mateusz-malina-fizjologia-limitless krakow kursy freedivingu

Advanced physiology course for freedivers

Lab rats

Last weekend I was a part of advanced physiology course for freedivers. It took 2 days. In the morning we were starting off with lab part and for the rest of the day we were going through theory.

Advanced physiology – DAY 1

On day 1 we have measured strength of our bradycardia, both dry and wet. First we had to hold our breath without any hyperventilation at about 70% of inhale.  Which is not an easy task, no warmup? no hyperventilation? not a full inhale? However, Marcin comforted us and said the time is not important as long as we will hold through few contractions.

We were connected with masimo pulse oximeter to our ear pad. This kind of masimo device is pretty expensive and is very accurate. Ear pad was previously spread with heating gel to increase blood circulation.

I performed dry static and my heartbeat dropped down to 32 bpm from 48 bpm during breathup and ~53 bpm at the start of breathold.

Next we have measured exactly the same thing but with face immersed in cold (15C) water. It was few of us so there was around 1,5h waiting time before next attempt. This way there was no warmup effect. My heart beat dropped to 29 bpm.

matt malina bradycardia cold water advanced physiology

Friday after work ? 🙂

It  was interesting to see differences between participants. Some of us had starting HR of 120 dropping to 40ish. Some of us had starting HR in the 70s dropping only to ~55. Including some high profile competitors. It just shows that freediving has many, many variables and even if one is week it doesn’t mean that we can’t progress…a lot!

Second test

advanced physiology

ECG while riding on a bike and breath-holding 🙂

In next test we were measuring our bradycardia while exercising. We had to ride on cycle ergometer while being connected to ECG until our hear rate reached 100 bpm and stabilize the effort, all done while breathing. Next in random moment we had to hold our breath just on top of passive (tidal) inhale. I’ve started with 93-98 bpm and my HR dropped down to 21 bpm in the end. Pretty amazing stuff. Imagine what happens in water or at depth? It was important to me because my heart didn’t show any arrhythmia or tachycardia even in the end.

ADVANCED physiology – DAY 2

Next day we have measured our BMR (body metabolic rate) and most of us freedivers have it below 100. The device had an O2 sensor and was measuring our oxygen usage while laying down and trying to relax.

advanced physiology

Robert “Ceti” Cetler does what he knows best – sleeping 🙂 fot. Agata Bogusz

My BMR was 90%, although my metabolism is on the high end at the moment. I exercise a lot, I eat as much as I can to build muscles 🙂 I’m curious of the results of it when I will focus on static and my diet + physical workout will be much lower.

For the rest of the day we were going through more of theory.


Marcin Baranowski is a PhD physiologist strictly focused on freediving and he is a freediver himself. I can say that I kind of cooperate with him for a few years now. I’m an athlete, I very often do what gut tells me to do, I just feel it. I can feel my body, because that’s what freediving is all about. Later on I have a talk with Marcin and he very often finds some medical research explaining to me, that what I do is good or it can be fine tuned/improved.

Marcin have read more than 400 studies available regarding freediving. Have you ever tried reading freedive studies? I did and this is not an easy task, especially if you are non native english speaking person. Marcin did amazing job, he picked the most interesting ones, explained them and summarized them to us, writing conclusions beneath each of them.

The presentation was about 350 slides long. This course was not about telling us what to do. It was about what studies have researched regarding freediving so we can understand everything that happens in our body.


Now, once I’m back home I will probably go through it couple of hundred of times and make decisions what can further improve for instance my dive responses. I enjoyed it a lot. Apart from better understanding of detailed physiological reactions in my body while freediving I can now better explain why I do certain things the way I do. I always say that it’s because what my gut tells me to do + it is working. Now I can also show a science behind it 🙂

Polish power of freediving ?!

diveye polish engineers matt malina limitless michal biskup

Diveye – small device does really big things for freediving 🙂

In the end I can proudly say that Polish freediving is heading into good direction 🙂 Polish people created Diveye – that can revolutionize our sport and bring it to mass media, Roorka – first audible computer that is already revolutionizing my diving, we have Marcin, who is extraordinary physiologist  and we have 2 current World Champions in 4 disciplines and World Record holders in 3 disciplines. Magda Solich in DNF (191 m) and me in DNF (244 m) + DYN (300 m).

