Alexey Molchanov: The Secret To Success… ? It’s Just Like Brushing Your Teeth
45 times national record holder and 4 times world record holder Alexey Molchanov started his freediving career young. At the age of 5 he was diving for sea shells and mussles in the Black Sea in Russia, growing up he was a competitive finswimmer, and at the age of just 17 he broke a national record in his first ever pool competition with a dynamic distance of 158m, after his mum (Natalia Molchanova) read about the sport in a magazine.
These are huge achievements for a freediver who today is still just 27 years old and by all observations has a promising career in front of him. As he says himself, “I was always 100% sure that I made the right choice and every year I’m happier and happier with it.” So what is his secret to this success? And what motivates him to keep trying for it?
“For me just the process of training I enjoy a lot. If I don’t train I feel like my mood is just going down. I like to train because it makes me feel good… it’s just nice when you put a lot of effort into training and in the end you get a nice result as confirmation that your training process was right… I think it’s something that comes from childhood…if you like to train and you like the process then you can’t stop… I like it just as a process, like you wake up in the morning and go and brush your teeth”.
Despite starting off in the pool, Alexey is now most known for his open water dives, holding the world record for constant weight with a depth of -128m:
“ depth is more challenging, it’s a much more complicated discipline than pool. I like to dive deep, so just that gives me joy to train and to compete…. I don’t think that I want to be a champion or anything, I just feel that I have this ability to dive deep so I just follow it and I enjoy it.
If you want to get a good result in freediving you need to be persistent…This is more important than talent.”
Learning To Explore
Alexey’s passion for the sport and the results he achieves are certainly inspiring. He admits that learning to freedive benefits people in endless ways, even those who don’t feel passionate about the water, and even those who can’t swim! But what is the most important thing he has learned from freediving? And what can others learn themselves by taking up the sport?
“When you spend so much time practicing relaxation and trying to swim more efficiently… you learn to be relaxed in any circumstances, like in depth diving, so it really helps in everyday life… being calm, being relaxed. So I think freediving gives this quality, not only to me but to a lot of people.”
“[For others] they would be able to swim and dive whenever they want to and be comfortable in the water….they could just dive and check for corals and sea animals and just being able to explore water: oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, anything. It’s a really useful skill to have and a really nice skill to have… Some, even if they’re not so passionate about water, they just come to learn freediving as a survival skill which is useful to have… We’ve had people who didn’t know how to swim even, learn freediving to overcome their fears”.
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