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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald

Deep focus for free diver in world record bid at Charlestown pool

Michaela Werner diving in the tropics. Picture supplied

A CHARLESTOWN pool might not be the first place you expect a world record to be set, but Michaela Werner is hoping to make it so on Friday.

The 44-year-old freediver will take her shot at an underwater record at Charlestown Swim Centre today.

"The ability to hold my breath comes naturally to me," she said.

"I just relax and pretend to be a marine mammal, for at least a few precious minutes."

If successful, that will involve swimming 2.5 kilometres under the surface in less than an hour. That's 100 laps of the 25-metre pool without fins, and with only a short break at the end of each lap of the pool.

"I actually only hold my breath for about 25 seconds during each lap, but multiply that by 100 and I will be holding my breath for almost 42 minutes in one hour," she said.

"I think about my technique, feel the water on my face and focus on the meaning of one word, which we change every 10 laps.

"Each word is something that inspires me to keep going. For example, 'gratitude', 'compassion', 'grace', 'smoothness'.

"I've done hundreds of laps like this. The focus word runs deep and becomes my superpower."

Lake Macquarie City Council's Brendan Callander said it was an honour to host Ms Werner's attempt.

"We've seen some amazing athletic performances and feats of endurance over the years in the pool, but this will be next-level," Ms Werner said.

Cheering Werner on during her attempt, which is slated to begin from 10.30am, will be her husband Jochen and their three children Kristina, Thomas and Lukas.

Spectators are also welcome.

She's aiming to raise $10,000 from the world record attempt. That money will go to Take 3 For The Sea, a non-profit Australian organisation aiming to rid the oceans of plastic pollution.

To donate, head to

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