• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

South African Sportsman drowns holding breath

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


Desk Driver
Dec 6, 2001
Shit. Why am I always the on to communicate bad news? Deepest sympathy to friends and family.

Johannesburg - South Africa lost one of its best underwater hockey players at the weekend when Morkel Swart drowned while practising to hold his breath under water.

Swart, an art director at an advertising agency in Sandton, and a friend, Jessey Beyers were visiting Ernerst Schmidt's farm Kiepersol near Hazyview in Mpumalanga at the weekend.

Schmidt said on Monday Swart was doing his usual exercises, trying to hold his breath under water for as long as possible.

He did this while using weights and wearing a mask with a stopwatch.

"Morkel could easily hold his breath for four-and-a-half minutes," Schmidt said.

"We listened to him becoming quiet under the water, but every time he popped back up."

About 20:00 Swart remained unusually long under the water. Schmidt and Beyers found his inert body on the bottom of the pool.

He was unconscious and had no pulse when they took him out of the water.

Beyers tried to resuscitate him while Schmidt called the emergency services. Swart was declared dead by 22:00.

According to the stopwatch, Swart had been underwater for eight minutes.

Stephan Woodborne, an underwater hockey coach, said Swart's death was a loss to the country. He had been chosen to represent South Afica in New Zealand later this year.

Originally found on News 24
Damn, it looks like it's been a bad week. A spearo went missing in Queensland yesterday and the police have called off the search. The guy was only 31.....

As you said - deepest sympathies all round.
Was Morkel Swart training in the pool on his own???????

Man that is a real shame and goes to show the dangers of this sport/lifestyle.

Please guys be careful!!!!

Underwater breathholding without a completely attentive and focused spotter makes the difference between a fun, educational, good training experience and death! Why even try it without a spotter. Your either going to die, or the fear of dying is going to keep it from being a productive session anyway.

Just have some friends in the same pool is not good enough. We all need to learn from this!
  • Like
Reactions: donmoore
Its always sad to hear events like that. We have to be carefull and teach how to be carefull!

my deepest sympathies..
  • Like
Reactions: donmoore
I'm not even a Spearo. The idea of killing for sport is a real turn-off to me. Oh yeah. I admit it. I'm NOT a vegetarian.

I just found out that SWBO can indeed happen in a swimming pool. I've been Freediving since age 8--became serious in my teens.
I knew both Static and Dynamic could produce BOs. I've friends BO doing Depth in the ocean. Thank the Good Lord somebody always rescued them.

I had one BO back in 1975 practicing Static dry. It was a horrible experience. I promised myself NEVER AGAIN!

Until a few days ago, I never knew SWBO was a possibility in a 12-foot pool. I thought of SWBO as a deep water phenomenon. At least 100 feet. Strictly the province of ocean divers.

DUH!!! Deep Sea Training. Ahem.

Not to mention Paul Burgess just told me it's a real possibility at 30 feet!
I figured from now on I'd dive only on full lungs to the bottom of that 12 feet. Then my good buddy Paul suggested "Never do apnea in water alone."
I've had "friends" who didn't want me to do Freediving because I enjoyed it, and I was more talented than they were. NOW I have friends who get scared when I dive--because they're concerned about my SAFETY.

What's a girl to DO when she's had 3 dive buddies in 3 years?

NUMBER ONE: an 11-year-old student who followed me around for 2 months, begging for lessons "to be a good diver, like you." I showed her simple skills, with the lifeguard in attendance. UNTIL HE COULDN'T STAND IT AND MADE AN EXCUSE TO JOIN THE DIVE SESSION!!! I never held my breath in front of that 11-year-old for more than 1:15. I never mentioned having gone past 4 minutes--EVER!

NUMBER TWO: a 15-year-old student wanting to improve his skills in the few days before the school year started. We had all of 3 dive sessions.

Both improved considerably during those times we dove. I honestly think I learned more. NEVER AGAIN DID I WANT TO SET A BAD EXAMPLE BY PUSHING THE ENVELOPE.

Contractions mean: Surface! Lactic burn means: Surface! SAMBA means: Take a break, and re-evaluate the exercise that led to the SAMBA.

Until I see my NUMBER THREE dive buddy again (a college student I just met who dives at a similar level to mine, and also SCUBA-s) there will be no more Deep Sea Training.
Even if ALL my doctors approve. And they DO!!! I have their ORDERS to Freedive. (Including Deep Sea)

NO 7s or 7+s in the POOL!!! My docs have limited me to 6--WET.
I'm told, "Stay under 10--DRY."
I've decided to limit myself to 150 feet in Dynamic. I'm a very slow swimmer, preferring a relaxed style, and I promised the YMCA staff--so they won't worry.
And of course--NO DEEP SEA TRAINING---------alone. That'll be the hard part. I ADORE DEEP SEA TRAINING.

Still, after reading stories like this one, and Ziad's recent SWBO death, I have NO desire to bring that kind of sorrow to ANYONE.

I'm a CHRISTIAN. It would be wonderful for ME... to find myself suddenly with my LORD... diving in the Crystal Sea, the River of Life--Eternally. Glorious.... For me.
For those I'd leave behind...It would be nothing but CRUEL and SELFISH to carelessly drown myself just for a new PB in the pool. Because I didn't have a spotter or a buddy.
Also a sucky Witness.
WaterRat, who's maxed in the pool already, and will find new creative (SAFE!) ways to Freedive when alone--:)
Terrible News :(


DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing


ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2024 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.