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Stig Åvall Severinsen (born 1973, Aalborg, Denmark) is a four-time World Champion freediver and holder of multiple Guinness World Records and the author of Træk Vejret – mere energi, mindre stress (2009), published in English in 2010 as Breatheology – The Art of Conscious Breathing.


Severinsen is a cand.scient. in biology and has a Ph.D. in medicine.[1][2] He began experimenting with holding his breath as a child at the bottom of his parents' pool.[1] He started swimming at the age of 6 and was awarded National Champion four years in a row at 9, 10, 11 and 12.[citation needed] In 1993–2003 he played underwater rugby, and was a member of the Danish national team.[citation needed] During university studies in Barcelona, Spain in 1998–99, he played underwater hockey on the Spanish national team.[citation needed] A fascination with long breath holds under water drew him to the world of freediving.


Combining yoga and his knowledge of physiology in freediving, Severinsen became a record holder of four AIDA freediving world records. He achieved two Guinness World Records in 2010: in March that year he swam 236 feet (72 meters) under ice wearing only swimming trunks and goggles, exceeding Wim Hof's record of March 2000 by 47.6 feet (14.5 meters); and in April, after inhaling pure oxygen, he held his breath for 20 minutes and 10 seconds in a tank full of sharks at the Kattegat Centre in Grenaa.[3] In May 2012 he was awarded the record of "Longest time breath held voluntarily (male)" by Guinness World Records for holding his breath for 22 minutes;[4] this record was achieved in a tank at the London School of Diving with the water cooled to 30 degrees.[5] In April 2013 in Qorlortoq Lake in east Greenland, he set two new world records for "longest swim underwater - breath held": 500 feet (152.4 meters) while wearing a wetsuit and monofin, taking 2 minutes, 11 seconds,[6][7][8] and the following day, 250 feet (76.2 meters) wearing only swimming trunks.[9][10] He announced that these would be his last record attempts and he would now concentrate on teaching.[2]

Severinsen was chosen "The Ultimate Superhuman" on the Discovery Channel programme Superhuman Showdown, and a documentary about him, Stig Severinsen: The Man Who Doesn’t Breathe, was produced for broadcast on Discovery and on Quest in the UK in October 2013.[8][9][10][11]

In Breatheology Severinsen proposes that through working with the breath, a link can be created between body and mind that enables a person to control stress, increase energy, perform better physically and mentally, alleviate pain and improve health.

Freediving World Records[edit]

19 July 2003166 mDynamic Apnea without fins (DNF)Aarhus, Denmark[12]
28 Sept 200361 mConstant Weight without fins (CNF)Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela
16 June 2007225 mDynamic Apnea (DYF)Aarhus, Denmark
7 July 2007186 mDynamic Apnea without fins (DNF)Maribor, Slovenia

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Jægesen Wilkens, Kristine (11 November 2013). "Danmarks ekstreme fridykker vælger havet frem for kvinderne". Politiken (in Danish). 
  2. ^ a b "Dansk ekstremdykker slog verdensrekord under is". Jyllands-Posten (in Danish). Discovery Channel. 6 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Weisz, Arnold (1 April 2010). "Stig Åvall Severinsen holds breath for 20 minute 10 seconds, sets record". X-Ray Mag. 
  4. ^ "Longest time breath held voluntarily (male)". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Grenoble, Ryan (16 November 2012). "Breath-Holding World Record: Stig Severinsen Stays Under Water For 22 Minutes". Huffington Post. 
  6. ^ Voergaard, Peter (5 September 2013, updated 6 September 2013). "Dansker har sat ny rekord i dykning". BT (in Danish). 
  7. ^ Saxtorph Poulsen, Joachim; Knakkergaard, Klaus (6 September 2013). "Vild rekord: Dansker svømmer under Grønlands is" (in Danish). TV 2. 
  8. ^ a b Christoffersen, Elo (20 September 2013). "Ny verdensrekord: 500 fod under Grønlands is" (in Danish). 
  9. ^ a b Lynch, Kevin (16 October 2013). "Stig Severinsen sets world record double with pair of daring freedives beneath the ice". Guinness World Records. 
  10. ^ a b Trolle, Mads (16 October 2013). "Dansk vanvidsdykker svømmer 76 meter under isen - uden våddragt: Discovery viser på søndag Stig Åvall Severinsens imponerende rekord". Politiken (in Danish). 
  11. ^ "Stig Severinsen: The Man Who Doesn't Breathe" (in Danish). Discovery Channel (Denmark). Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  12. ^ McKie, N (2004). "Freediving in cyberspace". Journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society 34: 101–03. Retrieved 5 October 2013. 

External links[edit]


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