BY FERNANDO RODRIGUEZ
La Paz-born and raised free diver Monserrat Peart, Mexico’s national record holder and the #1 Mexican women’s champion, recently submerged herself 84 meters below the sea. That’s 92 yards, or the length of a football field.
Montserrat Peart has been practicing freediving for five years. In the young woman’s first year, Peart practiced freediving only as a recreational sport, but was enthusiastically surprised by the underwater marine life in the Sea of Cortez.
As she continued with her newfound love and passion, Monserrat received professional training and earned her freediving certification. While her thirst for the sport grew and her curiosity to descend even deeper into the abyss, she began to participate in professional freediving competitions. After three years of more dives increased her experience at the competitive level, Monserrat obtained some pretty impressive achievements during her first six competitions.
In her first event at Xibalba 2019 in Tulum, Quintana Roo, she set her first two national depth records for Mexico. Three more national depth records followed in her next aquatic encounters. She obtained first overall in the women’s group at the Zanka Open 2019. She then placed first again in the AIDA women’s national level in the same year.
Continuing her winning streak, Monserrat participated in the two editions of the Azul Freediving Challenge, where she obtained first place for women in May and second place for women in September 2019. She also set a new national record of -65 meters in constant weight with bi-fins.
Now Monserrat Peart is a certified International Scuba School instructor, sharing her experience and knowledge with new freedivers in La Paz. Also in 2019, she joined the Hipoxia Mexican freediving school as its second instructor alongside Arturo Hernández. Arturo began scuba diving approximately twenty years ago at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He has trained and worked for three years with Alejandro Lemus, Mexico’s multiple national freediving champion, and has been part of the security team in different competitions such as Xibalba (2018 and 2019), Azul Freediving Challenge (2019) and as head of security at Zanka Open (2019).
Hipoxia offers courses and training in Riviera Maya, Mexico City and La Paz BCS. It organizes training trips and fun dives throughout the country, such as in Media Luna (San Luis Potosí), Zihuatanejo, cenotes in the Riviera Maya, reefs in Cozumel, Cabo Pulmo and Playa del Carmen. Hipoxia also offers scuba diving and tours to Espiritu Santo Island.
One of the greatest freedivers of all time was Natalia Molchanova. Born in 1962, Molchanova was a Russian champion freediver, multiple world record holder, and the former president of the Russian Free Dive Federation. She disappeared during a dive on August 2, 2015, at 53 years of age.
Freediving was invented/discovered/created in 1949 when Hungarian-born Italian Air Force Captain Raimondo Bucher dove to the bottom of the sea near Naples for a simple gamble. Since then, athletes who have trained for it can exceed 10 minutes of holding their breath. The world record for apnea exceeded 24 minutes on June 21, 2023.
For more information about Hypoxia please contact (612) 237-2765 or visit their Facebook page, Hipoxia.mx.