Text & Photo | The World Underwater Federation (CMAS)
Alejandro Lemus Nava managed to break 3 world records on 23rd, 24th and 25th of January, 2020 in the following modalities: Variable Weight with Monofin – 83 metres; Variable Weight – 94 metres and Constant Weight – 82 metres. The records were validated by judges Jaime Moreno (Colombia) and Chris McKay (Australia) as representatives of CMAS International, in addition to some tests by WADA.
Ranked among the best in this specialty for six years, Lemus Nava dived in one of the most representative bodies of water in Cenotillo – the Ucil Cenote.
Prior to the first dive, the presence of a Charùa, or Mayan priest, was requested to bless the athlete and ask permission from the cenote according to local customs. At the end of the ceremony some Mayan dancers sang the song of Xibalbá to the cenote; this is from the Mayan cosmovision and refers to the underworld, which is governed by divinities and where the souls travel when they die and from where life springs. Locals more often than not fear them as a gateway, black hole or whirlpool.
Although there are currently more than 3,000 cenotes registered in the peninsula, Ucil Cenote was chosen by the athlete because it meets international requirements for this record with 94 metres of operable depth in crystalline waters.
Alejandro is a pioneer explorer in the cenotes of Mexico. For the first time in 2003 he realized that the cenotes were the perfect place to train for competitive apnea and since then he dedicated his time to exploring them, striving to raise awareness among the different local communities towards the cenotes and water conservation. It is a source of personal pride to have these wonderful natural pools and underground rivers on his home soil – a treasure to cherish and protect.
This event adds an important mission in addition to the sporting one: the care and preservation of our natural resources, as local and global communities. Many institutions and groups joined forces to convey to the local communities of the Yucatán the importance of maintaining these unique spaces in the world in the best possible conditions. These institutions included IDEY, government agencies the Secretariat of Tourism Development and the Secretariat of Sustainable Development; environmental education associations Centinelas del Agua AC and the Bepensa Foundation, the freediving community, athletes, sponsors and organisers.
About Alejandro Lemus Nava
Mexican athlete, hydro-biologist and underwater explorer; Alejandro organizes an annual Apnea in Cenotes competition: Xibalba International Competition, which receives competitors from several countries.
Alejandro teaches courses at all levels and trains instructors through the Lemus Underwater School, in Valladolid, eastern Yucatán. He is affiliated with the most important agencies in the world and is also an instructor for scuba diving and cave diving.