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18 Mar, 2021 16:00

Russian champion freediver Molchanov collects his 20th world record after descending 80m below Siberia’s icy Lake Baikal (VIDEO)

Champion Russian diver Alexey Molchanov has broken the world record for constant weight freediving with a monofin, by plunging 80 meters below the ice of Lake Baikal, the world's largest freshwater lake, located in Siberia.

Molchanov is a 14-time freediving world champion, and his latest achievement is another in a long list of accomplishments. With his latest dive recorded by a judge from the AIDA, the sport's international governing body, he is now the holder of 20 world records.

His mother Natalia Molchanova is a legend of the sport and has been dubbed the world's greatest freediver.

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On Thursday, Molchanov dove deep below the water in a part of the lake called Snake Cove, reaching 80m below the ice in about two minutes. While this is his deepest dive in cold water, in 2018 he broke the warm-water world record by reaching a depth of 130m in the Bahamas.

"For me, freediving is not just a job or hobby, but a life's work, and I am glad to have this new opportunity to share this amazing sport with as large an audience as possible," Molchanov said after his dive. "This is not even just a sport, but a way to learn how to manage your psychological state."

The world champion also dedicated his new record to Lake Baikal, calling it "a unique natural phenomenon and a living organism that is important to preserve for future generations."

Aside from the difficulty of diving so far down, Molchanov also had to concentrate on returning to the surface, knowing that the entire lake was iced up other than the exact spot where he entered the water.

"It's dark at this depth," AIDA judge Alexey Serov explained. "Alexey says he couldn't see anything at 65 meters."

Outside of diving, Molchanov is known for his conservation work and actively promotes environmental and clean water issues. Last week, he announced that he had become an ambassador for the Lake Baikal Foundation.

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