Natalia Molchanova Missing, Presumed Dead
With competition personal bests of 101m CWT, 71m CNF and over 9min static, Natalia Molchanova, the undisputed Queen of competitive Freediving is the last person you’d expect to succumb to the sea. It’s with great shock and deep sadness therefore that we have to report that she failed to surface from a fun dive to just 30 or 40m on Sunday off Formentera, Spain, in the Balearic. Despite an exhaustive search involving air and undersea support vehicles, her body has not been recovered. According to a statement issued by her Son Alexey and AIDA a few hours ago, Natalia may have encountered strong currents at depth whilst diving without fins and without a guideline. Diving in this way is typical of the Molchanov’s approach to the sport which emphasises fun, freedom and union with the water.
As the holder of 41 world records and 23 world championship titles, Molchanova, 53 remains the most decorated freediver there has ever been. Her position as associate professor at the Russian State University of Physical Education, Sport, Youth and Tourism (Department of applied sports and extreme activities) and her passion for Freediving research renders her one of the most learned and knowledgeable people in our community as well. Anyone who has met her will testify to her fierce competitiveness, passion for the sport and ever-present sense of fun. Her loss this week is a tragic loss to the sport, to her loving family and to the freediving community as a whole. Our thoughts are with her Son, Alexey, and Daughter Oxana during what must be an very difficult time for them. More on the search and this story as it develops.