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Going In-depth with Record Holder Silvia Rashkova on Freediving, Its Benefits and Misconceptions

Bulgarian Silvia Rashkova set a new national women’s record in depth freediving by reaching a depth of 60 metres in the FIM (free immersion) discipline during a competition in Larnaka, Cyprus, on June 2. In an exclusive BTA interview, she spoke about what made her fall in love with freediving, the wrong perceptions about the sport, the conditions for practicing it in Bulgaria and the ways it can be useful to us in everyday life.

After just two in depth freediving competitions in the last 9 months, Rashkova holds national records in three separate disciplines (FIM, CWTB and CWT). During this period, diving has largely been her life, as aside from diligent training, she is a certified instructor at the country’s first freediving school.

As the only child of a harpooner, her love of diving was inevitable. “It was impossible not to pick up his hobbies,” she said.

“My father put me in the water before I could walk. Actually – underwater, to my mother’s horror. At 14, I was already diving at 8-9 metres deep.

Freediving – an adrenaline sport? Wrong. Closer to meditation. 

She told BTA that there are lots of misconceptions about free diving and the clearest example is the widely shared belief that freediving is an adrenaline sport. „In fact, we avoid adrenaline, we want to be calm, relaxed, because the calmer we are, the less oxygen we waste and we can stay longer in the water.

”When it is done properly, Silvia compares freediving to active meditation. “Through it, we take a break from the stressful everyday life. Then we come out much more rested and ready to tackle the tasks of our daily lives with renewed vigor.”

Although it is still far from a popular sport, interest in freediving is growing both locally and globally.

“More and more underwater films are being made, freedivers are starting to feature in music videos and this is increasing the popularity of the sport. It is also becoming easier to travel to different destinations, social media is evolving – we are constantly seeing underwater footage. People seeing this, having the opportunity to travel and see beautiful places, are starting to seek out this activity more and more.”