The Reacher: 17-year-old Boris Milosic's extreme love of water | Sport Diver

The Reacher: 17-year-old Boris Milosic's extreme love of water

Milosic training in Tauchturm Seiersberg, a diving tank in Austria

Courtesy Boris Milosic

Boris Milosic looks like Pac-Man, his jaw chomping bites of air. With fingertips balanced lightly on the side of Pristan Pool in Maribor, Slovenia, he’s readying for a breath-hold event by packing oxygen into his lungs. Milosic closes his mouth and slowly dunks his head. And holds it there for the next six minutes and seven seconds. At 16, Milosic wins a distinction with the International Association for the Development of Apnea: the youngest person on Earth with such a static — or nonswimming — record.

That was a year ago. Now 17, Milosic says, “I’ve been free-diving since I was 7, I just didn’t know it had a name.” He grew up in Rogoznica, a small, Croatian resort town where fishing boats and yachts contend for seaside real estate.

Four years ago, he discovered a community devoted to breath-holding, learning the basics by logging hours in a local pool. Soon Milosic attracted the attention of Branko Petrovic, who began teaching the teen more-advanced moves, including lung stretches.

The challenge, says Milosic, is largely mental. “I know I can do more and that I will do more, so that is the reason I do.”

As for what holds his attention underwater, Milosic says, “I close my eyes, and sometimes I think about my heart beating to help relax.” Then he adds, “And sometimes I think about school or girls.”

It’s a reminder that Milosic is still a kid — one who’s just getting started.

Aire Eder

Boris Milosic

» Age when certified: 13

» Level of certification: Open Water

» Hometown/school: Rogoznica, Croatia

» Dream Dive Location: The Bahamas — the water is warm and there are fish all around. I definitely want to go to the Blue Hole.

» Who I Most Want to Free-Dive With: Branko Petrovic can stay at 100 feet for five-and-a-half minutes — he won a gold medal. And William Trubridge; he’s a big inspiration.