By Tammy Kennon from the NYT here
Bahamas — Shouts of “Breathe! Breathe! Breathe!” pierced the tropical air and echoed off the limestone precipice around Dean’s Blue Hole, a vertical cavern plunging 660 feet, a cobalt blue pool of seawater surrounded by crystal-clear shallows and white sand.
Bathing-suit clad spectators stand in ankle-deep water, at the precipice of the deepest blue hole in the world and only 20 yards from the diving platform, where world-class freedivers are descending to the edge of credibility at Vertical Blue 2011, an annual invitational competition that ends Monday.
“Freediving might be considered extreme, because it takes place in an environment hostile to the human body, but at the same time, it is peaceful, natural and pure,” said William Trubridge, 30, a world-champion freediver and trainer from New Zealand.
“Your body thinks you’re still diving and doesn’t breathe; you have to be reminded,” said Simon Bennett, 43, a freediver who wears bright purple Crocs and has broken the Chilean national record several times during competition, which is held over 10 days.
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Hat tip to TriStacey