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. British woman does 314-foot ocean dive

Sara Campbell UK champion freediver Photo: Dan Burton, WWW.UNDERWATERIMAGES.CO.UK.
by Staff Writers
Miami, April 3, 2009
A 37-year-old British woman has regained her title in the extreme sport of freediving with a 314-foot plunge beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.

Sara Campbell, known to her fans as "part woman, part fish," pushed the boundaries of human endurance to new levels in an underwater cavern in the Bahamas Thursday night. She went deeper than any female freediver before her without special gear, then shot back to the surface, all while holding her breath for 3 minutes, 36 seconds.

"The dive felt great and I'm just feeling fantastic," she told the Times of London. "At one point I started feeling negative thoughts -- 'Do I really want to do this?' - but then I told myself not to be ridiculous, just get it done, go for the bottom."

Campbell's crown came in the constant-weight discipline competition which requires freedivers to descend and return using only the power of their own bodies and a mermaid-like fin attached to their feet.

Campbell, known also as "mighty mouse" for her 4 foot, 11-inch frame, regained the title she won two years ago - she broke three records in 48 hours while still a novice -- then dropped out of the 2008 competition when her mother died.

Doctors have studied the yoga instructor from South London for her unusual ability and found her lungs to be 25 percent larger than an average person of her size and weight, allowing her to pack more air into her system before she descends.

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