Umberto Pelizzari: “The sensation is always with you, with or without competition”
A pioneer in freediving at the time, Umberto Pelizzari started his career in swimming first. His exemplary constitution allowed him to rapidly conquer the professional competitions, starting from young age.
In 1984 Umberto decided to learn more about freediving. “There were many factors that pushed me to the direction that everybody knows,” Umberto says. One of them was simply holding breath in a pool as a challenge between friends, as an alternative to boring and long swimming training. After that he started learning and discovering more about this new discipline. In 6 short years, Pelizzari set his first world record in constant weight when he reached 65 metres. A year later two more records belonged to him: 118 metres in “no limits” and a variable weight dive of 95 metres. Umberto says that it was probably the most important part of his career.
Being a pioneer he states that “In the past there wasn’t that much knowledge about diving”. He also points out that it was and still is very hard to study the freedivers, the way scientists study other sportsman. Doctors being asked about diving back then would simply reply “you go there you die”.
That’s why he puts emphasis on sensations. “The mental factor is absolutely a thing”; “You relax and you find air”; “You need to know your body to understand it”; “Train according to what you feel,” Umberto shares. Is there a limit you can reach while diving? Pelizzari didn’t think about it that much. “It’s hard to say where limit is”. He was just learning and always having fun. When Umberto was asked what he practiced most he simply replied: “Freedom. When I go in the water, anytime, the first sensation I have is freedom. I’m free in the water; alone with the sea; I am happy when I go in the water”.
Not only a successful sportsman but both a teacher and a coach, Umberto spends around 300 days a year in water sharing his knowledge and experience.