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Stig Severinsen

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Stig Severinsen
Severinsen in 2009.
Born (1973-03-08) 8 March 1973 (age 51)
Aalborg, Denmark

Stig Åvall Severinsen (born 8 March 1973) is a Danish freediver. He is a four-time world freediving champion and holder of multiple Guinness World Records. He also wrote Træk Vejret – mere energi, mindre stress (2009), published in English in 2010 as Breatheology – The Art of Conscious Breathing.


Severinsen has a degree in biology and a PhD in medicine.[1][2] He began experimenting with holding his breath as a child at the bottom of his parents' pool.[1] He started swimming at the age of 6 and was awarded National Champion four years in a row at 9, 10, 11 and 12.[citation needed] In 1993–2003 he played Underwater Rugby, and was a member of the Danish national team.[citation needed] During university studies in Barcelona, Spain in 1998–99, he played underwater hockey on the Spanish national team.[citation needed] A fascination with long breath holds under water drew him to the world of free diving. In 2010 he founded Breatheology, an online platform teaching optimal health and performance via breathing, breath holding and mental training techniques.


Combining yoga and his knowledge of physiology in freediving, Severinsen became a record holder of four AIDA freediving world records. He achieved two Guinness World Records in 2010: in March that year he swam 236 feet (72 meters) under ice wearing only swimming trunks and goggles, exceeding Wim Hof's record of March 2000 by 47.6 feet (14.5 meters); and in April, after inhaling pure oxygen, he held his breath for 20 minutes and 10 seconds in a tank full of sharks at the Kattegat Centre in Grenaa.[3] In May 2012 he was awarded the record of "Longest time breath held voluntarily (male)" by Guinness World Records for holding his breath for 22 minutes;[4] this record was achieved in a tank at the London School of Diving with the water cooled to 30 °F (−1 °C).[5] He held this record until 28 February 2016, when it was broken by Aleix Segura. In April 2013 in Qorlortoq Lake in east Greenland, he set two new world records for "longest swim under ice - breath held": 500 feet (150 meters) while wearing a wetsuit and monofin, taking 2 minutes, 11 seconds,[6][7][8] and the following day, 250 feet (76 meters) wearing only swimming trunks.[9][10] He announced that these would be his last record attempts and he would now concentrate on teaching.[2]

In 2020, Severinsen came back from retirement to break another record. He swam 202 meters on a single breath at La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico on 26 November 2020.[11]

Severinsen was chosen "The Ultimate Superhuman" on the Discovery Channel programme Superhuman Showdown, and a documentary about him, Stig Severinsen: The Man Who Doesn't Breathe, was produced for broadcast on Discovery and on Quest in the UK in October 2013.[8][9][10][12]

In Breatheology Severinsen proposes that through working with the breath, a link can be created between body and mind that enables a person to control stress, increase energy, perform better physically and mentally, alleviate pain and improve health.

AIDA Freediving World Records[edit]

Date Record Discipline Location
19 July 2003 166 m Dynamic Apnea without fins (DNF) Aarhus, Denmark[13]
28 Sept 2003 61 m Constant Weight without fins (CNF) Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela
16 June 2007 225 m Dynamic Apnea (DYF) Aarhus, Denmark
7 July 2007 186 m Dynamic Apnea without fins (DNF) Maribor, Slovenia

Personal bests[edit]

Discipline Result Accreditation
Time STA 8:40min AIDA
STA O2 22:00min Guinness
Distance DNF 186m AIDA
DYN under ice 152.4m Guinness
Depth CNF 61m AIDA

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Jægesen Wilkens, Kristine (11 November 2013). "Danmarks ekstreme fridykker vælger havet frem for kvinderne". Politiken (in Danish).
  2. ^ a b "Dansk ekstremdykker slog verdensrekord under is". Jyllands-Posten (in Danish). Discovery Channel. 6 September 2013.
  3. ^ Weisz, Arnold (1 April 2010). "Stig Åvall Severinsen holds breath for 20-minute 10 seconds, sets record". X-Ray Mag. Archived from the original on 2 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Longest time breath held voluntarily (male)". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  5. ^ Grenoble, Ryan (16 November 2012). "Breath-Holding World Record: Stig Severinsen Stays Under Water For 22 Minutes". Huffington Post.
  6. ^ Voergaard, Peter (6 September 2013) [5 September 2013]. "Dansker har sat ny rekord i dykning". BT (in Danish).
  7. ^ Saxtorph Poulsen, Joachim; Knakkergaard, Klaus (6 September 2013). "Vild rekord: Dansker svømmer under Grønlands is" (in Danish). TV 2.
  8. ^ a b Christoffersen, Elo (20 September 2013). "Ny verdensrekord: 500 fod under Grønlands is" (in Danish). Dagens.dk.
  9. ^ a b Lynch, Kevin (16 October 2013). "Stig Severinsen sets world record double with pair of daring freedives beneath the ice". Guinness World Records.
  10. ^ a b Trolle, Mads (16 October 2013). "Dansk vanvidsdykker svømmer 76 meter under isen - uden våddragt: Discovery viser på søndag Stig Åvall Severinsens imponerende rekord". Politiken (in Danish).
  11. ^ "Danish freediving champion claims third Guinness World Records title". Guinness World Records. 7 January 2020. Retrieved 11 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Stig Severinsen: The Man Who Doesn't Breathe" (in Danish). Discovery Channel (Denmark). Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  13. ^ McKie, N (2004). "Freediving in cyberspace". Journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society. 34: 101–03. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)

External links[edit]