We The Italians | Italian sport: Alessia Zecchini, the queen of the deep

Italian sport: Alessia Zecchini, the queen of the deep

Italian sport: Alessia Zecchini, the queen of the deep

  • WTI Magazine #173 Mar 16, 2024
  • 1194

There is an Italian girl who for many years has been compared to Queen Atlanna, the character played by Nicole Kidman in Aquaman, the successful film directed by James Wan. Her name is Alessia Zecchini, she is 31 years old, born in Rome, and is a diver by profession.

Alessia is a kind of mermaid who descends into the abyss with incredible ease and has lungs as big as a cetacean's, because when she starts to go to the bottom of the sea, she seems to stop no more. She can hold her breath even for four minutes and when she emerges from the water she always has a smile on her face that conveys joy to those who witness her extraordinary feats.

Alessia is an athlete who has taken her body beyond human limits, and her feats were unthinkable only a few decades ago. A true phenomenon of the deep, in a ten-year international career Alessia has dominated waters around the world, finding few rivals in her path on all five continents.  

Her passion for diving began at a very young age: by the age of only 13 she had already obtained her official freediving certification and began to descend into the depths of the Tyrrhenian Sea, even if only a few meters. But the call of the darkness of the abyss was already strong and at only 20 years old she joined the Italian national indoor and outdoor freediving team, participating in the first international competitions around the world.

Alessia's achievements over the years are truly incredible. Her palmares consists of 43 golds between World Championships, European Championships other international competitions, and a total of 64 medals including silvers and bronzes. Most importantly, the Roman athlete has already set 38 indoor and outdoor world records in freediving in her career. An impressive number of records that few in other sports have managed to collect during their entire career.

Today, Alessia is still the woman who has reached the most extreme depth in the world, -123 meters in constant buoyancy with a monofin, a record set in 2023 in the Camotes Islands, Philippines. To get to that depth, she stayed almost four minutes holding her breath, a skill that makes even a fish envious.

Four years earlier, in 2019, she became the first woman in the world to descend to -100 using only her arms, during the "Nirvana Oceanquest" in Curaçao, in the Duych Antilles. And in the same year, to show what an extraordinary athlete Alessia is, she set six more world records.

In 2017, to tell about another incredible performance of hers, in Milazzo, Sicily, she set a world record in dynamic apnea without gear with 181 meters.

A true queen of the seas who has become a world star in freediving, she has a winning mentality envied by every athlete, because with every record she manages to break, she starts again with her head down to work with the goal of surpassing herself again. She is a nearly unbeatable athlete, and her life of hard physical and psychological work was chronicled in a beautiful Netflix documentary, "The Deepest Breath," which leaves everyone breathless as they witness her unique feats in the deep seas around the world.