How long can you hold your breath?

I used to be able to swim well. At a stretch I could do 50*25m lengths of a pool in about an hour. I’d be wrecked after it for days on end, but I did it. And at the time I managed to hold my breath and swim the whole length of the pool underwater. Those pesky kids at the top of the pool were always a frustrating obstacle when the air is running out ..

That all pales in comparison to the achievements of British freediver Sara Campbell who can hold her breath underwater for 4min 30sec. She recently set a world record in the disciple of, “constant weight” freediving when she dived to 90m (295ft) on one breath.

There is a risk of blackout and burst eardrums and the lungs compress to the size of a clenched fist, but deep down at 90 metres – where no other woman swimming with just a monofin for propulsion has gone before – the Red Sea looks golden to Sara Campbell.


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