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February 2024

Arnaud Jerald

In very deep water

“I’m proud to be Marseillais. Marseille is a town with personality, closely linked to the sea, and with a very particular history.”

by Mathilde Hingray

At seven, he went on an underwater fishing trip with his father. “At first, I stayed on the surface. Then, when I was 16, my father taught me freediving in the Marseille calanques. Going down without a harpoon and following a rope to come back up. I loved the sensation it gave. And I promised myself that one day I would make it my profession.” His first training course with the Massilia Sub club reinforced the idea. “Freediving is an inner journey. It enabled me to find myself and gain self-confidence. Freediving taught me to really breathe.” At 21, he won his first French champion title and a bronze medal in the European championships. That year, he reached a depth of 100m with a monofin in the bay of Villefranche. That was the start of a dream - at an unusually young age, since most freedivers reach their peak at 35 to 40. “I was able to go so far because I faced up to the risks of the sport, I was getting good advice, and I knew when to say No to situations that could be dangerous. I study every dive. I identify the thoughts that unbalance me and the feelings and gestures that come with them.” Arnaud likes to control his mind and set himself challenges. As he did in 2019 in Sharm El-Cheikh in Egypt, when he went down to 108m in the Russian championships. This summer he’s competing again in the Vertical Blue, due to take place in the Bahamas. He hopes to beat his own record by going down beyond 122m. Alongside competition freediving, he shares his experience and advises high-level athletes on the breathing side of sport. He advised Florent Manaudou for the Tokyo Olympics, Charles Caudrelier for the Vendée Globe and the Route du Rhum, and François Perrodo for the Le Mans 24 Hours.


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