Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Irish Freediver Dave McGowan Makes Records in Egypt

6th October 2020
Irish Freediver Dave McGowan. McGowan took up freediving as a means to train for his other passion of spearfishing in 2014, he began taking his training seriously in 2015 and in 2016 he broke the previous Irish static breath-hold record of 5 minutes and 35 seconds with a breath-hold of almost 6 minutes. Four years later, that 5:59 Irish record still stands. Irish Freediver Dave McGowan. McGowan took up freediving as a means to train for his other passion of spearfishing in 2014, he began taking his training seriously in 2015 and in 2016 he broke the previous Irish static breath-hold record of 5 minutes and 35 seconds with a breath-hold of almost 6 minutes. Four years later, that 5:59 Irish record still stands.

Just over a week ago, from the 22nd to the 26th of September in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt Irish freediver Dave McGowan attended the AIDA Freediving World Depth Competition, hosted by World Record holder Andrea Zuccari. McGowan's aim was to consolidate his training best performances in competition to secure his spot in the record books and become the most successful Freediver in Irish history.

Already on day one of the competition, McGowan had his sights set on the Irish record, however with this being McGowan's first depth competition, being held in unfamiliar surroundings and the unknown effect of how competition nerves would impact his performance, McGowan announced a relatively conservative dive to 65 metres in the newly recognised Bi-Fins disciple. In order to be the first to set a record in this discipline, McGowan needed to reach a depth of 61 meters (this corresponds to 75% of the Monofin depth record). McGowan completed the 65m dive in a time of 2 minutes and 2 seconds. This also secured his place as the second-ever deepest Irish Freediver.

Irish Free diver Dave McGowanIrish Free diver Dave McGowan in action in Egypt. Freediving is a niche sport where the athletes hold their breath and swim down along a rope into the deep sea or perform multiple lengths of a swimming pool on one breath, there are currently 8 different recognised competition disciplines where records can be set.

On day two of the competition conditions seemed to worsen, with strong swell and currents felt down to depths in excess of 40 metres. However, with freediving competitions, each diver must announce his dive the night before and cannot change the discipline or the depth without penalty or disqualification. A depth of 71 meters was McGowan's target, his personal best depth during training. Nerves were building in the morning with a long wait before his predefined dive time. The 'official top' was set for 15:00 and even though during the warm-up dives, there seemed to be a lot of commotion with other divers having trouble with the conditions, some even blacking out and needing to be rescued by the safety crew, McGowan kept his composure and at exactly 15:00 started his dive to 71 metres. and returned to the surface in a time of 2 minutes and 16 seconds.

The plan for the final two days of the competition was to continue with the Bi-fins discipline, increasing the record depth even further. However, with the challenging and changeable sea conditions, McGowan consulted with his Coach and training buddies and having already achieved far more than he set out to do in his very first depth competition, the decision was taken that it would be sensible to finish the competition with 4 successful dives and so the final 2 days would be conservative dives in other disciplines.

Dahab, known throughout the world as the mecca for freedivingDahab, known throughout the world as the mecca for freediving, this town has been enticing freedivers from all over the globe for decades. The warm clear and deep waters, year-round sun and a friendly chilled out atmosphere are amongst the many attractions that keep drawing people back

The last two days saw McGowan complete a 66-metre dive in the Monofin discipline and a 70m dive in the Free Immersion discipline, both of these just happened to be personal best performances for McGowan.

Having only competed in 3 out of the 4 disciplines, McGowan was not holding out for a podium position, however to his surprise, due to the strength of his dives and not receiving any penalties, he narrowly missed out on 3rd place, finishing a respectable 4th overall.

With 4 strong dives logged in this competition, 2 new National Records, added to McGowans previous Irish Record in Static Apnea, secures him the top spot as most successful ever Irish Freediver.

McGowan had been training hard during the COVID lockdown in Dahab, Egypt and in order to raise the funds to attend this competition, had organised a GoFundMe. McGowan was quoted saying; "Without the help of all of the contributors to this fundraiser, these record attempts would just not have been possible and even though Freediving is an individual sport, this has very much been a collaborative effort. There is no way I could have achieved this without the help and support from everybody; friends, family, dive buddy's, mentors and everyone that was rooting for me over the last week and for that I am eternally grateful." 

As a gesture of thanks, McGowan added the names of each and every contributor to the fins he used to break the Irish RecordAs a gesture of thanks, McGowan added the names of each and every contributor to the fins he used to break the Irish Record

McGowan's next big target is to continue his training over the winter, with the ultimate goal of representing Ireland at the Freediving Depth World Championships next autumn, and potentially setting some more Irish records along the way.

Published in Diving
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button
Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2020?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating