on February 28 | in English | by | with Comments Off on APNEA ICE DIVING IN WEISSENSEE – AUSTRIA SETS NEW RECORDS

The Weissensee Nature Park in Carinthia (A) attracts many visitors every year with its scenic views. Winter sports enthusiasts in particular get their fun in the snow-covered mountain scenery and the reliably freezing lake. Whether on skis or ice skates – the area has something for everyone.

But the two record hunters who came to Lake Weissensee from February 20-22, 2024, wanted to attempt their world record »under the ice« – apnea diving in ice-cold water. RID record judge Olaf Kuchenbecker also traveled to the event to check the attempts and certify the new records if they were successful. In this case, Kuchenbecker wanted to award the record holders with RID record certificates directly on site.

Michael C. Donaldson and Markus A. Rogan attempted five world record apnea dives under ice during their week. It’s all about body control, fitness and focus. After all, diving under a closed sheet of ice also puts the aspirants under enormous psychological pressure. This is why high safety standards apply to such record attempts.

Safety standards in apnea diving under ice

For example, the accompaniment of safety divers is obligatory, as is a permanently installed underwater guide line and emergency holes in the ice at regular intervals. As these holes can make the ice less stable in the long term, the holes for the individual record attempts and distances were only cut into the ice with chainsaws each morning directly before the actual attempt. In this context, record judge Kuchenbecker always measured the tracks again after cutting.

The external conditions were therefore identical for both divers, but they broke the records with different motivations. The 85-year-old media lawyer Michael Donaldson had already accompanied his coach on the 2023 apnea world record, but now the US American was competing himself. The senior record hunter wants to serve as a role model for other people and prove that top sporting performances are not unusual, even at his age. An active sporting life is possible at any time, he said.

Apnea ice diving at over 80 years old

The RID created new record categories for Donaldson in the over 80 age group. The minimum requirements to be met were based on the men’s world records, but were adapted to the age-related lower performance. Michael Donaldson was successful four times in his age category and was awarded RID certificates by record judge Kuchenbecker:

  • »longest swim under ice – breath held (no fins, with wetsuit, male senior)«,
    35 m, February 20, 2024, Weissensee (A)
  • »longest swim under ice – breath held (no fins, no wetsuit, male senior)«,
    20 m, February 21, 2024, Weissensee (A)
  • »longest swim under ice – breath held (with fins, no wetsuit, male senior)«,
    25 m, February 22, 2024, Weissensee (A)
  • »longest swim under ice – breath held (with fins, with wetsuit, male senior)«,
    40 m, February 22, 2024, Weissensee (A)

Recently improved record without fins and without suit beaten again

Record aspirant Markus Rogan looks back on a successful career as a competitive swimmer and won Olympic silver for Austria in 2004. The Austrian, who emigrated to the USA in 1996, found a new challenge in ice diving and can therefore add more titles to his world record list after his career as a swimmer. He has a close friendship with Michael Donaldson and also trains the senior record holder. And despite this, he set his own world record attempt.

Namely for the »longest swim under ice – breath held (no fins, no wetsuit, male)«. The record was set shortly before this event by Swiss diver Peter Colat at 106.25 meters. On 21 February 2024, Markus Rogan again improved the world record in this category to 111.2 meters. Overjoyed, he received his world record certificate from Olaf Kuchenbecker at the Weißensee municipal office.

The ambition to set new records and the strong motivation to surpass one’s own abilities at all times are characteristics that unite all world record holders. The same goes for the pride and joy of their recognized and officially certified world records.

Photos under water: Philipp Leister

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