budimir sobat split image

A freediver who can hold his breath underwater for an unbelievable 24 minutes has shared his top tips for perfecting the art.

Budimir Šobat (Croatia) set the record for longest time breath held underwater (male) in March 2021 in Sisak, Croatia, with a time of 24 min 37.36 sec.

It might seem like an impossible feat to most people, but for Budimir, it was the culmination of years of dedicated training.

And just looking at the evolution of the record from 13 min 42.5 sec in 1959 to Budimir’s current record, it’s clear to see how hard people have worked to improve their technique.

To achieve his record, Budimir lay on his stomach in a swimming pool, with his face underneath the water, and with a support team around him at all times.

He used scuba diving gear to breath in oxygen after getting in position, before taking it away and closing his eyes to concentrate on holding his breath.

Aged 56 at the time, he explained he had taken up free diving when he was 48.

After achieving his record, he said: “Now I have proved that anything is possible if you are strong and dedicated.”

budimir sobat had a support team with him

He found inspiration for his incredible feat in his daughter Saša, who has autism.

Budimir says that by bringing himself to the attention of the media through his record, he can raise awareness about autism.

The proud dad talked us through what it’s like to hold his breath for such a long time.

He explained: “While I am doing my maximum static apnea, I have my eyes closed and all I focus on is to try and hear my heartbeat.

budimir sobat held his breath for over 24 minutes

“Once I hear it, I become calm and ready to fight the time.”

He added: “Freediving is, first of all, [a] mental sport. If you can be stronger than your mind, you will succeed.

“It is a really great sport. At the beginning of your dive, it’s the part of joy. Then you are entering in a phase of emptiness and finally you come to the part of the real dive where you have to be focussed and calm to avoid all your fears and finish the dive.

budimir sobat holding his breath

“I’m a free diver because of the last part. It is very difficult for me to give any advice for freediving, but I will try to give you three tips which makes me a Guinness World Records title holder.”

Going on to impart his advice, Budimir said: “First, never skip the training.

“Second, I would rather be overtrained than out of shape.

“And the third, don’t just do it – do it right, no matter what.”

budimir sobat trained for three years

Budimir spent three years preparing himself for this record attempt, training six days a week.

Amazingly, as Budimir ended his record-breaking breath hold, he didn’t appear to be gasping for air.

He simply lifted his head up above the water, planted his feet and smiled at the crowd of people who were applauding him.

The female equivalent of the record has belonged to Karoline Meyer (Brazil) since 2009 with a time of 18 min 32.59 sec.

budimir sobat keeps his eyes closed while holding his breath

Evolution of the male underwater breath hold record:

• March 1959 - Robert Foster (USA) – 13 min 42.5 sec

• January 2006 – Tom Sietas (Germany) – 14 min 12 sec

• June 2006 - Tom Sietas (Germany) – 14 min 25 sec

• August 2007 - Tom Sietas (Germany) – 15 min 2 sec

• November 2007 - Tom Sietas (Germany) – 15 min 16 sec

• February 2008 - Peter Colat (Switzerland) – 16 min 32 sec

• April 2008 - David Blaine (USA) – 17 min 4.4 sec

• September 2008 - Tom Sietas (Germany) – 17 min 19 sec

• December 2008 - Tom Sietas (Germany) – 17 min 33 sec

• April 2009 - Nicola Putignano (Italy) – 19 min 2 sec

• February 2010 - Peter Colat (Switzerland) – 19 min 21 sec

• April 2010 - Stig Åvall Severinsen (Denmark) – 20 min 10 sec

• September 2010 - Ricardo da Gama Bahia (Brazil) – 20 min 21 sec

• September 2011 - Peter Colat (Switzerland) – 21 min 33 sec

• May 2012 - Stig Åvall Severinsen (Denmark) – 22 min

• February 2016 - Aleix Segura Vendrell (Spain) – 24 min 3.45 sec

• March 2021 - Budimir Šobat (Croatia) – 24 min 37.36 sec

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