Fire in the Hole

A British freediver attempts to counter her archrival by swimming a natural tunnel on a single breath

Jul 31, 2008
Outside Magazine
Sara Campbell Attempts to Dive the Arch

THREE MINUTES OF CYCLING –without inhaling. That's a good analogy for the stress Sara Campbell will have to endure this summer when she attempts to match her main rival, Rus-sian Natalia Molchanova, by swimming down to and through the Arch, an 85-foot-long underwater tunnel that connects Egypt's Blue Hole Lagoon to the Red Sea. The tunnel is as wide as an Olympic swimming pool, and it starts 170 feet down. "Physically, it's equal to my deepest world record," says the 36-year-old. "Mentally, it's much harder." Harder still: This spring, after Campbell announced her plan to attempt the tunnel, Molchanova went to Egypt unannounced and upstaged her. She swam the Arch, becoming the first woman to pull it off. Now the pressure's on Campbell to repeat her feat.

Filed To: Culture, SCUBA Diving

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