30 world records!Herbert Nitsch: Breitling welcomes aboard an exceptional new pilot
A longstanding partner of aviation professionals, Breitling is now associating with an airline pilot who is also a freediving world record-holder on familiar terms with both great heights and extreme depths. Nicknamed “The Flying Fish”, Herbert Nitsch is the first and only man to have descended on a single breath to the amazing depth of 700 feet (214 meters), and is now aiming for the legendary 1,000-foot barrier, meaning 305 meters beneath the sea. This exceptional athlete is capable of holding his breath for over nine minutes and is renowned for his formidable mental and physical strength.
The story of Herbert Nitsch is first and foremost that of a passion for flying and aviation, which soon led him to take his pilot’s license and to work as an airline pilot for the Austrian Airlines group – a profession he still exercises on a part-time basis. It is also that of a passion for water and for deep-sea diving, which has made him one of the greatest contemporary breath-hold freedivers. Between these two activities, Nitsch is said to rarely have his feet on the ground. The sporting career of this Austrian athlete born in 1970 began quite by chance with what might be considered a sign of destiny. In 1999, on his way to a scuba diving holiday in Egypt, his equipment went missing between two flights. Forced to make do with just a diving mask during his entire vacation, he discovered the fabulous world of freediving – and his own amazing personal ability to hold and control his breath. After two weeks’ training, he was already within two meters of the Austrian national record, and two years later, he broke his first international records.
Since 2001, Herbert Nitsch has already set around 30 world records in the eight official disciplines approved by the International Association for the Development of Apnea (AIDA), the supreme freediving authority: constant weight; constant weight without fins; free immersion; variable weight; no limit; static apnea; dynamic apnea; and dynamic apnea without fins. In April 2010 in the Bahamas, he established three new records: two in free immersion and one in constant weight. Nonetheless, Nitsch achieved his most glorious feat to date on June 14th 2007, off the Greek island of Spetses, when he reached the depth of 700 feet (214 meters) in the “no limit” category. This prodigious record put him well ahead of his main competitors and is still unequalled to date. An innovative, self-taught athlete, Herbert Nitsch has developed his own breath-holding techniques and his own sometimes revolutionary equipment, including a small balloon that helps him balance his breathing. Trained to meet the high demands of the aeronautical world, he gives top priority to safety issues and cooperates closely with scientists and doctors in studying the effects on the human body of apnea and deep-sea diving.
In order to push the borders of human accomplishments and to surpass his own limits, Herbert Nitsch has now set himself the goal of reaching the legendary 1000-foot barrier – corresponding to the incredible depth of 305 meters on a single breath. A feat that will doubtless confirm his second nickname: “The Deepest Man on Earth”. With the new Breitling Superocean – a rugged, high-performance watch water-resistant to 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) – he has found the ideal companion in taking up this challenge and ensuring his security as he continues to cultivate his twin passions for great heights and extreme depths.