Lonely Planet Writer

This daredevil completed a record-breaking freedive under a giant sheet of ice

Underwater diver, Arthur Guérin-Boëri, has set a world record for the longest freedive under ice, after swimming an incredible 175 metres (574 feet). The 31-year-old Frenchman plunged into the icy waters of a lake in Finland and swam below the giant 19-inch thick sheet of ice while holding his breath, only surfacing at the finish line.

How long can you hold your breath? Probably not that long. Now try imagine doing that while swimming underwater. Pretty tough, right? Finally, imagine holding your breath and swimming 175 meters (574 feet) under a sheet of solid ice. Well, that’s what Arthur Guérin-Boëri did in Finland, setting a world record for the longest freedive under ice.

A post shared by Arthur Guerin-Boeri (@arthurguerinboeri_official) on Apr 18, 2017 at 3:58am PDT

Freediving relies on the diver’s ability to hold their breath until resurfacing, and Arthur is a master of apnea, which is the ability to temporarily hold one’s breath. For the record-breaking endeavour, he and his team used a chainsaw to cut through the ice, and he went through a routine of yoga, stretching and breathing before taking the plunge.

When he dived in wearing a mask to protect his eyes, the temperature under the surface was between zero and one degree Celsius. Using a guide line to prevent him from losing direction and wearing a monofin to help his body stay streamlined, Arthur swam below the ice and held his breath until he surfaced at the finish line almost 600 feet later.

Arthur was surrounded by supporters and medical personnel during the successful endeavour, and images of the feat were captured by photographer Alex Noyer. After emerging from the icy waters, he recovered in a sauna van. He also set the freedive record at the 9th Apnea Indoor World Championship in June 2016, becoming the first person to freedive 300m (984 feet), which is equivalent to six lengths of a 50m Olympic-sized swimming pool.