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Free-diver holds breath underwater for 19 minutes, 21 seconds, breaking world record

February 17, 2010 | 11:08 am

Switzerland's Peter Colat during his successful attempt to break the Guiness World Record for oxygen assisted static apnea, holding his breath for 19 minutes, 21 seconds while being underwater.

A Swiss man has broken the world record for holding one's breath underwater -- staying down for 19 minutes, 21 seconds.

Free-diver Peter Colat, 38, set the record time earlier this month in a water tank at a holiday fair in St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Colat told London's Daily Mail that "the first 12 minutes were not a problem," and that his first feeling of the need to breathe came very late.

Per the Guiness World Records rules for oxygen assisted static apnea, Colat was allowed to breathe pure oxygen prior to the attempt, to remove nitrogen from his lungs and bloodstream and delay the brain's warning signals of running out of air.

Colat broke the previous record, set by Italian Nicola Putignano, by 19 seconds. Prior to Putignano, the record was held by magician David Blaine, who in 2008 held his breath for 17 minutes, 4 seconds.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Switzerland's Peter Colat during his successful attempt to break the Guinness world record for oxygen assisted static apnea, holding his breath for 19 minutes, 21 seconds while underwater. Credit: Ennio Leanza / Associated Press / Keystone

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