roorka first audible dive computer matt malina limitless

With Roorka prototype in Cyprus 2015

Matt Malina and Magda Solich won Natalia Molchanova award at pool world championships in Turku

The best Freedivers of World Championships with Natalia Molchanova award

Lung Squeeze TIP

One tip that I didn’t know about and I found out this weekend. I’ve never had problems with lung squeeze so I was not really researching this topic. It turns out recently there were studies conducted and scientists found correlation about certain genes. It turns out people who have 2 certain types are much more prone to squeeze. It probably explains why some people are very vulnerable to it while some others don’t. It just means that certain people have to put a lot of effort into their lungs flexibility when they condition them for deep diving and it is perfectly normal. Never get discouraged by fact that your friend has easy time. I’ve seen myself people who had problems with lung squeeze at 40m and later they were trouble free divers to 100m. They just had to work harder.

Perfect Freediver

It turns out with series of lab tests on population it would be possible to pick a potentially elite freediver. If people were tested for genes regarding lung squeeze, how strong bradycardia, vasoconstriction they have, speed of their metabolism (BMR), resting heart rate, lung size and many, many more. People with all of those characteristics right could be potentially a very good freedivers from the beginning.

Never forget, that scientists say that genes are responsible for 9-11% of cancer cases and the rest is a life style. The same goes to training, having good genes for freediving is probably important but hard work and patience is even much more important.

Do You want to learn from me? Organize masterclass in Your country,make it happen and contact me for details! My calendar for 2017 is limited and bookings fill up quickly!

If You have any questions, ask them in comments and if You like what You read, please subscribe.


300 metrow na bezdechu

300 meters on one breath! Freediving World Record by Matt Malina

WORLD RECORD – 300 meters dynamic (DYN) with monofin MATt MALINA

STILL Vivid memories!

Time had passed quickly since Turku, my greatest Freediving year is coming to an end and I can’t wait for challenges awaiting for me in 2017. I still remember very well, the day of dynamic (DYN) finals, day that finished the Pool World Championships in Freediving and history was made.

Matt Malina 300m and Goran Colak before dynamic final at world championships

It’s not over, time for DYNamic!

Year earlier, after winning gold at World Championships in dynamic without fins (DNF)I couldn’t keep up my concentration. Next performances in static (STA) and dynamic (DYN) ended prematurely for me. This time I didn’t want to repeat the same mistake and it was much harder, since I’ve broken, 7 years old, unofficial World Record of Dave Mullins!

dreams come true and regeneration

My dream came true. After doping control (WADA) I went back home and concentrated on physical and mental regeneration.

mateusz malina regeneracja domowy sorbet

Delicious sorbet 🙂

I was perfectly prepared, however next day I knew that some sort of tiredness will be present in my body and there is not much I can do about it.

I regret there was not at least 1 day off between dynamics in order to fully regenerate and show my real 100%.

Fight with ego and starting lists

Especially on this championships, where each discipline had someone strictly specialized on it and they focused on one and only maximum performance. I couldn’t do anything about it, but it was ego again, that wanted to excuse possible failure.

Start list were published in the evening…I breathed a sigh of relief. MY declaration, 255 m was the highest one (together with Goran Colak’s one). It meant that if few competitors will achieve 300 m (and I’m sure few were thinking about it), I will not loose. Unlikely but possible scenario.

Polish Team Starts

In the night I was sleeping like a baby, almost 9 hours, but I felt a little bit of fatigue in my legs. We went to the pool.

Matt Malina Magda Solich Julia Kozerska Turku gold

With Magda and Julia, great female pride of Poland! fot. Gabka Grezlova

First were finals B, in which one of my training partners was competing, Michał Dąbrowski. He ended the dive prematurely but did his job in qualifications. In future he must work more with psychological part of the dive.

Next were girls, in finale A, Magdalena Solich won again (232 m) and Julia Kozerska was second (215 m), fantastic!

It was time for men’s finale A. Three Polish people were competing in it. Karol Karcz, my another training partner, I was very happy about it, I can boldly say he is kind of my “student” 🙂 Next was Krzysiek Dąbrowski and me.

Matt Malina coronation of hard work 300 meters world record in dynamic

Coronation of hard work, right here right now


I start feeling stress before start and I recalled words I heard from Guillaume Nery last year in Cyprus. He told me that before performance, when he feel stressed, he tries to enjoy that feeling, because in next few minutes, when attempt finishes, all the feelings disappear.

