Amongst the free diving fraternity, a woman by the name of Elena Molchanova is a name that will live long in the memory. This Russian freediver made her mark with an audacious feat of freediving: she swam the equivalent of 237 meters in the space of one breath. She also set two Russian national records for depth and distance, and held the record for the largest freedive on record. She is regarded as the greatest freediver of all time, and remains a true-blue fanatic to this day.
Not long after she took to the waters, Molchanova went missing off the coast of Formentera, Spain. While the Coast Guard was busy sending out robot submersibles to scout the wreckage, she was gone. It took four days and the efforts of a team of divers to bring her home, and even after that, she remained elusive.
The truth is, Molchanova was born to free dive. She was competitive in her youth, and swam with a monofin for years before she was forced into retirement at age 20 to raise her two young children. She was also a physiologist by trade. She was also the first woman to achieve the audacious feat of freediving the length of a rope line. In her prime, she was able to swim 182 meters without a fin, and was one of the few women to hold a coveted spot in the acrobatic display of the Moscow Free Diving Federation.