Johanna Nordblad World Record, freediving under ice 103 metres, in a swimsuit, no fins. CMAS rules.
For two years when we have woken up in the mornings the first thought has been: Johanna has to do this crazy dive. All the way to this year the distance in mind was 81 metres under ice, in a swimsuit, no fins. Because the current official men's record was 76,2 metres by Stig Severinsen. And women's record 70 metres by Amber Fillary. Amber went past Johanna's previous World Record last year, 50 metres was in Johanna's name until Amber did her 70 metres. These were all Guinness World Records with Guinness rules.
During the last year though there has been so many unofficial swims, with no rules at all and not officially registered anywhere. One man did 100 metres unofficially with a swimming cap. One man unofficially 80 metres without a swimming cap. One woman did 102,7 metres with a neckweight which is not allowed in Guinness rules. So a lot of unofficial dives that can't really be compared with each other because everyone had different rules and none of them was recognized by the official body, Guinness.
Guinness rules are not the best for freediving anyway. Neckweight is not allowed which means the diver has to dive with empty lungs, like Johanna last time when she did her record in 2015. About a month before Johanna's record attempt day CMAS introduced new World Record rules for freediving under ice, which make sense in the freediving world and makes this sport also safer. Johanna was the first in the world to dive with these new rules. There are these different categories:
Distance under ice
- in a swimsuit no fins
- in a wetsuit no fins
- those same two disciplines with monofin or bifins
Johanna's discipline was the distance in a swimsuit no fins.
For the diver to do this kind of a record attempt on a certain day, it means about one year of training. Pool training for diving technique and cold training to be able to stay in the 2 degree water. This year training was hard - first of all Johanna trained all last year. And then a week before the dive everything was cancelled. So training had to start all over again. The pools were closed here in Finland for the last 3 months before the record attempt so technical training was not quite where she wanted it to be. Cold water we have here all year round so no problem there. To train you need to know what is it you are training for. What is the distance. What are the rules. What are you allowed to use. Weights or no weights is the bigger thing. Do you train for a dive with empty lungs or do you train for a dive with full lungs. What is the depth you are diving in. How is the track built. All these things you need to know before you hop in to do your dive and everything has to be thought and trained to the perfection.
And this year that training to the perfection couldn't be done properly. Technique training not done properly because of the pool situation and other details not managed to the perfection, because the rules came so late so she didn't know two weeks before what exactly the rules and the track were going to be.
Because of all the unofficial records we put the last hole to 103 metres. The plan was always 81. Now suddenly it was 103 which was a totally different thing to 81 and felt like a crazy plan.
We drove to Hossa and weren't sure how things were going to go. Scary, exciting, we were a bit nervous but tried to just smile and concentrate at the task on hand. Sort out the details to the perfection during the few days we would have in Hossa before the dive.
The track was being built and testing started. How much weight. What is the diving depth. She has to dive 40 cm to the right from the bottom rope, otherwise her legs will hit the lanyard with every kick. How does she handle the cold. What is the breathing now that she can use the neckweight.
And then do a maximum dive and still know when to come up, which hole, so she wouldn't get problems at the end with lack of oxygen.
My part was thought to the perfection too. What I do at what moment, when do I give her what gear before the dive.
She said she will go to 60 metres and will see every 10 metres how she feels. There were safety holes every 10 metres at the end so after 60 she would have to go to 71, then 82, then 93 and 103. A safety in every hole to dive with her the distance of one hole to another. Cameraman and his safety diver in the water.
We always say that freediving is not an extreme sport. Extreme sport is waiting for the diver to come up from the depths or in this case from under the ice. So for me it's an extreme sport, especially during these maximum dives. I have no idea what is going on under there, I only see her going past the holes.
And this is what I was doing. Running along the track while she was diving. Seeing from one hole to the next that she is still going. Still going past 60 metres. Still going after reaching 71. Still going after 82. STILL GOING after 93. And coming up from 103 metre hole. She went all the way. There's no more holes to do the next day. 103! Longer than any human, man or woman has done before in a swimsuit. Past all the unofficial and official records. My sis is a super human. So proud of her. A white card from the judge. It was done!! We don't have to think about this dive anymore.
WORLD RECORD FREEDIVING UNDER ICE
JOHANNA NORDBLAD, FINLAND
Horizontal distance: 103 metres
Time of apnea: 2,42 minutes
Thickness of ice: 60 cm
Air Temperature: -7 degrees
Water Temperature: 2
Location: Lake Öllöri, Hossa, Finland
So so proud of her. When the documentary comes out you can watch our journey, during the two years preparing for this day.
Pics by Elina www.elinamanninen.com