Michaela Werner is no stranger to challenging athletic feats. Born in Slovakia, she moved to Australia at age 19 where she fell in love with freediving, the sport of diving underwater without breathing apparatus. Now, thanks to many years of hard work and dedication, Michaela can swim 200m underwater, can hold her breath for six minutes and is a qualified free diving instructor and coach.
Not satisfied with these achievements, Michaela will attempt to set a new Guinness World Record by swimming 2.5 km underwater in less than an hour. The challenge will consist of 100 laps of a 25-metre pool, coming up for breath for no more than 10 seconds at each end of the pool.
She will use the DNF (dynamic-no-fins or underwater breaststroke) technique which is considered to be the most difficult form of freediving since no fins are used, just a well-trained mind and body working in harmony with each other. If she is to achieve her goal of swimming 2.5k in one hour, she will need to hold her breath for 42 of the 60 minutes, which will test her body’s ability to tolerate high CO2 levels to the maximum.
Michaela’s world record attempt is scheduled for November 17th at Charlestown Swim Centre in Newcastle, NSW. She has dedicated six months to preparing for this event, building on a decade’s worth of fitness and skills training, both in and out of the water. But while it’s essential to be in peak physical condition for the challenge, Michaela is keenly aware of the need to be mentally prepared too. “On the day, it will be all about mental strength,” she explained. “Knowing all the work has been done, I must allow the performance to happen. Allow myself to shine, one stroke at a time.”
Michaela is very generously using her Guinness World Record challenge to fund raise for Take 3, aiming to raise $10,000 for the charity. As someone who spends a lot of time in the ocean, she is in awe of its beauty and concerned for its future. She says, “As a freediver, I’ve seen a lot of plastic pollution in the most remote, beautiful and wildest places on Earth. The oceans are the lifeblood of our planet. They can exist without us. But we cannot exist without them. We need them. And now they need us to protect them from plastic pollution. This is why I’m supporting Take 3 for the Sea with this world record challenge.”
Everyone at Take 3 for the Sea wishes Michaela the very best of luck on 17 November!
Please support Michaela’s challenge. Donate to Take 3 here. Your donation will help Take 3 for the Sea protect the oceans from plastic pollution. Thank you!