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Freediving: National records for Singapore, Estonia and Malaysia broken at inaugural freediving competition series

SINGAPORE—Fu Xingqiang, 38, Dmitri Melnikov, 35, and Darrell Teng, 32, each eclipsed previous national records for Singapore, Estonia and Malaysia respectively while competing at the Ultimate Freediving Challenge (UFC) series, July 02.

Darrell Teng, 32, swam 164m to a Malaysian National record for apnea diving. Photo: Xin Tianyou

The UFC is a new competition series established by Fu Xingqiang, owner of the Freedive XQ school, in order to promote competitive freediving in Singapore. Fu told the Apnea Association of Singapore (AAS) that he hopes to give new and experienced divers alike the opportunity to gain competition exposure and develop their diving practice on a regular basis.

Pool freediving competitions challenge divers to swim the furthest distance on a single breath in the dynamic apnea disciplines, or hold their breath while submerged in water for the longest period of time in the static apnea (STA) divisions.

Fu broke his own previous Singapore national record in the dynamic no fins (DNF) discipline with a dive of 172m. In this discipline divers swim as far as possible without the aid of assistive equipment such as a monofin or a pair of bifins.

Dmitri Melnikov prepares for a dive that places him 8th in the world in DYNB. Photo: Li Jizhao

In addition to Fu’s own record, Malaysian national Darrell Teng, 32, achieved 164m in the Dynamic with Bifins (DYNB) discipline, to surpass the previous record of 150m set by Paul Wei-Kei Sack. Darrell, for whom the UFC was an introduction to dynamic apnea competition, eventually took 3rd place.

Dmitri Melnikov, 35, of Estonia, also eclipsed the previous DYNB record from his nation with a dive of 235m. 

This led him to win the UFC competition in the men’s division and also placed him 8th overall in the world in the bifins discipline.

In the women’s divisions, Qu Yinyun of China took first place with a DYNB dive of 177m, followed by Lim Yee Hui of Singapore with a notable DYNB dive of 163m. This dive brings Lim closer to the national record of 180m set by Elys Lai at the AIDA freediving world championships last month. It also signals the healthy competition in Singapore women’s freediving where national records have changed hands multiple times over the last three months.

Qu Yinyun, who goes by the name Rainy, on her way to gold with a dive of 177m in DYNB. Photo: Xin Tianyou

Patricia Paige Ong, 32, of Singapore took the bronze medal with a DNF dive of 120m, just five metres short of the outright Singapore record of 125m in this discipline.

Lim Yee Hui took 2nd place with a DYNB dive of 163m. Photo: Li Jizhao

Fu told AAS that he believed that Singaporean freedivers are set to reach top international levels within the next few years if provided with the support required and with accessibility to local competitions. This was his motivation to set up the Ultimate Freediving Series of events. He said the he hoped the series would eventually be independent from his school and sustained by the community.

Patricia Ong gliding to 3rd and a distance of 120m without fins. Photo: Xin Tianyou

Fu’s student Elys Lai, 44, recently became the first Singaporean to attend the AIDA World Freediving Championships held in Burgas, Bulgaria, June 20-24. She finished fourth overall and came home with two new national records in the STA and DYNB disciplines.

Fu Xingquiang, creator of the UFC series, is followed by a safety diver as he swims without fins to a new national record of 172m. Photo: Xin Tianyou
Final results tally

AAS is encouraged to see the rapid growth of freediving in Singapore and applaud new competition events in addition to those that we organize. 

So far in 2022 alone, Singapore has had new national records in the following disciplines:

Dynamic with Bifins (DYNB):

Patricia Paige Ong, 174m, AIDA Panglao Pool Competition, Philippines

Elys Lai, 180m, AIDA Pool World Championships 2022, Bulgaria

Dynamic No Fins (DNF):

Elys Lai, 125m, AAS AIDA Mini Comp, Singapore

Fu Xingqiang, 172m, Ultimate Freediving Challenge, Singapore

Static Apnea (STA):

Lim Yee Hui, 5:57, Get ecSTAtic!, Singapore

Elys Lai, 6:04, AIDA Pool World Championships 2022, Bulgaria

Constant Weight (CWT) depth:

Michelle Ooi, 72m, AIDA Freediving World Cup Mini-Comp, Egypt

Please see the this webpage for the complete list of Singapore national records in freediving.

Press Contact

Contact person: Afiza Affandi, President AAS


Note to editors: original copy and photos for the press can be found here.

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