I did exactly this. I thought, it’s my last performance here, no matter how it ends, in few minutes it will be all over. All the emotions will go away, whole training, preparation, it will be all over. I can do my thing, see what I got inside me, here and now, in this exact moment, or give up, which wouldn’t have much sense.

Matt Malina 300 meters and Goran Colak before dynamic final at world championships

As usual…concentration!

Indeed I have appreciated this feelings, stress, emotions, I knew some chapter in my life finishes right here, right now. I swam without any expectations. I thought that once I get to 250 m, I will make a choice what’s next, based on my feelings and up to this point, I just swim.

My adventures with monofin

In dynamic with monofin (DYN) I’m not as well trained as in my crown discipline of dynamic without fins (DNF). I can’t enter such a flow state…yet.

In my whole freediving history, I have spent much less time for training monofin. Partly because it took me a long time to find monofin that suits me well. It’s stiffness is not perfect, I could use a tiny bit softer one, but this one is the best monofin I have ever swam.

Matt Malina freediving for new world record in dynamic 300 meters underwater swim photo

I was very tired after DNF day before but my motivation kept me going! fot. Daan Verhoeven

In monofin I have swim equally to DNF in 2010 and 2011, later very occasionally, only on bigger competitions and few weeks before. After depth world championships in Cyprus 2015, my friend Samo Jeranko recommended me the right fin.

Since last year, I have started to train monofin regularly, once a week and thus training less in DNF.

I felt that’s ok, since I was focused on DNF for the last few years. I must admit, training in monofin was enjoyable again, I have increased speed of my dives and I felt less lactic, it’s amazing what equipment change can do.

300 meters on a single breath of air!

I’ve started my dive. It felt peacefully but not as good as DNF one. I’ve noticed first lactic pain in my legs at 75 m, so I knew, it won’t be easy. Around 220 m, my legs suffered complete failure and I had to continue with my improvised technique. In other words I have started using my arms, few strokes with hands along the body etc.

Underwater footage of dynamic 300m swim matt malina 300 meters

With other competitors fot. Daan Verhoeven

I have reached the 250 m wall, terrible lactic pain but head was still crystal clear. I have made a decision, that 300 meters is mine and passing by 275 m ensured me in that thought.

At 300 m I’ve tried to make a turn, but since my judge was on the right side, I had to turn the other way around that I usually do and as a result, I’ve missed 10-20 cm to have full 1 meter recognized.

Matt Malina missed few inches to 301m smiling on surface 300 meters

ajjj I’ve missed few inches to 301 🙂

the last will be first…

Luckily it didn’t matter. As a last competitor I have finished the race, but there is a famous quote “The last will be first, and the first will be last.“, and so it happened.

Giorgos Panagiotakis scored the same distance 300 meters with 1 minute faster dive time, but he lost due to 1 m lower declaration. I felt relieved, since it’s his crown discipline and he came to compete in just this one dive.

Matt Malina pays tribute to other competitors

Respect for other competitors

My dive time was 4 minutes 48 seconds. It was at least 18 seconds longer than it should took me, comparing my training dives.

However it was an effect of my premature legs failure, even tho I was swimming slower than usually. It should have happened after 250 m turn but I expect my DNF (244 m) the day earlier contributed to that.

This feeling makes me very curious, what would happen if there was extra day or two off and if I would train monofin for the next few years with the same or increased frequency. I guess 330 m – 350 m is not that impossible as we all thought few years ago.

Matt Malina on surface after swimming 300m and setting new world record in dynamic with fins

I did it!

I wonder if such atmosphere and conditions as were in Turku, can repeat.

Choose and focus!

More importantly, it’s impossible to be the best in everything 🙂 At some point I have to choose and before committing to DYN, I feel that in DNF I still have a big room for improvement and I’m sure I will follow that road, because I feel that gives me the greatest satisfaction and pleasure.

It was the end of World Championships. I’ve received the price of Natalia Molchanova, for the most points scored at this World Championships and as it turns out in any of World Championships in history of Freediving.

Matt Malina and Ola kiszczak with medals

With my personal coach


3 World Records, 2 World Champion titles and the highest total score in history.

DNF = 244 meters = 122 pts.

DYN = 300 meters = 150 pts.

STA = 7:33 = 90,6 pts.

