Patrick MUSIMU made his ultimate dive in Egypt in 2005. On this occasion, he broke the previous world record reaching 209 meters in depth without any breathing apparatus.
We talk to Patrick about that dive that he has come to dedicate to Africa. And on top of his excellent stats, being holder of multiple free dive records, he also reveals his other "stats", like having nine lives and a seventh sense.
FULL NAME: Patrick MUSIMU
PLACE OF BIRTH: Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo)
CITY OF RESIDENCE: Brussels
FAMILY: Engaged, Father of a 3 year-old daughter
EDUCATION : Physiotherapist, Master in Sport business management
Tell us about your African Roots.
I was born in Kinshasa. I have had the chance to grow up in a multicultural environment (father from Congo, mother from Belgium), which has helped me to have a constructive critical opinion over the world. At the age of ten, my family and I used to live in the poor neighbourhood of the capital. Life has not always been easy and I know what it is not to have food on your table. But I also have a lot of extraordinary memories of Africa and I have got to hand it to my parents because they have fought hard to provide a good education to their children.
You dedicated your Ultimate Dive to Africa, what was that about?
The spirit of The Ultimate I dedicated to Africa for many reasons. This diving project was not about a man trying to become a world record holder or proving he was the best. If a figure can be beaten, an idea, a message can not be defeated. The modest underlining message for Africa was that even without resources a man can stand up high in front of the whole world and prove that determination and self-confidence can move mountains.â€¨
Deep in their misery too many children do not receive the chance to realize their dreams and will never find the strength to fight for them. Knowing from where I am coming from and hearing the in-and-outs of the Ultimate Dive project, somehow I hope that some of them will also believe thatâ€¦ nothing is impossible!
What sort of physical training do you have to do to prepare for your dives?
I only train two to three times a week in a fitness club but practice a lot of breathing techniques. I mainly do cardio training based on interval training. I do not train in swimming pool as I avoid associating â€œpainâ€ with water. Beyond your physical preparation it is important to have an adequate mental preparation.
What goes on in your head when you're diving?
I can summarize it in two words : Freedom and Silence
In layman's non-diver terms, can you share to us the beauty you see when you get down to the bottom of the world?
When there is nothing more than silence, you are able to get in touch with yourself. The self is connected to every kind of being. Pressure and water help you to touch to pure consciousness. In this transit state of mind I have had the chance to touch the â€œseventh senseâ€, the one which helps you perceive your body as a billion of living entities.
You know its a constant risk what you do, how do you manage that risk?
Every single dive is planned and taken seriously. For every deep performance, a safety plan is set up and tested. Of course, like in any extreme sports, you need a strong mental and lots of self-confidence to discard any negative thought during your journeys to the depth.
You say you have nine lives and you've already lost 4 of them, how did that happen?
In my early debut, without support and due to lack of budget, I have been forced to take many risks during certain dives. Some of them have been done under extreme conditions and could have cost me a lot.
What do you set out to prove to the world? Or the better question would be, what would you like the world to learn from you?
I do not pretend trying to teach anything. I only hope that somehow my achievements may be used as a source of inspiration. My leitmotiv will always remain: Nothing is absolute. Redefine concepts, redefine yourself. Barriers are in our mind. Accept no limits!
For more information on Patrick Musimu, visit www.patrickmusimu.com