Sharing my thought process during a deep dive, achieving the French freediving record of 117 meters.

by Thibault Guignes

Are you really in control of your thoughts at 117m? Even if I trained as well as I could and thankfully achieved this freediving record, it is hard for me to answer this question. As when you reach your target depth, whichever it is, it usually means that you were perfectly in the moment during your dive. And then you don’t remember much of what happened during the dive, especially of the thoughts process that took place.

I usually spread my attention on all parameters during my deep dives. Equalization, freefall, relaxation, feeling of the water on my skin, feelings in my body, urge to breathe etc… All these parameters become just information that are processed on a more or less unconscious level. Every action is automated, forged by many repetitions. Even when reaching the bottom, I have this thought that I reached the bottom. But it is a very neutral thought. Just an information that does not trigger emotions at that moment. And this is true for most of my deep dives. When I start actually thinking during the dive, it is not a good sign. That means I did not manage to reach this flow state, and in that case, it is unlikely I will reach such depth as 117m.

freediving record

I would say that in terms of thoughts, the difficulty of 117m or of any big number, is more to control your thoughts before the dive than to control your thoughts during the dive. That includes the days leading to the competition. In the dive there is no space for conscious thoughts. You filled already your mind with all the parameters.