Yesterday, we reported that Wil Dasovich broke AIDA International’s national record in the sport of Static Apnea (STA). However, we came to find out later from Wil himself that he, in fact, broke the record twice! Plus, even though this is just the beginning of his journey as a professional freediver, a lot has actually been going on! So here’s the rundown!
Over the weekend, Wil Dasovich competed in a prestigious professional freediving competition in Batangas. This three-day event put Wil’s prowess to the ultimate test!
For those unfamiliar with the sport, freediving challenges athletes in three distinct categories: diving depth in the ocean, distance swimming in a pool, and breath-holding endurance. In a glorious victory, Wil surpassed all expectations and even made history in the competition! By breaking the national record for STA (underwater breath-holding), the achievement quickly put his name in the headlines. His impressive total time of 5 minutes and 39 seconds exceeded the previous record of 5 minutes and 37 seconds–but that was not the end of it!
Day three came, and what do you know, Wil outdid himself yet again! The adventurer broke his own record with an official time of 5 minutes and 44 seconds in another remarkable feat! Once again, this achievement was recognized and validated by the esteemed professional freediving organization, AIDA (International Association for the Development of Apnea). Additionally, this historic event only marked Wil’s second competition in his budding freediving career.
Back in March, Wil entered the Panglao Pool competition as the sole Philippine representative, challenging world record holders. He probably pushed his luck on this one though because, as mentioned earlier, Wil did not undergo professional training prior and depended on YouTube videos. He reportedly blacked out at the 4:20-minute mark.
In an attempt for redemption, he humbly sought advice from Florian Dagoury on Instagram. To his surprise, Dagoury did not just reply to his message, but also invited him to become a “mutant just like him.” The legendary world champion freediver and certified instructor, dubbed as “Mr. 10 Minutes” for his awe-inspiring 10+ minute breath holds, became his mentor.
Training under the guidance of Dagoury for three months and breaking national records twice in two days–now that’s truly exceptional! Nonetheless, Wil said his journey as a professional freediver has just begun. During our talk with him, he took us through the entire experience.
“To be honest, breaking it the second time, it was alright. I don’t want to say ‘easy’, but it wasn’t too difficult,” he admitted. Evidently, what really challenged him was the first time. He continued, “I was just really stressed and paranoid about the first day because I didn’t know if I had the capability of controlling my nerves. And I knew if I didn’t beat the record on day one, it would affect me mentally and my confidence that I wouldn’t have the mind powers and meditation to be able to calm myself because if I failed once, I’d be paranoid about failing again.”
Wil elaborated further by comparing what it was like during the competition versus during practice. “Usually in practice, when I’m not in front of people in a live audience in a competition, 5:30 is pretty easy. I could do 5:30 multiple times in one day, but that 5:39 was hard, given my nerves and everyone watching and just me thinking about and obsessing about this one moment for four months,” he recalled.
Rubbing salt into the wound, he revealed, “I gave up so much money, projects, and opportunities just for this. So that’s why it was so scary to fail.”
With nothing else to lose, his second attempt became a breeze with his confidence intact. “When I broke the record again, it was easy because I wasn’t nervous. And to be honest, I think I could have gone past six minutes, and my coach thinks so, too. But for me, there’s no point in pushing it anymore. I broke the record—no need to push it further,” he told me.
ICYDK, the Philippines takes pride in nurturing and producing extraordinary talents like Wil in this sport. As a matter of fact, Panglao Island in Bohol was tagged as Asia’s freediving capital! So through his platform, the content creator also advocates to inspire the next generation of freediving champions.
For everyone interested in diving into it as well, here’s what he has to say: “My advice, just like with anything, is just go for it and try it out. Free diving is blowing up in the Philippines. It started blowing up during the pandemic, and there are so many free diving schools and instructors everywhere, so all it takes is one day for an intro course, it only takes a couple of hours, and on your first day, you can be trained to hold your breath for two minutes.”
Furthermore, Wil expounded on the benefits of freediving mentally and physically. “I was able to hold my breath for three and a half minutes on my first day ever training free diving, because when you learn the techniques of how to control the mind and meditate in the water and relax and all this stuff,” he shared. “It’s such an empowering and mind-blowing experience. And that’s why I fell in love with it because I had no idea about the capabilities of the human body. And yes, I would highly recommend free diving. It’s incredibly healthy mentally and physically for you.”
“Physically, it trains your body how to adapt to lower amounts of oxygen. You produce more red blood cells. You increase your lung capacity. Your spleen releases more red blood cells. There’s all this cool stuff that changes within the biology of your body. And I’m such a nerd when it comes to health. And that’s why I love free diving because it’s so good for you, increases your flexibility, and on the mental aspect, it teaches you how to remain calm, how to deal with stress, and how to not panic. And this translates to real life.”
The poetic side of Wil Dasovich (as we have seen on his vlogs) came out as he gave examples of how freediving can help regulate our emotions and apply it in our day-to-day lives.”When you learn how to find the calm, the deep inner peace within you, you learn how to control your emotions and manage relationships and stressful situations with other people or just anything in life, like traffic on EDSA,” he began.
“Maybe before you free dive, maybe you let that get to you and you stress out. But if you free dive a lot and you kind of just tap into this inner peace, maybe traffic won’t annoy you so much,” he explained. “And you can even practice breath holds in the car and do all these different techniques and stuff! “There are so many benefits to free diving, I can write a book on it.”
As he expressively shared his thoughts, he pondered on creating a long post about it. “Maybe in one of my next posts, I’ll talk about all the health benefits of free diving so I can get people to really understand that and try it out,” Wil shared, and I am looking forward to it!
“Anyone can free dive. That’s the last thing I want to say,” he blurted out, concluding his voice notes. “It doesn’t matter your weight, height, or capabilities, even people who can’t swim. Anyone can learn how to free dive. It’s super safe with instructors, and they will take care of you and teach you the ways. So you can do it with your family, your mom, your tita, your kids. It’s a sport for everyone.”
“You don’t have to compete,” he added, aiming to alleviate the pressure for those who might be nervous about trying freediving for the first time. “You can do it just for fun!”
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