New World Record Set for Free Diving Under Ice by Son of Diving Legend Who Mysteriously Vanished

Russian free diving champion Alexey Molchanov has set a new world record for free diving under ice, the International Association for the Development of Apnea (AIDA) announced on Tuesday. He is the son of legendary free diver Natalia Molchanova, who went missing in 2015 while diving in Spain.

The latest feat by Molchanov, a 14-time world champion who holds 18 world records, is dedicated to One Breath. The film, out next month, looks at the career of his mother.

The new record, set in Russia's Shchyolkovo district (around 12 miles outside Moscow), was officially registered by an arbiter from AIDA.

"Alexey Molchanov, a 14-time World Champion, holder of 18 World Records...swam 180 meters [590.5 feet] under the ice of Ameriyev dolomite quarry using a monofin," the film's press office told TASS.

Molchanov's new record usurped the previous one, set in 2017 by Frenchman Arthur Guérin-Boëri, who went free diving around 574.1 feet below ice in Finland.

Most free divers train using a system developed by Molchanova. She is the inspiration behind Molchanovs, a free diving school co-founded by her son, based on her philosophies and approach to free diving.

"I know how few athletes stay in this discipline, that's why it was particularly interesting for me to try myself here, on this new territory, find unusual approaches to training, augment the international Molchanova training system with interesting innovative methods," Molchanov said.

"It's [free diving] not just a job or a hobby for me, but a life's work, a tribute to the boundless love and respect for my mother, a memory of her invaluable contribution to our common cause."

Molchanov is also credited as a consultant on One Breath, which is reportedly the first feature film shot at a depth of nearly 328 feet in open waters.

The film, which premieres on March 5, traces the life of Molchanova, whose 42 world records include becoming the first female free diver to surpass nearly 328 feet while diving with constant weight after diving to around 331 feet in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, in 2009. She was also the first woman to dive through Egypt's Blue Hole arch in the Red Sea in one breath.

Molchanova was reported missing back in 2015 on August 2 after giving a diving lesson in Ibiza. She was said to have gone down to a depth of around 131 feet and never came back up. She was believed to have been caught by a current and presumed dead following unsuccessful search and rescue efforts, which were abandoned on August 5.

Last November, a free diver in Australia was also presumed to be dead after he went missing on a spearfishing trip with friends around 14 nautical miles offshore in waters near Bundaberg.

Alexey Molchanov 2019 AIDA Depth World Freediving Championship
Alexey Molchanov pictured before his attempt to 130 meter dive in the Constant Weight with Fins (CWT) men category during the 2019 AIDA Depth World Freediving Championship on September 13, 2019. Getty Images