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Martin Štěpánek (freediver)

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Martin Štěpánek (born June 5, 1977 in Náchod, Czech Republic) is a world class freediver and record-holder.

Life and career[edit]

From 1984 to 1997 he was a competitive monofin swimmer (finswimmer) (distances 50m and 100m). Martin's academic background follows a degree in Forestry Engineering with advanced studies in Sports Biology at the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. After moving to the United States he became USA Certified as a Deep Sea and Saturation Commercial Diver in May 1999. In 2000 Martin met Douglas Peterson, who went on to become his freediving coach and mentor, guiding him to his first World Record in July 2001. Since then, Martin continued to set freediving world records annually up to his retirement from competitive freediving in 2012. He is now recognized as one of the pioneers of modern freediving education.

Martin was on hand during David Blaine's "Drowned Alive" stunt in Lincoln Center in May 2006. Blaine was attempting to hold his breath (known as "apnea") long enough to break the current world record of eight minutes, fifty-eight seconds.[1]

Martin is the founder of Freediving Instructors International (F.I.I.) the largest[according to whom?] freediving education agency in the United States. He is an advisory board member of DiveWise a non-profit organization dedicated to freediver education and safety and celebrity supporter of Oceana.[2]

In May 2009, utilizing only his monofin for propulsion, Martin became the first man to dive over 400 feet (120 m) on a single breath of air.

Official World Records by Martin Štěpánek[edit]

Apnea Association Record Date Location
FIM 110 m 23 May 2009 Sharm (Egypt)
CWT 122 m 22 May 2009 Sharm (Egypt)
FIM 108 m 5 April 2006 Cayman (BWI)
FIM 106 m 3 April 2006 Cayman (BWI)
CWT 106 m 1 April 2006 Cayman (BWI)
VWT 136 m 14 April 2005 Cayman (BWI)
CNF 80 m 9 April 2005 Cayman (BWI)
CWT 103 m 10 September 2004 Spetses (Greece)
FIM 102 m 3 Mars 2004 Cayman (BWI)[3]
CWT 93 m 29 May 2003 Limassol (Cyprus)
FIM 90 m 8 September 2001 Miami (USA)
STA 8 min 6 sec 3 July 2001 Miami (USA)[3]
STA 7 min 47 sec 1 July 2001 Miami (USA)


  1. ^ Paul Kotik (9 May 2006). "David Blaine: Drowned Alive? Part VII 'Curtain Down'".
  2. ^ "Champion Freedivers, Martin Stepanek Partner with Oceana".
  3. ^ a b McKie, N (2004). "Freediving in cyberspace". Journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society. 34: 101–3. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-05.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)

External links[edit]