The tragic consequences of freediving to world-record depths are explored in new Netflix documentary, The Deepest Breath
A new freediving documentary, The Deepest Breath – which follows the relationship between record-breaking freediver Alessia Zechhini and her safety diver partner, Stephen Keenan – has been released on Netflix, highlighting the true reality in the world of the extreme sport.
Described by Netflix as being ‘bonded by their love of freediving’, The Deepest Breath explores Zecchini’s introduction to the world of freediving, before meeting Keenan while training at the Blue Hole in Dahab, Egypt, and the pair’s subsequent partnership both above and below the water’s surface.
The documentary highlights the serious risks involved in freediving – including the extreme barotrauma (pressure-related injuries) which can result from a freediver’s unending desire to venture ever deeper into the ocean.
After beginning to dive aged just 13, Zecchini’s background in competitive swimming and a determination to become a world-champion freediver has since landed her numerous world records – including her most recent record-breaking dive of 109m (351ft) in the Constant Weight with Bifins (CWTB) discipline in May, 2023.
Keenan – originally from Dublin – became part of the freediving community in 2009 after discovering his love for the sport in Dahab, eventually working his way up to owning a popular freediving school, Dahab Freedivers, where he taught and supported hundreds of divers.
Towards the end of the documentary, The Deepest Breath explores Zecchini’s 2017 attempt to freedive the Blue Hole’s arch, a tunnel at around 56m of the 120m-deep (390ft) natural sinkhole, which has claimed the lives of several divers, including that of Russian freediver Natalia Molchanova in 2015. As tragedy unfolds, the dangers faced by freedivers are brought starkly to the surface.