Total 362,6 pkt

Polish freediving team after ceremony award with medals

Polish team after World Championships

Special thanks to my official sponsor Grena LTD and BANDI cosmetics with Freemoon for sponsoring Polish Freediving team at World Championships in Turku.

More pictures can be seen in gallery on my website, click here to see it.

Do You want to learn from me? Organize masterclass in Your country,make it happen and contact me for details! My calendar for 2017 is limited and bookings fill up quickly!

If You have any questions, ask them in comments and if You like what You read, please subscribe.


competitions not always successful matt malina static limitless freediving

Competitions are not always successful

Two Competitions

It was a hell end of a year. First I have broke unofficial World Record in DYN Bi-fin category and secondly I was taking part in two competitions. BrnoMiniComp 2016 and Silesian Freediving Cup. Our team “Wodne Małpy Atakują” which means “Aquatic Apes Attack” have won in Rybnik. Team consisted of Magdalena Solich, Michał Mrozowski and myself. Individually I have lost two times with Czech rising star, Martin Valenta, purely because of my static mistakes and of course Martin’s massive statics 🙂

Frankly speaking, after Turku I have focused on teaching and preparing materials for my masterclasses a lot and my training went sometimes a bit sideways.

dynamic preparation matt malina concentration freediving world champion dyn

Pink lovers 🙂 fot. Patrycja Radiowska-Polak

peak performance

Which is understandable, we can’t perform 100% all year long and if we do it means that we can’t plan our training well. It also means there is room for improvement cause we would achieve more if we could plan and prepare towards peak performances.

Or at least it’s what I tell myself to sleep well at night 🙂

Nevertheless I was hoping to break a national record in static on one of this events, but I couldn’t. I need more routine, more training and more time when I’m strictly focused on one discipline in order to work it out.

While few training I had in water were very good, it’s still a lot of work in order to convert that into competition performance. I guess a lot of people have been in that point.

In Brno I have achieved 7:39 static and 192 m DNF, 12 hours after beating unofficial WR in DYN Bi-fin (229 meters). I knew this static was a result of residual tiredness and not enough practice. One week later I have done 208 m DNF, 7:33 static and 213 DYN. Again static went not as planned.

However, I’m not worried because now it’s the time, when I have finally sorted a lot of things out. I finished competitions, teaching, preparing and analyzing stuff. Now it’s time to focus on training and on things I want to do and achieve next year.

training time

This is one of my recent training. 9:10 static from which I’m very proud of. Let’s see where I will progress from that point.

Pictures from The Silesia Freediving Pool Cup:

by Rafał Meszka, click here

by Patrycja Radiowska-Polak, click here

Do You want to learn from me? Organize masterclass in Your country,make it happen and contact me for details! My calendar for 2017 is limited and bookings fill up quickly!

If You have any questions, ask them in comments and if You like what You read, please subscribe.


World Record in Dynamic with Bi-Fins 229 m by Matt Malina – Limitless


 World Record or not?

In September I’ve decided to try improve the World Record in Bi-Fins category of dynamic. This discipline is not recognized officially by AIDA, but it is by CMAS and Pure Apnea (on different conditions). The competition (Brno Minicomp 2016) was in AIDA/Pure Apnea standards, thus this record is official by Pure Apnea standards and unofficial (not recognized) by CMAS. Anyway I don’t care about this much. I did it mostly for fun and I just wanted to know If I can swim longer than anyone in history with Bi-Fins with literally 0 specific training or experience.

History behind it

In September after speaking to Roman Ondruj (organiser of miniComp Brno 2016) I’ve decided to swim longer than previous record. Roman did a research and established that current World Record is at 226,5 m, done by Andrea Vitturini (ITA) during CMAS 9th Indoor World Championships. To be honest? I’ve never really trained or swam in professional Bi-Fins nor I’m a spearo.. I have bought monofin right away and only this year I’ve bought pair of carbon-fins when I became freediving instructor. My feet were not used to it and during summer I was getting cramps in my feet all the time while I was teaching. Luckily I got used to it.

Finding the right strategy

I knew that in terms of oxygen this dive will be not a problem at all. I had in total 4 trainings and during that time I was mainly searching for the most optimal strategy during the dive.

