Polish diver breaks closed circuit diving world record

Krzysztof Starnawski. Photo: facebook.com/Krzysztof-Starnawski-Expedition

Polish diver Krzysztof Starnawski beat the world record in closed circuit diving after descending to a depth of 303m diving in the Italian Garda lake.

Krzysztof Starnawski is one of the most worldwide recognized Polish divers. He admitted that he broke the record somewhat by accident because he and his team was aiming at something else.

“Initially, our plan was to explore a cave near the lake. Unfortunately, weather conditions did not allow for safe diving. We decided that we would dive in Garda and treat it like a training for the next expeditions and see if it is able to get to the bottom. And that’s how this record was broken,” Mr Starnawski said in an interview with RMF FM.

Closed circuit diving is an underwater diving style using rebreathers, technical gear which filters out carbon dioxide exhaled by diver and replaces it with oxygen, providing the user with a proper proportion of breathable gases. Using rebreathers, divers can spend more time underwater than with regular diving equipment.

Bottom of Garda Lake from Starnawski on Vimeo.

He admitted that diving in lakes and seas is not his cup of tea since he prefers underwater caves and tunnels, but added that training is always necessary.

At such a depth, the temperature is about eight degrees Celsius (circa 46 degrees Fahrenheit), so additional safety measures had to be taken.

“The dive lasted seven hours, and since it's very easy to suffer from hypothermia I used a heating system to raise my body temperature,” he added.

Commemorating WWII-era skies over Britain from an Italian lake-bed

Mr Starnawski stated that although he could have gone even deeper, the 303 metres he descended was symbolic.

“Just before I went underwater someone mentioned that two movies about Polish 303 fighting squadron are currently being shown in cinemas. We decided that if we plan to descend to around 300 metres, why not make it 303, as a homage to our fellow countrymen from years ago?”

Mr Starnawski has some remarkable achievements in his resume. In 2011, he reached 283m in closed diving circuit – a world record that time. In 2016, he discovered the deepest sunken cave in the world (404m) in the Hranická Propast cave complex, in the Czech Republic. For the latter, he was chosen the 2017 Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic.