Pushing Limits Freediving: Interview with Katie Coeckelenbergh-Sawyer woman freediving in blue water swimming towards surface, sun overhead

Episode 097 – Pushing Limits Freediving: Interview with Katie Coeckelenbergh-Sawyer

This week is a special episode for me; my amazing niece Katie is joining us to discuss pushing limits and what that means for her. You’re in for a treat! Not only is Katie amazing, she’s a free diver, which you might never have even heard of before!

I’ve never had kids. But, my brother and sister had terrific children who have all married amazing people. I’m surrounded by awesomeness if I say so myself. Plus, it seems I’ve been meeting all these cool women who are having big, fun adventures in life; which I love seeing. Just as I reached out to a backcountry trekker to invite her on the show, I thought of my niece Katie and what she’s up to. 

Done, I had to bring her on!

Katie and I are both drawn to the water, and we’re drawn to the sea. She went a bit further with her love for the sea than I did. She has a 100-ton vessel Captain license. This means she can captain almost anything on the ocean except ocean-crossing ships carrying containers. Wow! Currently, she lives aboard a 57′ sportfishing boat in the Canary Islands. That sportfishing boat was what lead her to freediving.  

What is freediving, you might ask?

It’s essentially learning and teaching your body’s ability to dive to significant water depths for extended periods without a tank. Zero diving tank, just a big breath of air, the knowledge of how to do it, and a lot of bravery! 

Technically, it’s the body’s ability to use a lung full of oxygen and make it last as long as possible while absorbing the biological practices that our bodies go through as mammals; when we dive deep, a lot of stuff happens physically.

Katies says, “when we dive in the water and when we’re submerged our blood, and our heart and rate of blood flow slows down to the extremities. And it focuses our the important organs, the brain, heart, lungs, things like fingertips are just that important, and you won’t feel them”.

Wondering what “deep” is?

As a beginner freediver, Katie can go to about 80 feet below the surface with no gear (except a spearfishing gun.) She’s a sportswoman who believes in finding her own food, land, and sea). Her dives are 1 minute, 20 seconds long right now. That’s a long time to hold your breath, especially when your 80 feet below the surface!

Make sure you check out the book “Deep” by James Nester; it’s fascinating reading.  

How much does Katie love freediving?

Let’s just say her husband proposed to her on a dive, because he’s a smart guy and knows what she loves!

You have to check out Katie’s IG account here. (Full disclosure, you might see some pictures of what’s for dinner that she just caught.)

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