so I work out to maintain cutting cycle, increase flexibility, enhance muscle reflexes and of course build stronger legs."

Omar Shaaban jumping out of water wearing a monofin

But what's an average day of training like for Omar?

He wakes up early in the morning and eats a small meal followed by a swim training session at 5am. 

His second meal comes full of carbohydrates to restore some of the energy spent including boiled eggs, vegetables and oatmeal. 

His second training is a gym session between 12 – 1pm, so around an hour before this he eats bananas, honey and some mineral salt snacks to prepare. 

Lunch is something like a quarter of a fried or boiled chicken, rice, and some boiled vegetables. 

His evening swim training session comes at 8pm, followed by a dinner which is usually the same as what he had for lunch that day.

Omar Shaaban posing after attempting the highest jump out of water wearing a monofin

"Swimming is peaceful. A rush of unexplainable thoughts crosses your mind underwater, but it's certainly different and healing," said Omar. 

"As a sprinter, I understand that even thinking burns oxygen so I tend to focus on the present moment. Part of our training is to learn how to be extremely relaxed inside the water."

A global voting ranked Omar as the second fastest swimmer in the world – junior. He currently holds three world medals (2 silver and a bronze), and he achieved this record during a 3-month training programme for another upcoming championship.

"I was grateful for the presence of the Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Ashraf Sobhy during my world record attempt. I am also grateful for Brigadier General Muhammad Muslim, Head of the Ismailia region as well as Sameh El-Shazly, President of the Egyptian and Arab Union and the Union of Division of Diving and Rescue, and Mr. Mohammed Ramadan who took it upon their shoulders to arrange everything related to this attempt until it was successfully done, so thank you."

Omar Shaaban holding multiple medals

The young Egyptian swimmer tells GWR he feels so proud with the recognition received following his achievement. 

Omar can cross 50 meters underwater on one breath in only 15.6 seconds, and 100 meters in 35.5 seconds while wearing a snorkel. 

He hopes to train in better conditions with full focus on the world record and raise the bar higher to keep the title for as long as he possibly can. 

One of his dreams is to become the fastest swim sprinter in the world. Currently ranked second in the world, he is just a couple of milliseconds away from achieving this goal.