[bctt tweet=”mad as box of frogs” username=”thestratfordian”]Not many people know this but the world ‘holding breath underwater’ record is held by Aleix Segura Vendrell from Spain. A free diver, he held his breath in Barcelona for 24 mins 3.45 secs on the 28th Feb 2016.
When that news got back to Stratford upon Avon Man Sid Rowbotham (87), his wife Ramona remembers he was incensed.
‘I remember it vividly. Sid stormed off upstairs. A few minutes past and he called me. …’Ramona come up here and watch this’. Thinking nothing of it, I trudged upstairs to where Sid was having a bath (the bathroom) and watch him sink beneath to bubbles for what seems an age. We never actually timed it, but we are both pretty certain it was more than 24 minutes. This went on for weeks and all the time he was improving. I remember on one occasion I read the Daily Mail from front to back.
What started off as a simple hobby soon, especially after the news from Spain, turned into something quite serious.
Ramona, remembers the time when Sid said that he was going to attempt the record…
‘Sid planned it with precision. He decided he would do it in public so there would be witnesses. The more the better. He also decided the ideal spot would be by The Royal Shakespeare Theatre where he could be sure of a big crowd’.
And so, it was. Unfortunately, because of the Covid 19 lock down Sid’s hoped for large audience was not possible but this morning at precisely 8.00 am Sid and Ramona were ready on the riverbank to try for the World ‘holding breath underwater’ record Him in his speedos, her earnestly recording every moment on her phone.
9.45 am. Ramona phones the Stratfordian from the riverside…
‘Sid entered the river at 8.15. He waded out, took a deep breath and slipped under the water. He gave his customary thumbs up from beneath the surface, then disappeared.
After 24 minutes I let out a huge cheer. At 25 I could barely hold back the excitement. The record was ours. When Sid didn’t surface for another 5 minutes, I realised that he was going for it, big time.
It is now 9.45 am and I am so proud that it is going to be me who congratulates him first when he surfaces. I wait with a great big kiss for a great big achievement.’