Free diving world record

The human body, created by God, is a perfect piece of machinery that regulates itself; descend into the deep without fear. Listen Jacques, choose; will you help Angela break the record or shall I help her myself!

I discovered things in real life that he had already told me about

I met the master, Leo Amici, in 1979. I remember that, before, I never finished anything, it didn’t make sense, and it annoyed me. I wanted to know why I was living, why I did things, otherwise things weren’t important. I was already fascinated by the sea and loved travelling, but even on my travels I didn’t find what I was looking for. At the time I used to live In Civitavecchia and as soon as I saw him, I asked him everything. I was seventeen and was eager to know about the true reality without any pre-conceived ideas, so I asked him everything... everything about being a human being. All of us to a greater or lesser degree are looking for a purpose; we want to know why we are in the world. During my travels I had met “charismatic” people, meeting Leo Amici was something else. He knew how to answer everything, he was the first upright person I had met. I was struck when he said’, “Don’t believe anything I’ve told you, until you’ve thought about it logically and touched it with your own hands.” This made a deep impression on me because I could discover in real life all the wonderful things he told me. When he told me the meaning of life and answered the questions I had always asked myself in vain, it seemed so unreal. Knowing Leo Amici, what before was instinctive, became a detailed study. I was able to practise free diving in various ways; the scientific way with various free diving expeditions and the experimental way carrying out free diving with primitive Indonesian fishermen and with the “Hama” fishermen of Japan. In 1985 I passed the 50 metre mark, establishing my first record of -52m. I thank Mayol who taught me a lot and Leo Amici for giving me the chance to set my record of 52 metres and for the complete knowledge which he gave me.

Angela Bandini

...She was unable to go beyond the minus fifty metre mark... By now she had a blind fear and when she decided to phone the Lake and heard Maria’s voice she burst into tears crying out, “I can’t do it, I can’t do it!” Leo Amici immediately set off from Elba and met Angela on the beach early in the morning. She was still crying with fear and rage, but it was easy for her to calm down with the master who reminded her that he was certain she would break the record. “Don’t waste time compensating”, Leo told her, ‘the human body is a perfect piece of machinery that regulates itself. When you feel that you are going to burst, don’t be afraid. Everything will immediately balance itself out.” and he began to explain everything to her in the minimum details. ... Did she not have her head filled with God? Fear has no place in those who have this certainty, he repeated...You will feel all fear fall away from you and it will seem to crumble at your feet. On 14 September 1985 Angela Bandini set a new women’s world record for free diving of -52 metres.

...Every now and again she was overcome by a kind of anxiety which even she was amazed to feel. She had in mind a new record ...When Leo Amici had said, “Now you’re ready for a hundred and ten”, Angela had fixed it firmly in her mind because she felt it was true and she had promised it to him as she no longer felt that dreadful fear. She understood the whole procedure very well... For her it was natural to think of the record, just like having an ice cream or going for a stroll. A stroll to dive into the eyes of Leo, so as not to have to walk there again, but to remain totally immersed in them. “Because she knew that the subtle anxiety she felt was only the desire to keep her promise. ...The “Dare” Association decided to finance the attempt...”Operation Mermaid”. Angela set off for the island of Elba... After twenty one days of training she reached minus ninety five metres... But from ninety five metres she wanted to lengthen the cable, at all costs, to one hundred and ten...
Then she grasped the handle of the ballast weight...and dived in.
When she returned to the surface she began to shout out in front of the TV cameras of the RAI (Italian State Broadcaster) and those of the rest of the world, that she owed it all to a great man, Leo Amici.

On 3 October 1989 Angela Bandini set the world free diving record of -107 metres, beating even Mayol and Maiorca (two “greats”).

Excerpts taken from the novel “Angela of the depths” by Carlo Tedeschi.