South African freediving champion reaches new depths

Posted by Anita Froneman on 12 July 2021

South African freediving record holder Natalie Rudman has already added a list of accolades to her repertoire this year, and now has a whopping 11 world records to her name.

In May this year, she broke these three records:

– Constant weight with Monofin from 67 to 68 meters

– Constant weight with Bi-fins from 60 to 63 meters

– Free Immersion from 62 to 65 meters

Her favourite dive site is in Sodwana Bay, Rudman says, because of the clear water, beautiful coral and abundance of life. Rudman went to school in Durban before working in London and then Australia, where her journey to becoming a champion freediver began with scuba diving.

Her favorite thing about diving? ‘The peace and calm it gives me and the clarity in my mind after diving is unmatchable,’ she says. 

‘Sharks are the most spectacular animals to see underwater, they are so graceful and it’s an honor to be in the same environment as such a majestic and ancient being,’ she adds. 

Rudman makes it seem effortless, but freediving can sound intimidating to some. But, she says nerves are normal. ‘We grow and learn when we are uncomfortable, when situations are new we can expect a bit of discomfort but to acknowledge that and to accept that means that we persevere and grow.  

‘Eventually the discomfort becomes comfortable and this can be said for any situation in life,’ she continues. ‘Trust your body and go for it!’

Rudman will be offering a Molchanovs Freediving course (named after Alexey Molchanov, a Russian champion freediver) in Sodwana Bay in January 2022. 

Prospective divers can come as complete beginners or as experienced divers looking to learn more. ‘I will help you to overcome any self-limiting beliefs you may have about diving,’ Rudman assures. There will be pool sessions in Durban, and ocean sessions in Sodwana Bay.

Will she ever stop diving? Don’t hold your breath.

To learn more about the upcoming course, click here.

Picture: Natalie Rudman


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