Category: Records

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – The Worlds Most Accomplished and Famous Female Freediver, Natalia Molchanova, is Missing.


Photo: DeeDee Flores

Formentera, Spain. Natalia Molchanova was recreationally freediving off the coast of Spain on August 2, 2015 when she was separated from her peers. She was diving without fins to around 30 to 40 m and supposable got into strong underwater current. Search efforts have been ongoing during daylight hours and the next day since she was reported missing by three peers. She disappeared while diving approximately two miles northwest of the port of La Savina at Poniente de es Freus.

Natalia Molchanova is the most decorated competitive freediver in the world, holding 41 World Records and is a 23 time World Champion in Freediving. Natalia trained hard for her sport, she had a nine minute breath hold, could dive to a depth of 101m using a fin and swim a distance of 234m with a fin. Along with being one of the top athletes in the world she has a PhD in Pedagogical Science and has authored multiple scientific articles and two freediving training handbooks. She is the creator and current president of the Freediving Federation of Russia. She designed and taught freediving programs all over the world. She is based out of Moscow and has created one of the most vibrant recreational freediving communities in the world. Natalia has trained thousands of people to freedive in locations worldwide.

Natalia is a proud mother of Oksana and Alexey. She loved children and was awaiting the day when she would become a Grandmother. She was an inspiration to all freedivers and despite being one of the fiercest competitors in the world, she was always calm and relaxed during competitions. She said “birth and death are important, but freediving competitions are just games for adults”. The cause of Natalia’s disappearance is unknown, but she was doing what she loved. Natalia has a passion for freediving that burned so deep inside of her that she dedicated her life to it.

Contact: Galina Zveryaeva ( –


Season’s Greetings from AIDA International!


Fellow AIDA freedivers, we look forward to a safe, productive and enjoyable 2015: continuing AIDA’s mission of developing the sport of freediving around the world. We hope to see as many of you as possible at the 2015 AIDA Individual World Championships: Pool World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia (19-28 June), and Depth World Championships in Limassol, Cyprus (11-20 September).

Best wishes for the Holidays to you and your families from the AIDA International Board:

Kimmo Lahtinen, President
Robert King, Vice President
Carla Hanson, Secretary
Ben Noble, Treasurer
Vedran Milat, Treasurer Elect
Ute Gessmann, Sport Officer
Antero Joki, Technical Officer
Jean-Pol François, Education Officer
Per Westin, Medical and Science Officer
Julien Alias, ITC Officer
Petar Bojovic, Judge Responsible&Legal officer


New World Record in Dynamic Apnea No-fins


9 November 2014 Brno, Czech Republic

Experienced diver Mateusz Malina of Krakow, Poland achieved a long-time goal of being a World Record diver. In a time of 4:27, he swam underwater for 226m . He surfaced with a very strong protocol and received a well-deserved white card from the judges.

Since 2012 Matt had been training all disciplines, except static, regularly. He trained pool several times a week and did exhale dives to maintain lung flexibility, once a week in a nearby quarry. In his opinion, this training achieved ‘modest results”. Then in July 2013 he “focused solely on DNF,FIM, and CNF” because he believes they are all connected. Matt said “It works pretty well for me” and it certainly seems that he is correct.

Congratulations and well done Matt!


Board Notes July 2014

The Aida International Board met on 6 July via Skype. Many topics were discussed in the very productive and lengthy meeting.

The Board reviewed AIDA’s financial status, as presented by Kimmo. It was also noted again that the old PayPal account should no longer receive payments; instructors will be notified to send payments only to the new PayPal account. AIDA Nationals: when making payment to AIDA International by PayPal, please use only the following payment information: bank @

The Assembly completed a vote on the order of addressing proposals on Safety, Rules and Judge IOP, deciding to address Safety first, then Rules, and finally Judge IOP. The comment period on the Safety proposal is scheduled to end on 15 July, and the Board plans to present the Safety proposal to the Assembly for vote in late July. The Board discussed a proposal from one National to prohibit head-up descents (occasionally used for FIM). The Safety work group had also discussed this item, and since a National has also recommended a change on this point, the Safety proposal will include a “line item” vote to determine if the change should be made.

The comment periods for the Rules and IOP proposals finished on 30 June. Those comments will be reviewed, and votes prepared on those proposals (to start after the Safety proposal is completed).

Robert updated the Board on the Safety Enhancement Project. Jean‐Pol reported on updates to the AIDA education system to address safety related items. Jean-­Pol also that safety updates on the 1* and 2* courses should be ready by this fall; revisions to the AIDA Safety Diver course should be ready by late fall as well.
The work group is also reviewing changes to the AIDA Safety Guidelines, and will address those in the near future. Robert noted that several doctors (who are also freedivers) in the United States have been working on a related project (including training scenarios for safety divers), and that work group members may work with them to share ideas.

Per Westin , Medical and Science officer, updated the Board on a web‐based Incident Reporting System, to be used to collect and analyze data on accidents and other incidents in competitions (likely on a mandatory basis) and in freediving generally (on a recommended basis). A work group (Kimmo, Per and Robert) is working with an experienced specialist on this project to have a prototype system available in the next few months.

The Board reviewed matters relating to the 2014 AIDA Team World Championships, to be held in September in Sardinia, Italy. The organizer has set up a website and Facebook page for the competition:


Please communicate these pages to your athletes.

AIDA Judge Responsible Petar Bojovic visited the competition sight in late June to review logistics, housing, safety and other matters. Petar noted the hotel appears to be very good, with more than adequate meeting rooms and other facilities. Petar reviewed the pool, which is 25m, and of variable depth; the organizer is looking to provide a means to make the depth uniform. Petar also reviewed safety and evacuation items with respect to the CWT venue, including medical and hyperbaric support. Report of this visit has been published at Aida Facebook wall.

