About Kathryn

About Kathryn

Kathryn Nevatt has been freediving since 2005. She has worked her way from absolute beginner to one of the world’s best and has sat at or near the top of the world rankings every year since 2008 despite being an amateur diver with a full-time career in Architecture. Freediving is a big part of her lifestyle, keeping her fit, healthy, balanced and calm in daily life.

Kathryn has held a multitude of New Zealand and Oceanic records in all six competition events as well as a world record in Dynamic without fins and World Champion in static apnea. She still holds National Records in all the pool disciplines and no longer competes in depth events, instead she spends the summer deep diving months providing coaching and safety diving services to her club buddies in Lake Wakatipu.

Kathryn is reigning Pan Pacific Champion. In Japan in 2018 she won all three disciplines at the Pan Pacific Champs to regain her 2015 title.

In Lignano, Italy at the AIDA Indoor World Champs in 2011 she became World Champion in Static Apnea, won silver in Dynamic without fins and placed 4th in Dynamic Apnea. She was recognised as runner up to the World’s Best Female Freediver for 2011.

In 2008 and 2009 she set four unofficial and one official world record in the distance-based pool event of Dynamic without fins, swimming underwater breaststroke 159m on a single breath and was published in the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records (as Kathryn McPhee). At the 2009 indoor world championships in Denmark she won medals in all three events. Kathryn was voted “World’s best female freediver of 2008” in the ICARE awards. She has a breath hold of over 7 and a half minutes and has dived to a depth of 65m.

Kathryn is also a D-Level AIDA International judge.

Kathryn is a member of the Queenstown Freediving Club (join them on Facebook), diving, coaching and organising national competitions and local trips. The club trains regularly at Alpine Aqualand and occasionally at the Wanaka Pool.

Kathryn ran the very successful Lazy Seal Freediving Club in Wellington from 2005 to 2009 and then the Breathtakers Freediving Club from 2011-2015. There she taught most of the new members to dive and helped with coaching of the more serious divers and organised competitions and trips away. She has offered her remote coaching service since 2008 and has had successes with all students achieving personal bests, setting new national records and winning medals at world champs.

Kathryn is excited about bringing the sport of freediving to the Queenstown Lakes District and encourages you to make contact if you are interested in learning more about the sport, regardless of your background or ability.

Personal Bests:

DNF: 165m 25/8/2014 – NR
DYN: 200m 9/6/2018 – NR=
STA: 7’45” 28/10/2016 – NR
CWT: -65m 10/4/2008
CNF: -52m 7/4/2009
FIM: -58m 5/9/2009
(WR = world record, NR = national record)

Kathryn is featured in the short film The Breath Connection, find out more...


In the next year I would like to:

  • Set a new high level record in the new event Dynamic bi-fins
  • Turn from the 200m mark in dynamics.
  • Hold my breath for over 8 minutes
  • Touch the end of the 7th length in dynamic without fins (175m).
  • National and Pan Pacific Champion
  • Support at least a couple of club members down to the bottom of the Club rope (just past 50m)
  • Discover more of the local Central Otago underwater environment
  • Go diving somewhere warm!

Freediving Disciplines

Static Apnea (STA) breath hold time in the pool, lying face down
Dynamic Apnea (DYN) distance swum in pool on a single breath, usually in a monofin
Dynamic Apnea Bi-fins (DYN-BI) distance swum in pool on a single breath wearing bi-fins (new event added 2019). Dolphin kick is not allowed.
Dynamic without fins (DNF) distance swum in pool on a single breath without the use of fins, normally doing underwater breaststroke.
Constant weight (CWT) depth dived to and returned from on a single breath, usually in a monofin, the diver follows a rope but can not pull on it except for at the turn and must return to the surface with the same equipment they left with
Constant weight Bi-fins (CWT-BI) Constant weight wearing bi-fins (new event added 2019). Dolphin kick is not allowed.
Constant weight without fins (CNF) as above but without the use of fins, doing breaststroke.
Free Immersion (FIM) depth dived without fins but the diver pulls themself down and back up the rope
Variable Weight (VAR) non-competition event where the diver goes as deep as possible but may drop weight at the bottom for an easier descent and ascent
No Limits non-competition event where the diver rides a sled as deep as they can and then fills an air bag to ride back to the surface as seen on the film “The Big Blue”