South African Beth Neale took to Bermuda’s waters on Saturday [Aug 24] in order to break her existing no fins freediving record, raising funds for the Bermuda Zoological Society’s marine education progammes and the Kids on the Reef [KOTR] programme in the process.
A spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Zoological Society is happy to announce that on the morning of Saturday, August 24, South African Beth Neale broke her existing no fins freediving record of 154ft right here in Bermuda by diving to a depth of 164ft.
“Beth was gracious enough to take this opportunity to help raise funds for the BZS marine education progammes and the Kids on the Reef [KOTR] programme. To date, the event has exceeded $20,000 in donations, with over $12,000 being committed through the event’s GoFundMe page.”
“Beth Neale is a three-time South African National Freediving Champion and African Continental Record Holder. She has now also completed the deepest certified freedive in Bermuda waters. Five years ago, her ocean conservation work brought her to Bermuda, where she has been a part of the Kids on the Reef programme.
“Beth also leads freediving camps, a five-day programme for children aged 8 to 15 years that immerses them in marine environmental education.”
Ms. Neale said, “It was incredible to be out there in the Big Bermuda Blue, with a support team of 20 people at the dive site, and others joining us out on the water that day. I have never been so relaxed for a record dive, and it was by far my best athletic performance.”
“Competitive freediving is far from my ‘mission’ in life, but it is a talent and discipline I have worked to develop. I have never been sponsored as an athlete or competed professionally – my focus is simply to use my athletic accomplishments to develop conservation initiatives in Bermuda and back home in Africa.”
A spokesperson said, “The BZS would like to extend special thanks to Butterfield & Vallis, Rubis and other donors who supported Beth and the BZS marine education programmes through this record breaking event.
“The BZS particularly thanks AXA XL, sponsors of the spring sessions of Kids on the Reef, and Hiscox, Bermuda Lionfish Taskforce, and the Neil Burnie Foundation for their commitment to the fall Kids on the Reef programme. The BZS would finally like to thank Alan Waring and Beth’s entire dive support team for their time and diligence in making this a successful and safe event.
“If you are interested in contributing towards supporting the BZS marine education programme, including Kids on the Reef, the GoFundMe page will remain open for a few more days.”
– Photos courtesy of Chris Burville