There are 3 main techniques used:

  • hands along the body and regular kick (official technique)
  • hands above the head and regular kick (official technique)
  • hands above the head and dolphin kick (unofficial technique)

This are my 4 trainings:

  1. 175 m with hands above the body and dolphin kick (dive time 3:02) – 0,96 m/s
  2. 200 m with hands above the head and dolphin kick (dive time 3:33) – 0,94 m/s
  3. 150 m with hands above the head and regular kick (dive time 3:02) – 0,82 m/s
  4. 175 m with hands above the head and dolphin kick (dive time 3:01) – 0,97 m/s

As You can see in my case, hands above the head and dolphin kick seems to work best (I can use all the power and endurance I’ve built for monofin style). Regular kick would require a lot of work from my side and I don’t enjoy it anyway, it might be more optimal though. I’ve tried some shorter swims with  hands along the body and regular kick but it was way too slow.

However it’s important to choose the right strategy that suits Your current capabilities best and it’s applicable to all disciplines. Copy/paste of champions doesn’t always work best, however it’s good to understand what they do and apply it for Yourself.

The World Record dive

Before the swim I have checked how far I would have to swim and I saw that at around ~31 m from starting wall, there is a slope going to 5 m. I knew that after 200 m I will have to swim until I see it. Simple as that.

I’ve started the swim and from the video You can see that my technique is hilarious. Actually it looks like bag of potatoes swimming with good oxygen capacity 🙂 Well, true,  all I was focusing on is relaxation and to be very gentle with my legs. I knew they will become very lactic sooner or later. Thanks to my slow speed they got lactic much later than on training and I had to switch into my hybrid “dyn+dnf”  technique few meters before 200 m wall. From there it was formality and I was swimming towards the “slope”. My legs were more and more lactic and my technique was “amazing” 🙂

The result

I came up crystal clean at 231 meters and got 2 meters off my performance because of turning below the step. I knew it will happen but decided to not care about it during the dive. Relaxation is the key and I was focusing on that. I think with flat pool, fully optimized and pushing to my maximum, 250 + should be very well possible, but lets keep something for the future 🙂

Do You want to learn from me? Organize masterclass in Your country,make it happen and contact me for details! My calendar for 2017 is limited and bookings fill up quickly!

If You have any questions, ask them in comments and if You like what You read, please subscribe.


Stress, concentration, relaxation – my way to 244 meters on a single breath

World Record – 244 m Dynamic Without Fins (DNF) Matt Malina


The day after setting a new World Record in qualifications of DNF (dynamic no fins), time had come for qualifications in DYN (dynamic in monofin). I have played it safe and did what was necessary to get into final A, 250 m.

72 h remaining to DNF finale. In this race I was one of the favorites for gold and I felt a little bit of pressure because of it. I knew how important is to fully recover my muscles and to not lose any power. I’ve made some short physical workout, followed by a stretching session, few minutes in sauna and refreshing bath in cold pool (4C).

Day Off

Next day was a day off. Few hours I’ve spent working on my laptop and in the afternoon, we went for a ride on our bikes. That’s when I’ve started feeling pain in my right toe. It was some kind of joint pain. I was confused because I’ve never felt such pain before in this area. Next day I’ve checked in a pool and while swimming, I didn’t notice any difference, so I was calm because it didn’t matter at all.

concentration matt malina coaching ola during static apnea turku

This time coaching 🙂

Static Finale Malina way – stress management 🙂

It was a day of static A finale. My OT was in finale B. I didn’t plan to compete in static. However I’ve made a 30 m DNF during my “static” and I’ve got a red card with 3 seconds performance time. Why have I done it? I wanted to “feel” the water and the atmosphere of start.

I like this way of preparing my mind for big attempt. Day before I come to the swimming pool at the time of the next day’s official top. I try to reproduce exactly how it’s going to be the next day. If there is official countdown with official zone, even better, because it’s making the whole thing more authentic.

That’s why I wanted to make it into A finale of static, where I would do the same thing as above. Static finale after amazing fight with Goran Colak, won Aleix Segura Vendrell with 9 min. 23 sec. Only by 4 seconds, considering penalty for late start.

Amazing, Aleix is my friend and we both met in Egypt , 7 years ago in 2009. We both were starting our freediving journey there. He talked all the time about Tom Sietas and I about Dave Mullins. It’s funny that last year we have both won World Championships in Belgrade, both for the first time.

