In­ter­view by Tamara Miletic


Every nor­mal human being con­sid­ers breath­ing as the most au­to­mated process in the world. We don’t even think about breath­ing dur­ing our days. It hap­pens spon­ta­neously. But breath­ing is an ac­tion which can be con­trolled and im­proved vol­un­tar­ily, and con­trol of your breath means con­trol of your mind, body and feel­ings as well. This is ac­tu­ally what free-divers do while stay­ing under the water with one sin­gle breath to push their lim­its of free­dom. The ori­gins of this dis­ci­pline date back to the an­cient Greece, al­though the first record of free-div­ing was recorded at the be­gin­ning of the 20th Cen­tury and we had to wait until 2002 to have an of­fi­cial de­f­i­n­i­tion of the eight dis­ci­plines in free-div­ing with men and women com­pet­ing in them. Those dis­ci­plines are cer­ti­fied by AIDA (In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for De­vel­op­ment of Apnea), the World­wide Fed­er­a­tion for breath-hold div­ing, that to­gether with the CMAS (World Un­der­wa­ter Fed­er­a­tion) are the two world as­so­ci­a­tions in charge for the com­pe­ti­tions in this field.

Mladi­info crew had the plea­sure to spoke with Goran Čolak, the Croa­t­ian ath­lete who broke more than 30 do­mes­tic CMAS and AIDA records and has won the Croa­t­ian free-div­ing cham­pi­onship in the last 7 years in a row. He is cur­rently the most suc­cess­ful male ath­lete from AIDA World Cham­pi­onships with 6 Gold medals and one Sil­ver medal. Čolak shared with us his mo­ti­va­tion in push­ing his lim­its until break­ing a new record and his pas­sion for this dis­ci­pline that opens a world of sen­sa­tions and feel­ings in­side his mind and body that can­not be ex­pe­ri­enced else­where.

1. Where do your pas­sions for free-div­ing come from?

Most of free-divers of my gen­er­a­tion have a sim­i­lar story. In 1988 there was this movie The Big Blue made by a French di­rec­tor Luc Besson and it was fol­lowed by in­creased in­ter­est in pur­su­ing free-div­ing. It hap­pen to me as well. From that point on, I started to ex­per­i­ment on my own with free-div­ing tech­niques and after a while I de­cided to be­come a mem­ber of the div­ing club “Geron­imo” of Za­greb, Croa­tia, where I’m still prac­tic­ing al­most every day and for which I’m com­pet­ing.

2. How did peo­ple in Croa­tia react to your new world record? Did your life changed?

Cer­tainly not. Un­for­tu­nately, in our coun­try the media cov­er­age about this dis­ci­pline is re­ally poor. Let’s say that gen­er­ally na­tional and re­gional media are fol­low­ing and broad­cast­ing news about this sport. How­ever, free-div­ing is quite a new dis­ci­pline for them. This means that there is no se­lec­tion be­tween the in­for­ma­tion re­ported. In prac­tice, the num­ber of jour­nal­ists that you know in per­son will de­ter­mi­nate the num­ber of in­for­ma­tion and pic­tures pub­lished about you. The lat­est World div­ing record that I broke in Bel­grade, Ser­bia on the 21st of No­vem­ber 2013 is one of the most im­por­tant suc­cesses for this dis­ci­pline in Croa­tia. It’s the third time that a Croa­t­ian ath­lete is break­ing the world record in free-div­ing rec­og­nized by AIDA. That means that this record is rec­og­nized by all the free div­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion ac­tive all around the globe, not only CMAS that is usu­ally the most pop­u­lar and fol­lowed in Croa­tia.

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