Nataliia Zharkova

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Nataliia Zharkova
Personal information
Native nameЖаркова Наталия Сергеевна
Born (1989-01-24) 24 January 1989 (age 33)
Kharkiv, USSR

Nataliia Zharkova (born 1989) is a 2017 freediving champion of Europe and Ukraine. Zharkova holds multiple records in the discipline of freediving. She was also a freediving runner-up champion of the world in 2013. She is the first Ukrainian and the second woman to ever dive below the arch of the Blue Hole vertical underwater cave in Dahab, Egypt, on a single breath.


Swimming career, 1997–2007[edit]

Zharkova started swimming at the age of seven, when her parents introduced her to swimming to alleviate her spine medical condition. Within six months she was accepted for the school of Olympic Reserve of Ukraine where she spent a total of 10 years.

Zharkova represented Ukraine in various European swimming championships while attending the school of Olympic Reserve of Ukraine.

Freediving career 2008–present[edit]

In 2008 Zharkova was introduced to freediving and began active training.

In 2009, she participated in a world championship held at Aarhus, Denmark. Zharkova set new Ukraine's national records in freediving.

In 2010, Zharkova competed in Ukraine, Russia and Latvia. Each participation brought Zharkova a new Ukraine's national record.

In 2011, the first depth competitions AIDA International World Championship were held at Kalamata, Greece. Zharkova's first participation in the depth competitions put her near the top freedivers in the discipline, taking 6th place in the CNF discipline (constant weight, no fins). She also set new Ukraine national records in the discipline. (AIDA WC-2011 – FIM – Nataliia Zharkova on YouTube)

In 2012, Ukraine first participated in the team world championship event, held in Nice, France. Zharkova represented Ukraine along with Alexander Bubenchikov and Valentin Kuznetsov. Zharkova improved her previous national records and took 5th place in the world rating.

In 2013, the AIDA International World Championships were held in Kalamata, Greece. Zharkova along with Natalia Molchanova won medals in all of the disciplines of the championship.

Natalia Molchanova and Nataliia Zharkova. Kalamata, Greece 2013.

In 2013–2015, Zharkova was a finalist in the Pool World Championship held at Belgrad, Serbia.

In 2015, the AIDA International Depth World Championships were held at Limassol, Cyprus. Zharkova's results were

In 2017, Zharkova won two gold and one bronze medal at the Championship of Europe held at Kaş, Turkey. She set two new world records according to CMAS.[1] All dives of that championship were filmed with the Dive Eye underwater drone.

Current activities[edit]

Currently Zharkova is a master Instructor at AIDA International, instructor (Emergency First Response-EFR). She is a chairman of the Freediving committee at UFUA (Ukrainian Federation of Underwater Activities) and is a member of the CMAS international committee. She is an author of multiple training programs and a coach at the Deep Division freediving school in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Zharkova conducts training in warm climate locations, most notably in Dahab, Egypt and actively prepares for upcoming competitions.

Personal records[edit]


Zharkova graduated from Kharkiv State Technical University of Construction and Architecture in 2012 with a BSc in architecture.

Notable achievements[edit]

Swimming underneath the arch of Blue Hole[edit]

On 27 October 2016, Zharkova became the first Ukrainian and the second woman in the world (after Natalia Molchanova) to dive through an underwater vertical cave known as Blue Hole on a single breath. Zharkova immersed to a depth of 56 meters and then swam 30 meters under the arch.


  1. ^ "CMAS World records page".
  2. ^ "CWT immersion footage".
  3. ^ "CNF immersion footage".
  4. ^ "AIDA International national records of Ukraine page".
  5. ^ "AIDA International national records of Ukraine page".
  6. ^ "AIDA International national records of Ukraine page".
  7. ^ "CMAS World records page".
  8. ^ "CMAS World records page".

External links[edit]