A Cayman Islands dive instructor is traveling to Greece this month to compete in the Freediving World Championships.
Kurt Randolph, originally from Ohio, qualified for the U.S. national team by diving to 75 meters on a single breath at the Deja Blue competition in Grand Cayman earlier this year.
He will compete in a three-man, three-woman team in Kalamata, Greece, against some of the best breath-hold divers in the world.
Randolph, who works for Sea Trek and Snuba Cayman, is one of a growing community of free divers in the Cayman Islands. He finished second in the international competition held here in May.
He said he is excited to have the opportunity to compete with the best in the world and hopes Team USA can finish in the top three.
“I never really feel nervous with freediving because at the competitions everyone really wants you to do well. Even if they are competing against you, they would rather you hit your best depth or time and they managed to beat you.”
He said the level of safety support at competitions makes it easier for free divers to push to their limits, risking blackout through lack of oxygen as they attempt record-breaking dives.
The AIDA world championships involves three events: constant weight, which involves diving as deep as possible on a single breath with fins; dynamic apnea, which involves swimming lengths of a pool underwater with fins; and static apnea, which is a timed breathhold in a pool.
To qualify, Randolph hit 75 meters depth, swam 167 meters underwater in the pool and held his breath for 5 minutes and 40 seconds.
He acknowledges he will have to push himself even further to get on the podium in Greece.
He said New Zealand, Canada and Russia are the powerhouses of the sport and are likely to provide the stiffest competition.