Welcome to the fascinating world of freediving! Freediving is a sport that involves diving into the depths of the ocean, holding your breath, and exploring the underwater world. It's a unique and challenging activity that requires mental and physical strength, but it can be incredibly rewarding.

An Overview

Freediving is the ancestral form of diving also known as “Apnea”.  In water sports the term refers to “voluntary breath-holding” while maintaining airways below the surface of the water, and without the aid of scuba gear. The terms Apnea and Freediving are used interchangeably but most often the term Freediving is reserved to open water activities. CMAS, as the governing and federated body for underwater sports, uses the term Freediving while referring to all aquatic activities involving breath-holding.

Freediving is not just about holding your breath and diving deep.

Freediving requires practice and discipline, but it can be a life-changing experience. The ability to hold one's breath for extended periods of time and explore the depths of the ocean is a unique and powerful feeling that is hard to match.

Whether you are a recreational diver or a competitive athlete, freediving is a sport that will challenge you both physically and mentally and give you a deeper appreciation and respect for the beauty not only of the underwater world but generally for the environment. Freediving is a way to connect with the ocean and its inhabitants in a way that is impossible with scuba diving or snorkelling. Freedivers can observe marine life more closely without disturbance: swim alongside sharks, dolphins, and experience the underwater world in a completely different way.

Freediving is a challenging and rewarding sport and you need a high level of physical fitness and mental strength. You must also learn the techniques and safety measures required for safe diving. There are many courses available for beginners, which teach the basics of freediving, including breathing techniques, relaxation, equalisation, and how to handle emergencies.

One of the most important aspects of Freediving is safety, which is the first priority in training, where the freediver should learn and understand the risks and dangers involved in blackout, panic and other pressure related injuries so to be confident as a freediver and as a buddy. This is why proper training and supervision is key. CMAS created freediving training programs and courses, based on the experience of certified CMAS instructors from all over the world. The aim of these programs is to maximise the safety and the comfort of the participants. It is also essential to dive with a buddy, and follow safe diving protocols, including proper warm-up, monitoring the time underwater, the depth reached, the surface interval, monitoring the personal physical condition. 

Our educational motto: “a trained freediver is a safer freediver”.


For millennia, people have relied on freediving as a means of sustenance, as evidenced by archaeological discoveries. The Ama divers in Japan are known to have collected pearls for around 2000 years, while the Haenyeo in Korea have been freediving to collect shells and sponges for even longer. Spearfishing has also played a significant role in the evolution of the sport of freediving.

The men's underwater swimming was an event on the Swimming at the 1900 Summer Olympics schedule in Paris. It was held on 12 August in the Seine. There were 14 competitors from 4 nations. The event was won by Charles Devendeville of France, with his countryman André Six taking second. Denmark's Peder Lykkeberg took third despite being clearly the best underwater swimmer; he swam in circles though the distance portion of the score was measured in a straight line.

Freediving has a long-standing history in the Mediterranean Sea, with evidence of activities such as Skandalopetra sponge diving dating back to the era of Alexander the Great. The first recorded freediving record was set by a Greek sponge diver named Stathis Hatzis from Symi, who reached a depth of 88m on a single breath in 1913.

On 5 November 1950 the Italian fighter pilot and avid spear fisher Raimondo Bucher announced that he would reach a depth of 30 metres on a breath hold. Using a large rock for ballast, Bucher completed the dive outside Naples.

In recent years the battles between Mayol and Maiorca were an epic story.It was not until the 1970’s that formal competition was developed by CMAS. Italian Enzo Maiorca, first freediver through the 100-meter barrier, and Frenchman Jacques Mayol (who dove to 105-meters) vied with each other for the world record. Their intense rivalry inspired Director Luc Besson to make his 1988 film “Le Grand Bleu” (The Big Blue) which in turn has inspired the current generation of freedivers.