- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Czech freediver David Vencl set his second Guinness world record Tuesday after plunging 170.9 feet through a hole in the ice into Lake Sils in Switzerland.

The exploit ended with him coughing up blood and spending the night in a hospital, but he was pronounced OK.

Freediving involves diving while holding one’s breath, as opposed to using scuba gear with oxygen.

Shortly after midday, Mr. Vencl entered a hole that was bored into the surface ice of the lake. The temperature of the water was slightly above freezing, between 33 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit, and with an ambient air temperature of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The water was dark, except for a GoPro camera attached to a rope suspended in the ice for a documentary being made about him. After reaching the end of the rope at 170.9 feet, he tore a sticker off the end of the rope and resurfaced. The whole dive took 114 seconds, longer than he had anticipated.

After surfacing, Mr. Vencl coughed up some blood, and he was held at a hospital overnight.

“I started spitting and coughing up blood. This happens to freedivers sometimes, it’s nothing terrible, I probably damaged my trachea a little, according to the doctors, there was also a slight swelling of the lungs, which is also nothing terrible,” Mr. Vencl explained in a post on his website, as translated by a computer.

While Mr. Vencl is experienced with cold water and holding his breath, the added factor of water pressure, particularly cold water pressure, made the feat especially difficult.

Mr. Vencl’s first Guinness world record was clinched on Feb. 23, 2021, when he swam the 265-foot length of a frozen-over and waterlogged former quarry in Lahost, Czech Republic, in just one breath.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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