"Peace, love, tranquility, blue ..." Sofía repeats in her head as her body descends 100 meters under the water. As she goes out into the ocean, her vision becomes a little blurry.
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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Sofía Gómez is a freediving champion, world record holder, and highly trained athlete.
She was ten years old when she discovered her talent for synchronized swimming and water sports. Since then, she has not stopped her mermaid journey. Well-known names in the discipline, like Adam Stem, call her "the fastest rising star in freediving."
She holds six national records in three different freediving disciplines, including a Bolivarian Games record set at the 2013 Games in Trujillo. Although she grew up in Pereira, a city in Colombia that is far from the sea, she always felt a connection with the water thanks to her mother, who comes from the coast of the same country.
During an interview with the Deeper Blue podcast, Sofía spoke about her childhood and how much she loved visiting her grandmother's house near the beach when she was little. Back then, she was afraid of big waves and wondered if they would drown her and her sister. However, both sisters would enter the water. Like the brave girl that she was, Sofía learned to swim since she was little so as not to be afraid of the sea.
The athlete began to compete as a hobby. However, her trainer also saw Sofía's potential and encouraged her to go to freediving competitions. During her first competition in her sport in 2010, she broke two national records. The record holder told Deeper Blue that she is surprised that she did so well in her first competition when she didn't even know how to breathe properly.
In 2014 she decided to focus on freediving. A video of the athlete that went viral is the one in which she throws herself into the abyss with no apparent effort. An outstanding recognition that has earned Sofía the qualification as Athlete of the Year in Colombia, along with proposals for incredible commercial and magazine campaigns.
Sofía also confessed to Deeper Blue that she had an injury, what freedivers call a "lung squeeze," a few months ago. The incident made her reconsider what she wanted to do as a diver because she no longer enjoyed it. She wasn't even eager to break new records or dive deeper. Overwhelmed by the expectations of the people around her, she took a break.
Additionally, because of the CORONAVIRUS, Sofía had to be out of the water for four months. During this time, she reconnected with her passion and realized how much she missed diving. She began to enjoy the water again without the levels of stress and pressure that she had to go through before.
Her dream now is to go deeper. Sofía wants to break her own record and reach more than 100 meters deep. What makes Sofía so unique is that she always listens to her body, heart, and soul. During the podcast, when asked about a moment that she feels is definitive of her connection to the ocean, Sofía recalled a beautiful experience of her when she was training in Dominica.
While she was diving, Sofia saw something floating in the water and thought that maybe it was a plastic bag. But, when she started to approach and swim towards the creature, she saw a baby turtle. Her heart was pounding with excitement. She always wanted to see one. Just by looking the sea creature directly into the eyes, Sofía felt a special connection, a miracle that words cannot describe. To make the experience more epic, the turtle approached her and perched on Sofía's shoulder.
The Colombian freediver feels a deep love for the ocean and animals. For Sofía, her job is not about how deep you can go into the ocean, but how deep you can connect with your inner self to forget about fear and be amazed at the things you can do. And this is the powerful message of her through practice turned into passion.