Frederic Swierczynski is a well-known figure in the world of exploration and advanced cave diving. For many years, the Frenchman has been conducting various projects aimed at exploring and discovering the secrets of flooded caves. During his dives, as in this case, sometimes he happens to cross limits that no one before him has ever reached.
With the start of November, Frederic Swierczynski went deep into the La Font Estramar cave in Salses, located on the southern coast of France. In a dive that lasted nearly 7 hours, Swierczynski crossed a line beyond which absolutely no cave diver had gone before him. In this exceptional achievement, the Frenchman was supported by an experienced team of 10 people, without whom a project of this scale would not have been possible.
Initially, this dive was planned in the Vaucluse, but conditions were not good. So we decided to try La Font Estramar. This is a cave that I have been diving in for the past 20 years and that I know very well. However, I don’t dive for records, but for pleasure. When I dived into the cave on Friday, I did not intend to pass 300 meters.
I knew the site up to 260 meters. I wanted to continue in the -270 meter zone and familiarize myself with my brand new equipment configuration. The idea was to test it in real conditions. It all depends on how you feel. It was the right moment, physically I felt very good.” explained Frederic Swierczynski.
Not only did he reach deeper than anyone else in overhead dives, but in addition he made it past a depth of 300 meters. It took only 30 minutes to reach the record depth, but it has taken as long as six and a half hours to safely return to the surface.
Speaking to the French press, the experienced diver also described the circumstances behind the reaching of the record depth.
First of all, there was no guideline from 260 metres, so I had to start one, and then I slid down to the bottom, feeling for it. This unknown area was open to me and I felt comfortable there, in good conditions. I slid down slowly, then at one point I realised that I still had more than 400 minutes of decompression time left. So I decided to turn back and make a U-turn, with a first stop at -120 metres.
This is where the support divers arrive. I sat down and looked at my measuring instruments. Then, to my surprise, I realised that I’d descended to -308 metres. But I hadn’t suffered, it was really the pressure of the return time that forced me to go back.” said Frederic Swierczynski.
With his dive, Frederic Swierczynski surpassed the achievement of Xavier Meniscus at La Font Estramar cave, who dived to a depth of 286.2 meters in 2019. Both Swierczynski and Meniscus dived using closed circuit. In a completely different era of advancement in terms of diving equipment and technology in general, on the other hand, Nuno Gomes made his deepest cave dive.
In 1996. the legendary South African diver made an open-circuit dive reaching a depth of 282.6 meters in the famous Boesmansgat cave, which was considered the deepest cave in the world until just a few years ago. With this dive, Nuno Gomes broke the record set in 1994 by Jim Bowden, who reached a depth of 281.9 meters (also open circuit) in Zacatón, Mexico.
The list of the five deepest cave dives is rounded out by Polish diver and explorer Krzysztof Starnawski, who in 2016 reached a depth of 278 meters when he was exploring the Viroit cave in Albania.
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