Today’s episode features a real life mermaid. Nataliia Zharkova is a world record breaking freediver and five-time World Champion but she didn’t find freediving, freediving found her.
Co-host Dawn first met Nataliia in 2021 when she worked with the team at Deep Dive Dubai and took an introductory freedive lesson with her. Yes, you too can train with this phenomenal athlete in Dubai!
What struck Dawn about freediving at the time was the slow and graceful athleticism that freedivers need to be successful in their sport.
As you’ll hear in Nataliia’s discussion with Dawn, her accomplishments in the freediving world came quite naturally. Among those accomplishments are five World Championships and six World Records. She is one of only two women in history to freedive the Arch of the Blue Hole in the Red Sea with only a monofin. She is also the 7th woman in the world to reach a depth of 100m in a single breath - 102m in fact. Her longest breath hold is a staggering 6 minutes and 23 seconds.
In the context of hustle culture and what can sometimes be a toxic focus on achievement in sport, this discussion with Nataliia challenges perceptions on how it’s possible to reach your goals.
We chat through her upbringing in the Ukraine, her start in swimming, the power of the mind in freediving, and what it takes to slow down, both in the water and outside of it.
We also chat through how Nataliia sees freediving as a sport of hope and a sport of the future.
To follow Nataliia, find her on instagram at @zharkova_freediver
To take a freediving lesson with Nataliia, visit Deep Dive Dubai’s website www.deepdivedubai.com.
To learn more about freediving in general, visit the International Association for the Development of Apnea (ADIA) at https://www.aidainternational.org
Our wider support team for this episode includes Editor JJ Thompson and our Artwork is by the talented Alexandra Hickey of Studio Theodore.
We hope you enjoy the episode!
Dawn & Afshan