Sayed Shaaban poses for a photograph.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Sayed Shaaban, a 21-year young swimmer from Ismailia, Egypt has set the world record for the highest jump out of water wearing a monofin, recording an impressive 2.30 m jump, ending a 9-year monopoly on the record.
The Civil Engineering student followed steps of fellow Egyptian, Soliman Sayed, from the same city of Ismailia along with two Italian nationals Cesare Fumarola and Stefano Figini who kept the record at 2m since 2011.
Monofins look like a ‘mermaid’s tail’ and swimming with them is considered a niche sport. It is a type of swim fin typically used in underwater sports such as fin swimming, free-diving and underwater orienteering.
Omar firstly gathered attention when he was 8 years old by his coach Farouk Al Akhras as he entered the local swimming school at the rowing club in Ismailia. A year later, he joined Suez Canal Club in the same city before spending 12 more years there, many of those as a professional sprinter swimmer.
In fact, those Instagram-friendly tails have changed the way Omar eats, sleeps and trains as well. A dolphin-like excellence requires Omar to train three times a day, two of them in water, with a gym session in-between.
“I practise to increase my limb beat frequency and obtain stiffer muscles, but my aim is never to bulk up,” said Shaaban. “Bigger muscles make it hard to sprint in water, so I work out to maintain cutting cycle, increase flexibility, enhance muscle reflexes and of course build stronger legs.”
“As a sprinter, I understand that even thinking burns oxygen, so I tend to focus on the present moment. Part of our training is to learn how to be extremely relaxed inside the water,” added the 21-year-old.
A global voting ranked Omar as the second fastest swimmer in the world – junior. He currently holds three world medals (2 silvers and a bronze), and he achieved this record during a 3-month training programme for another upcoming championship.
“Swimming is peaceful. A rush of unexplainable thoughts crosses your mind underwater, but it certainly different and healing,” said Omar.
The young Egyptian swimmer tells GWR he feels so proud with the recognition received following his achievement. Omar can cross 50 meters underwater on one breath in only 15.6 seconds, and 100 meters using a snorkel in 35.5 seconds.
Omar hopes to train in better conditions with full focus on the world record and raise the bar higher on it to keep the title as long as he possibly can. One of his dreams is moving from where he is currently ranked second to hold the title of fastest swim sprinter in the world. He is just a couple of milliseconds away from achieving this.
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