"I sink like a stone" | TIME ONLINE

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Only at the end of 30 has Anna von Boetticher from Berlin started deep-sea diving, and a few months later she became German champion. She used to work for TV productions in London, running a bookstore with her mother, and today she teaches combat divers from the navy and firefighters. Here are some videos from their dives.

By Saturday, the best free divers in the world in the southern French Villefranche-sur-Mer in the Apnea World Cup thrust into the depths. This Thursday, the deep dives of women with fins took place. The Japanese Hanako Hirose dived 101 meters deep that day, others about 30 meters. All of them were equally applauded by the jurors on the floating island and the spectators in front of the screen ashore.

TIME ONLINE: What do you think on the way to the deep? Do you even think about something?

Anna von Boetticher: I say to myself all the time: Silence, shut up! In a perfect dive I am like in a bubble. The first thing to do is to dive 30 meters, the air in the body is so compressed that we fall into free fall. I close my eyes and sink like a stone. The heartbeat slows down, I constantly blow air for the pressure balance in my ears. Here in the Mediterranean, it is 24 degrees warm on the water surface, then comes a thermocline and from one meter to the other it is 10 degrees colder, which is like a slap. In 60 meters, there are only 13 degrees. The time, depending on the depth of about a minute, passes very slowly, it is stretched. When I arrive at my meter card, I hear a small signal in my ear, I open my eyes, take the card and then: Wow. It's the best moment. I see the beauty of the sea. An incredible experience. I do it all for that.

The divers have to decide the day before, how deep they want to dive, secretly write their meter number on a piece of paper and throw it into a jury box. Only in the evening are the target depths published. This is to prevent the participants, once in the water, to be too daring and still swim deeper than they are used to from training. Or that they let themselves be carried away by the achievements of the competition. The divers are also hooked with a carabiner, they can not dive deeper than stated. From the target depth, you must bring a card up from the baseplate.

TIME ONLINE: They set a goal of 71 meters today and became eighth. It must be hard to state how many meters you can dive the next day.

from BoetticherThe most important thing is to be honest with yourself and to keep the ego under control. It does not help to announce what I want. Realistically estimating is the true art. I did not put it on the top today, I only had one month to train and have suffered a lot from headaches. There is a simple rule: Do not be an idiot! Do not be an idiot!

TIME ONLINE: Then comes the hardest thing: the reappearance.

from Boetticher: Yes, our danger zone is not at the bottom, but just before the surface, where the oxygen is scarce, the pressure decreases. The first meters up are very exhausting, the body is heavy and with a lot of power it goes up. I tell myself then: You can do it, you're strong. But it is also a nature experience. For example, I saw many jellyfish with tent-long tentacles. Further up are the security divers, they swim towards me, in case of emergency they pick one up. These are very common harpoon divers, they do not have to swim that far, but they can endure 30 meters deep. I just fainted on the first appearance, in the Bahamas. I had taken over and am without fins 58 meters deep, my best performance was then 55 meters, which was also German record. The three meters more were too big a jump. At a depth of ten meters, I felt dizzy, got a tunnel look, had to giggle. Once in the air, I felt better again very quickly.

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