Relaxation before DNF Finale

Later during the day, we were relaxing by playing poker with Ola, Karol and Michal. It was our favorite thing to do in Turku. Strangely enough, I was not stressed before the next day. I knew that I’m ready and I will just do my thing. What result it will bring? It didn’t matter. The most important thing in any sport, is to give everything we got and afterwards don’t feel that we could have done more or that we have lost a fight with ourselves.

matt malina plays poker with friends turku freediving

Relaxation during poker game 🙂

Karol and Michal were a little bit tensed, however, we supported each other and there was superb atmosphere in our flat!

During the night I’ve slept well and the day I’ve been waiting for the whole year has come. Will I be able to defend World Champion title? Or will I go back with nothing, without World Record and title. After qualifications, when Arthur Guerin Boeri dropped out, I had a feeling that currently there isn’t anyone else, capable of beating World Record. In sport however, nothing is ever certain, but I had this inner feeling. The question was, whether I will stand up to the task and swim to the best of my ability?

The day has come

Michal and Karol, my flat mates and training partners, both done their personal bests in finale B of dynamic no fins (DNF). 175 m and 180 m respectively. Michal, however made a protocol on wrong site of a line and got a red card.

Half an hour before my official top, it was female finale A. I have crossed my fingers for Magda and Julia! I’ve made mental experiment and instead of focusing and relaxing before my dive I was standing with everyone on the end of the line and cheering for them.

I’ve felt that Magda is capable of beating World Record here, I’ve spot it some time ago. And so she did it! Magda have swum 185 m and won a gold medal while beating World Record at the same time. World Record that used to belong to Natalia’s Molchanova, queen of Freediving. It’s really sad, that they will not have a chance to swim side by side. Nevertheless, Julia surfaced at 167 m, which gave her bronze medal. It was a Polish day in Turku already!

concentration matt malina before world record dnf limitless 244


I went to change my wetsuit and concentrate before the dive. 25 minutes left, it’s more than I need to change and relax before the dive.

Stress -> Concentration -> Relaxation

When I was sitting next to my lane, I’ve started to feel stress. Stronger than during qualifications. I thought “uff, good that I’ve made a World Record in qualifications, at least I have a one good dive if it goes bad here“. I’ve quickly identified this thought. I’ve realized that my ego started to compensate the failure. I was jumping between past and future time. It’s not something I want to do, because it will go all down the road. I’ve quickly brought my thoughts to the ground and focused on here and now. 

When I’ve entered water before official top (OT), all the stress went away and I’ve started to feel just like before any other training. Absolute zero stress, slow and relaxed breathing with my eyes closed, almost like failing asleep. Stress tried to get into my mind but there was no place for it. However, good that stress was present and controlled, because it was enhancing my dive responses, thus my performance was increased.

My mind was empty, I didn’t feel my body, just noticed movements of my diaphragm. I was in some kind of trance. One can say that I’ve entered “flow” state before the dive. Last 2 minutes to official top passed very quickly and I could finally start my attempt.

matt malina flow state concentrates before world record dnf limitless 244 concentration

Flow… fot. Daan Verhoeven

I remember only glimpses of my thoughts

Honestly? I don’t remember much from the dive. Only some random images here and there. It happens to me very often only on the best dives. It’s called flow state. I can say that up to 200 m I was in some kind of a dream. I didn’t feel any contractions, discomfort or burning in my arms. It happens somewhere beyond consciousness. I notice when it happens for the first time, but somehow I can suppress that feelings, move them to the  the small part of a brain, behind the doors, then I lock the doors and throw the key away. This feelings are gone – metaphorically speaking.

When I am at 200 m I awake from such state. I try to control how I feel and how much more I can roughly swim. I’ve decided that I swim one more length and will see how I fell at 225 m. At 225 m not much have changed in term of my performance and I have decided to continue on the middle of the line. I was curious about what will happen next. Approaching 250 m I got scared a little bit, because it’s unknown area for anyone, at least officially, so I have decided to finish my dive there, at 244 m.

matt malina happiness world record dnf 244 world champion concentration

Wow! World Record and World Champion on a single dive! fot. Daan Verhoeven

Being curious is crucial factor that influences our motivation

I had a reserve, don’t know how big, but this feeling is important. It makes me curious, and being curious is a great motivational tool. I can say that now in DNF I don’t explore my capabilities anymore, but human capabilities in this discipline. It makes me even more curious. I wonder, what next World Championships will bring, but I can say now, that 250 m DNF is only matter of time, while half a year ago it was an abstraction, at least to me. Will see who gets there first.

