Natalia Molchanova, the most decorated freediver in the world with 41 world records and 23 world champion titles, was diving in the Balearic Sea, near to the Spanish island of Formentera on Sunday when she failed to surface.
Natalia Molchanova is the most decorated competitive freediver in the world, holding 41 World Records and is a 23 time World Champion in Freediving. Natalia trained hard for her sport, she had a nine minute breath hold, could dive to a depth of 101m using a fin and swim a distance of 234m with a fin. Along with being one of the top athletes in the world she has a PhD in Pedagogical Science and has authored multiple scientific articles and two freediving training handbooks.
She is the creator and current president of the Freediving Federation of Russia. She designed and taught freediving programs all over the world. She is based out of Moscow and has created one of the most vibrant recreational freediving communities in the world. Natalia has trained thousands of people to freedive in locations worldwide.
Natalia is a proud mother of Oksana and Alexey. She loved children and was awaiting the day when she would become a Grandmother. She was an inspiration to all freedivers and despite being one of the fiercest competitors in the world, she was always calm and relaxed during competitions. She said “birth and death are important, but freediving competitions are just games for adults”.
A joint statement from Molchanova's family and AIDA International, the worldwide federation for breath-hold diving issued on 4 Aug states:
Natalia Molchanova was recreationally freediving off the coast of Spain on August 2, 2015 when she was separated from her peers. She was diving without fins to around 30 to 40 m and supposable got into strong underwater current. Search efforts have been ongoing during daylight hours and the next day since she was reported missing by three peers. She disappeared while diving approximately two miles northwest of the port of La Savina at Poniente de es Freus.
The cause of Natalia’s disappearance is unknown, but she was doing what she loved. Natalia has a passion for freediving that burned so deep inside of her that she dedicated her life to it.