Busto Arsizio, Italy


Photographer: Stefano Borghi

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Italian Umberto Pelizzari is one of the world’s greatest freedivers. Born in 1965, through the 1990s and early 2000s he established world records across every freediving discipline. Since retiring from competing in 2001, he has dedicated his life to sharing his diving knowledge and calling for the world to take better care of its seas. Through Apnea Academy, his freediving training agency based in Busto Arsizio, a town near Milan in northern Italy, Umberto (below right) runs courses in swimming pools, at sea, in schools and research centres. Drawing on techniques from yoga and sophrology – a way of thinking that believes physical and mental exercises can be used to focus both the mind and the body – his lessons explore the mental side of diving more than its physical aspects.