Meet Ahmed Gabr, the 47-year-old Egyptian diver who, in 2014, broke the Guinness World Record for the Deepest Scuba Dive (Male) and Deepest Sea Dive at a mindblowing 332.35 metres.
Starting at the tender age of 18, Ahmed began scuba diving as a hobby and recreational sport before deciding to pursue it further as a full-time career by getting his scuba diving instructor licence. Between continually improving his diving skills and working as a technical diving instructor, Ahmed was also a Special Forces officer in the Egyptian Army. He even received a scholarship to attend the US Army Combat Diver course, making him the first and only certified US Combat Diver in the Middle East. Currently retired from the army, he is now a full-time diver with many upcoming projects up his sleeves.
Married with two children, ages 5 and 14, Ahmed started diving in 1991 and has achieved a great deal during his career of almost three decades. Crediting his army training and the mentality he developed over the years, Ahmed had constantly toyed with the idea of going for the deep dive world record. “I always want to feel challenged and every time I go deeper, I feel more comfortable,” Ahmed says. “To be on that thin red line, walking on the edge, it stimulates me as a human to push boundaries and to push limits.”
Beginning intensive training in 2010, Ahmed spent some four years preparing himself both mentally and physically for the attempt, even submitting his intent to Guinness World Records more than a year before his dive. Due to the risks that are involved with deep diving, Ahmed had to be sure that his body was well prepared for the dive ahead. “You have to assess and evaluate your condition, your targets and your abilities very well. And even the team around you,” Ahmed says. “You might want something, but the challenge is recognising whether or not you are actually able to achieve what you want.” Physically, he did punishing workouts to keep his body in shape through cardiovascular training such as cycling, running and swimming. To prepare mentally, he did yoga to practise different breathing techniques and to learn to keep his mind and body silent. He had to learn to be in his own bubble, and though it was difficult for him to detach himself from the constant rush of questions in his mind, he had to learn to not let his emotions and feelings overcome him.
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