Free diving champion Isabela Sánchez Áran
Apnea is humility and self-control
Here’s what this sweet-looking woman with dreamy eyes thinks. Today we are going to get to know her better
and find out how she has become the great champion she is.
Tell us how you came to be where you are?
I come from the world of education. Before I dedicated myself to the sea I was a teacher, and it was
in my family. My favourite hobbies were learning, travelling, sport and, if I could bring it all together in one activity, so much the better. I have always been an explorer.
I spent more than 10 years going from one country to another, working in different trades. I was
interested in adventure sports such as climbing, caving, canyoning, sailing, diving and finally, free diving.
In 2015 I discovered free diving in Cyprus, where I was a SCUBA diving instructor and the following year I left everything to dedicate myself professionally to it. Since then I have not stopped growing as an instructor and athlete.
How do you train? Sea, pool, other sports… Do you follow any special diet?
I take advantage of the winter to train my physical condition, as in any sport, but with the adaptations typical of free diving: strong and stable hips for flapping, muscle groups of the arms and coretha t intervene in the movement when pulling the rope in the free immersion mode, etc. In addition, this year during confinement I have been experimenting with the occlusive method to generate muscle mass and observe its effects on lactic acid tolerance.
Flexibility of the muscles involved in breathing Hypoxia and lactic acid tolerance training in the pool during the winter. Training of movement and compensation technique in the sea.
There is a great variety of exercises that can be worked on, but time is limited, so you have to select those that can bring you the greatest benefit based on your state of form at any given time.
Personally, I am a bit bored with dry free diving training (out of water), so I am not very given to them.
I don’t follow any special diet. I do try to avoid heavy dinners, meat other than poultry – I have the
“uncontrollable superstition/observation” that it makes you come with stronger diaphragmatic contractions – and alcohol before a major dive. Also milk products in general, as they favour the generation of mucus, which can make it difficult for us to compensate for our ears and breasts.
Is it possible to live professionally from apnea?
As a sportsman only, not in this country. With training and working in other related fields, for sure. If you work with perseverance and dedication and have something good to offer, many things can be done. My advice to new apneicers is to get well informed before booking a course and train with a qualified instructor from a recognised certifier; don’t learn from friends or acquaintances who simply say “know” or from phantom certifiers that no one will validate…
In sports training, what we seek is to discover ourselves, to explore our sensations beyond
that, to overcome mental barriers and to extend our limits.