French freediver smashes world record with swim under ice


French freediver Arthur Guerin-Boeri sets the world record for the longest-distance swim under a sheet of ice with a single breath, swimming some 394 feet in Finland's Lake Sonnanen, north of Helsinki. / Credit: AFP/Almo Films

French freediver Arthur Guerin-Boeri sets the world record for the longest-distance swim under a sheet of ice with a single breath, swimming some 394 feet in Finland’s Lake Sonnanen, north of Helsinki. / Credit: AFP/Almo Films

Heinola, Finland — French freediver Arthur Guerin-Boeri set a record on Thursday by swimming 394 feet under ice. He did it in three minutes with just one, wearing a wetsuit but no flippers or gloves. The impressive feat by the 36-year-old took place in a lake in Finland renowned for having some of the clearest water in the country. Eight holes spaced about 22 yards apart were made in the frozen sheet of ice covering the lake as the daredevil got into the icy water wearing a thick wetsuit and managed to do the swim using a guideline.

It was only a month ago that Czech freediver David Vencl set the current, still-unverified record by swimming nearly 266 feet beneath ice in a disused quarry northwest of Prague, wearing nothing but swim trunks and goggles. The swim saw Vencl hold his breath for two minutes and 42 seconds. Guerin-Boeri, a five-time world champion freediver, spent two hours preparing himself before plunging into the frozen water on Friday.

French freediver Arthur Guerin-Boeri swims toward the camera as he sets the world record for the longest distance traveled under a ice with a single breath, swimming about 394 feet in Finland's Lake Sonnanen, north of Helsinki, March 26, 2021. / Credit: AFP/Almo Films

French freediver Arthur Guerin-Boeri swims toward the camera as he sets the world record for the longest distance traveled under a ice with a single breath, swimming about 394 feet in Finland’s Lake Sonnanen, north of Helsinki, March 26, 2021. / Credit: AFP/Almo Films

A sauna set up nearby allowed him to warm up before he headed to the starting point where he did breathing exercises for nearly an hour. He then inflated his lungs “like a balloon,” as he told AFP, before getting into the water. “There is fear, anxiety and it’s something I dreaded quite a bit but it was a calculated risk for which I was prepared,” he said. “I manage to lower my stress level and then I let myself get carried by something that transcends me. It’s all quite mystical but necessary when achieving something like this.” He said during his record three minutes under water he pushed forward using the cable above him as a guide. “Under the ice I felt pretty good,” he said. “There was this diffuse lunar light that was amazing. It’s beautiful.” He said he did not suffer much from the cold and planned to try and set another world record in a year, this time wearing a bathing suit.

There was no immediate indication as to when the Guinness World Records organization might verify the Frenchman’s achievement, as it was still working to certify the Czech swimmer’s previous landmark.

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