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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Breath Holding World Record

It's the record strong, silent blokes say could never be broken by a woman. Tom Sietas has smashed his own world record for holding his breath underwater, breaking the 15-minute barrier on US television overnight. And he didn't say a word as he did it. Sietas remained submerged in an on-set tank for 15min 2sec, beating his previous Guinness world record time by 37 seconds. Sietas, who slows his metabolism with pre-stunt fasts, emerged triumphant - but hungry.

Sietas - a 30-year-old German engineering student whose lungs are 20 per cent larger than average - entered the world of competitive oxygen deprivation when a scuba instructor noticed his ability to hold his breath. He has held 12 world records. Before the feat, Sietas inhaled pure oxygen for 20 minutes. He also holds the world record, at 9min 8sec, for holding his breath underwater without first inhaling oxygen.

A corpse-like stillness is central to his success, as it decreases his need for oxygen. Underwater, he clears his mind. "Let's say I had an argument with my girlfriend, I would get upset, and my heart rate would go up. I really don't think about anything," Sietas said.

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