It happened, I have made my dream came true. I’ve become World Champion while beating World Record. Now it was a Polish day in Turku. Together with Magdalena Solich, we both established new World Records and won gold medals. It never happened in history of Polish Freediving, maybe even in whole Freediving history it never happened. I can proudly say that Poland dominates DNF world at the moment!

matt malina swim dnf style technique underwater pool freediving apnea concentration

It was a good dive! fot. Daan Verhoeven

Almost 10 lengths of pool on a single breath of air

Back to 244 m DNF, I must say that this dive was almost perfect mentally. I’m happy that this kind of dives happen more often. However it’s not always the case, sometimes dive feels very bad and each 25 m last forever. Luckily it doesn’t happen on competitions anymore.

But who knows, maybe I won’t have such a good dive ever again and I won’t be able to progress? On the other hand I know that this type of thoughts are compensatory mechanisms to protect our ego from failure and let’s hold to that 🙂

At some point I will describe the last day of World Championships, epic DYN finale (dynamic in monofin).

Special thanks to my official sponsor Grena LTD and BANDI cosmeticsFreemoon for sponsoring Polish Freediving Team at World Championships in Turku.

More photos available to see in my gallery, click here to check it.

If You have any questions, ask them in comments and if You like what You read, please subscribe.


huge motivation tremendous amount work world record qualifications world championships

Huge motivation and tremendous amount of work. World Record in qualifications of World Championships!

world record – 232m dynamic without fins (DNF) Matt Malina

Behind the scenes

Hard workouts, tremendous amount of training done within last year. All of it plus huge motivation and big smile on my face was taken to Turku. Oh and 100 kg of additional luggage 🙂

big luggage for competition

100 kg of luggage


Day of dynamic without fins (DNF) qualifications has come. Luckily it was not my first start in Turku. Day before not everything went as planned and I have missed static (STA) finale by 6 seconds. I didn’t plan to compete in finale A of static, even if I would qualify. It was only one day before DNF finale and I didn’t want to make myself tired. However I would prefer to choose it myself, not being forced to it. It was a valuable lesson for my ego, that is what everybody try to protect, consciously or sub-consciously 🙂

matt malina does static apnea in world championships qualifications turku

7:33 and finale B fot. Daan Verhoeven

My work with sport psychologist and healthy motivation

For the past 2 years I co-operate with sport psychologist. Practically speaking, since then I have started to get my biggest successes (e.g breaking my first World Record). Main aspects of healthy motivation are being able to forget about expectations and rating Yourself, because it’s connected with our ego. It’s very important to focus on being present “Here and Now“. Focus on how You would like to feel here and now and just “do Your thing“. It’s healthy attitude and motivation, at least in my case. In DNF qualifications I was full of positive emotions and I was just doing my thing, something that I was preparing for the whole last year.

Motivation and visualisation before world record dnf matt malina 232

Visualisation is an important training method

Additional motivation in dynamic without fins (DNF)

Month earlier during CMAS World Championships in Freediving, Arthur Guerin Boeri have swum 221 m DNF. It’s less than my World Record of 226 m. However it was done in an Olympic sized pool (50 m long) which makes it very respectable. Additionally two days later he was the first man in history to swim 300 m in monofin in DYNamic discipline. In the past I would probably respond to it by feeling fear, maybe it would even brake me as in DNF finale in Belgrade 2013.

Matt Malina dnf 244m underwater swimming technique

I have felt power during the swim! fot. Daan Verhoeven

Luckily I’m not the same Matt as I used to be in the past. Nowadays, successes of others motivate me . They even show me that something is possible and if someone did it, why should I not do it myself? Additionally this circumstances made me realize how much I care about my goals or in other words, good dives in Turku. It’s another aspect of healthy motivation, to establish emotional bond with Your goal. Because of whole this situation I was anticipating for confrontation with other competitors, especially with Arthur in DNF. Maybe it didn’t have a decisive role, but it certainly helped me.

Two different dives

In qualifications I allowed two options. If dive will not go well, I will do 200 m, to be sure finale A is secured without any calculations. In second option I didn’t set any limit to myself. In freediving there is a lot of little variables that decide about end result. If it happens that all of them work to my favor, it would be a big waste to end perfect dive prematurely. Especially since that kind of dives doesn’t happen often and it may surely not happen in finale with all that extra stress. Anyway, for me the most important fact is to challenge my own limits. If that would happen in qualifications and in finals I would have a bad day, I would still be happy about this one dive. Important is inner journey and feelings.

Matt Malina surface set new world record dnf 232

Before surfacing, I knew I have done what I was prepared for! fot. Daan Verhoeven

Course of qualifications

Without any expectations, with one thought in my mind – I do my thing – I’ve started my DNF dive. Quickly I have realized that it’s a good day, maybe even perfect one. Each finished length of the pool confirmed me in that feeling. I was able to swim peacefully and in a relaxed shape.

At 200 m mark I was totally lucid in my head and I knew that I can go to magic 232 m, national record of New Zealand set by legendary Dave Mullins. National record (due to official requirements) set 7 years ago, that was greater than any other world record in this discipline. When I was at 225 m wall, I have made a turn, one arm stroke, removed my neck-weight and came up. I have removed my neck-weight because I wanted to be sure I will not immerse my airways, thus disqualify myself and I had enough air reserve to do it. After surfacing I have completed surface protocol very fast (4 seconds) and white card from judge was just a formality.

Chat with Polish team after Matt Malina beats dnf world record 232

Matt why You have beaten WR in qualification heats? fot. Aleksandr Pangev

Memories of the past and my motivation for the future

I was overwhelmingly happy! I couldn’t believe my dream came true. I remember back in the days in 2009, when Dave set that record. I was in Egypt back then and I was just on the beginning of my freediving journey. My current personal best in discipline was 156 m. 232 m felt far, far away, it was abstraction to me. I never thought I would come even close to that. My lifetime goal was 200 m in DNF for me. However I have reached that mark in 2012 and later I start thinking about World Record. After I’ve set World Record in 2013 I’ve start thinking very shyly about 250 m. Now I know it will happen sooner or later and I’ve start to think very, very, very shyly about 260+, or maybe even 275 m 🙂

You can see dear subscriber how important is healthy motivation. If back in 2009 I would think that my goal is to reach 232 m I would probably discourage myself and would have never done it. This goal was too far and probably any other result wouldn’t make me happy, since my goal wasn’t reached. Instead of this I was creating a personal goal that I could reach within 1, maximum 2 years. Freediving is about listening to our own body and it’s important to race only with ourselves.

Matt Malina set new world record in dnf 232m freediving

Why not ? 🙂 fot. Aleksandr Pangev

Limits are only in our heads

This way my motivation was driving me. I was passing my limits very often and I have come to ultimate conclusion that limits are in our heads. Limit is where I set it to be in my head. It’s important to have common sense and plan for realization of such goals. From observation of myself and others in any sport I think that as long as someone is focused, have motivation and plan for training, he can progress. It is not over until You say it’s over.

Short but precise sentence. Especially in Freediving, where Natalia Molchanova had proved that age is just a number. Good example from other sports is Michael Phelps and his successful come back in recent Olympic games. If he wanted I’m sure he would be able to score a medal or two in Tokyo Olympics but now when he has a kid and some chapter in his life is over, he is probably retired for good.

did I have moments of doubt?

Back to the Freediving World Championships topic, after successful DNF attempt, I’ve started to have moments of doubt. I’ve realized that probably no one have ever set a World Record in qualifications heat. No one had done it because why make myself tired in heats? I’ve heard that I would be better off by saving my strength for finals and I should have planned it better. However I had a different opinion about it. For me heats were primarily a mental warmup and as it turned out later, physical too 🙂

Opening ceremony of Freediving World Championships

Opening ceremony, how it’s going to be ? 🙂

Once I’ve read an article about Olympic champions. I’ve tried to find it but I can’t. Anyway, first there were stereotypical issues analyzed and proved to be wrong e.g  champion should train as number 2 (harder, longer etc.). Next it was described that Olympic champions shouldn’t listen to established rules because their work made them what they are, Olympic champions and they should listen to their gut when it comes to tactic or training routine. They should train like champions, not stereotypically, because that’s how they get that far. I must agree with that!

Arnold SCHWARZENEGGER and his words

I have never concealed that motivational speeches of Arnolda Schwarzenegger helped me a lot at some point of my career. One of his thought I come back to often is:

I love it when someone says that no one has ever done this before, because then when I do it that means that I’m the first one that has done it

Was this thinking good in finale A of World Championships? Read in my next post, meanwhile I encourage You to ask questions and comment below!

More photos available in my gallery, click here!

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