As in Kalamata, AIDA will have Carla Hanson on sight in Cagliari to manage media matters, and Kimmo to manage general AIDA matters. The Board voted to purchase a tablet (mobile capable iPad mini, with cables and adapters) to help Carla create and post real time content on Facebook and AIDA’s website, at a cost not to exceed EUR 700; this tablet will also be used at other competitions to enhance media capabilities. The Board also voted to allocate EUR 800 for travel and lodging costs, to have a dedicated videographer/photographer (Daan Verhoeven) on site to provide still and video images, and to help write content (this amount will also cover license rights to content).

In regards to the judges at the WC ; the Board voted to elect the following jury officers for the 2014 AIDA Team World Championships: President, Petar Bojovic; Vice President, Ute Gessmann. Robert reported that the Assembly approved additional assistant judges for the 2014 AIDA Team World Championships (a total of two per elected judge), and noted that the Board previously approved subsidizing travel costs for the four assistant judges traveling from other continents. The Board noted that this is a first step toward providing additional training and experience for judges. AIDA’s goal is to have at least one senior judge (Level B or higher) in each country, or one judge instructor in each country (or within a reasonable distance). If your National has input on this judge-training initiative, please forward to the AIDA Board ( The Board also voted to have a continuing education course for judges in Sardinia; this course is intended to be the first of a series, to help judges gain experience, and prepare them for promotion. Relatedly, the Board discussed the use of judge training videos, to demonstrate common judging issues (such as surface protocol, touching, and grabbing). The Board will review further, and may have such video prepared in 2015 (or possibly late 2014).

The Board discussed ways to re-certify judges that have become inactive due to lack of recent judging; Kimmo, Petar and Jean‐Pol will develop a proposal for an online re-certification course, to be used in connection with assistant judging with senior judge(s); this proposal will be reviewed with the Assembly when ready (likely later this year). AIDA’s goal is to allow re-certification of inactive judges (who have already taken and paid for a judge course), without having to pay again for a full judge course. Relatedly, the Board voted to plan for a refresher course in Sardinia, so inactive judges could “re-activate” for a reasonable cost (e.g. EUR 30-­50), rather than having to pay again for a complete judge course (and retake the entire course, which appears unreasonable).

In addition, the Board will host an open meeting in Sardinia, like the open meetings that took place in Belgrade and Kalamata last year. All persons will be invited; Board members will review several important items, and other items will be discussed as requested by participants. The Board will also host a meeting of Assembly representatives who are present in Sardinia; this will not be a meeting of the Assembly (as not all members will be present), but rather a chance for Assembly and Board members to meet informally, and for Assembly members to raise issues that may be important for their Nationals.

The AIDA Board is accepting proposals from organizers to host the 2015 AIDA Pool and Depth World Championships. Please request any organizers that may be interested in hosting a pool world championship in the spring (April-­June) or a depth world championship in the fall (August – November) to forward proposals and questions to The Board voted to request that all proposals be delivered not later than 30 September, in order to allow them to be finalized and sent to the Assembly for vote this fall.

The Finnish Diving Federation has notified AIDA of its interest in hosting the 2016 AIDA Pool World Championships. As you may recall, the Assembly voted to change the scheduling of AIDA World Championships beginning in 2016, so that each even numbered year would have Pool and Team competitions (in spring and fall, respectively), and each odd numbered year would have the Depth competition. In order to work with the owners of pool and lodging facilities, the FDF has indicated that it would like to provide its proposal to AIDA early next year, with a request for vote on the location of the 2016 AIDA Pool World Championships in spring of 2015. The Board reviewed this request, and notes that it appears to be in AIDA’s best interests to review and vote on proposals for that competition next spring; this would also allow additional time for the organizers and athletes to line up sponsors.

Robert reported on June the meeting of the EUF in Frankfurt, Germany. This meeting was highly informative, both with respect to the regulatory framework in the European Union, and as to governance best practices among diving federations (many of whom share challenges similar to AIDA with a federated model). A CMAS representative reported on restructuring efforts currently being undertaken by CMAS; these efforts are intended to allow CMAS to comply with standards and best practices for international associations. As part of this restructuring, CMAS is moving toward a model where each national entity must represent a majority of athletes in its country. This is an important item for international federations, such as AIDA, whose mission is the development of freediving worldwide: having each national organization represent a majority of athletes in a country would increase AIDA’s ability to develop the sport of freediving. Separately, CMAS is developing an incident reporting system, as is AIDA. We believe that an incident reporting system can be an effective tool to gather and review information, in order to spot trends and prevent incidents before they become serious.

Kimmo reported on a new Assembly web tool, to allow members to update their contact information: similar to functionalities in the EOS and JOS systems. Kimmo also reported that the IT group is working on a new email distribution system (replacing the Yahoo Groups service): the Yahoo email service is experiencing significant issues (including regularly dropping members, and not delivering messages). This project is aimed at implementing a new service to solve those issues, and at better integrating Member data with the current AIDA web-­based tools (EOS, CARS and JOS). Note: If you are not receiving emails from or are unable to send them to the Assembly group list, please contact AIDA Secretary Carla Hanson ( so we can keep you copied until the new system is implemented.

If you would like further information on these or other topics, please do not hesitate to contact Kimmo, Robert, or any other Board member.


AIDA Board


Natalia just keeps going deeper!

Natalia 70m15 May 2014; Dahab, Egypt at the Russian National Depth Competition, Natalia Molchanova lengthened her own record in Constant Weight No-fins to 70m. The dive time was 3:30. Natalia currently holds all the records in the Aida Women’s division except for no-limits. Congratulations for another great accomplishment.

photo by Betty Nandi