In the news

23rd April 2010 at 01:00

Dave King

Who is he?

He is a geography teacher at St Bede's Senior School in Upper Dicker, East Sussex. Last month, he beat the UK record by swimming 217m underwater in a single breath. He holds the UK record for diving to a depth of 80m in one breath.

How did you get into freediving?

"I've been freediving on and off for seven years. It started when I lived in Australia for a year. I became a dive master and scuba diving instructor. My colleagues and I used to see if we could swim to the bottom of the sea."

In Oz then in Britain - quite a shift?

"Freediving in the UK is limited: shores are shallow, it's cold and there's poor visibility. I train in a pool once or twice a week. There's a place just outside Chepstow where my friend arranged for us to dive. It's a quarry and the water is pitch black. It's only 75m deep. I'm running out of places to dive in the UK."

Describe your records.

"The first is called 'constant weight', for diving 80m in one breath. You are given a designated depth and can swim with or without flippers or a fin. I dive without a fin. You take the weight with you to compensate for the buoyancy of your wetsuit."

Technical stuff ... and the other one?

"The second one is called 'dynamic'. It's how far you can swim underwater in one breath. I swam 217m."

Does all this take you globetrotting?

"I've been to competitions in Cyprus, Vancouver, Egypt and I've worked on diving in the Canaries. This year's competition is in Japan, but I can't afford to go. It's the 2010 Team World Championships. It would cost about #163;4,000. In recent years, the sport has become almost elitist as only certain people can get the money to fund the trips."

Where is the diver's delight?

"There are plenty of places I haven't been, but my favourite place is Egypt, where the water is deep, clear and warm."

What about life in the classroom?

I'm constantly missing trips because of the school term. There are several big competitions around the world every year where lots of my friends go. I'm always searching for competitions in the holidays, but I don't always get to go.

What's your next mission?

"My next goal is to get to 100m in depth at constant weight. I am hoping to go to Egypt this summer and do it. If I'm lucky and have the money, I will get sponsors and judges to make it an official record - otherwise, I'll do it myself."

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