One year on... A Tribute to the Queen of Freediving
“The news hit the freediving world like a bomb. Natalia Molchanova missing, presumed dead, freediving off Formentera, near Ibiza. This kind of thing just isn’t meant to happen.”
This was the opening to the article I wrote for The Guardian newspaper last summer on hearing that Natalia had disappeared while teaching students.
One year on the shock doesn’t seem to have subsided, nor the surreal nature of her disappearance. It is still something that I personally am struggling to integrate into my understanding of this beautiful sport.
I had met with her and Alexey just over three months earlier on 13th May, the day of her final World Record – 71m in Constant Weight No Fins - as part of a new video project I was working on called Freediving Legends. The aim of these videos was to give our global community a little bit more of the personal, behind the scenes insight into some of the greatest freedivers of our time.
My aim was to have informal chats, rather than interview, some of our top freedivers and rising stars. I wanted to give you the sense of peeking in on a personal moment between myself and some of these amazing athletes and ocean ambassadors. I hope that these videos are a bit more relaxed and candid than other media interviews may be, and give you a sneak peek into the tips and techniques of the great and good, as well as some of their other passions in and out of the ocean.
Alexey continues to carry the Molchanov flag. Having pulled off some stunning performances at the Worlds last year just weeks after Natalia's disappearance, he is doing further work to develop the Molchanovs equipment brand, as well as focusing on his training in order to carry on his family's quest for depth and inner exploration.
Out of respect for Natalia, we held back from releasing these videos any sooner, but feel that today is a beautiful opportunity to once more remember our Queen, and get a sense of the gentle and sensitive woman behind the 'machine'.
We miss you Natalia, dive on forever in the infinite blue...