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Paraplegic Scuba Diver Attempts Three Underwater World Records

He swam for more than 5 hours with only his hands.
By Tiffany Duong | Updated On October 28, 2022
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Paraplegic Scuba Diver Attempts Three Underwater World Records

Diver takes a selfie.

Dan Metcalf takes a topside selfie.

Courtesy Image


That was the word that Dan Metcalfe, from Grantham in Lincolnshire in the UK, used to describe his journey as a paraplegic scuba diver striving to reach new depths. Left with no muscle use from his chest downwards after a June 2014 motorbike accident, he now believes he has set three Guinness World Records.

In late September, Metcalfe and his support team took on three fresh open water scuba records in Metcalfe’s disability category—Muscle Paralysis 2 (MP2)—at Stoneycove Diving Centre in Leicestershire. The diver swam 17,211 ft underwater without surfacing, which he believes is the greatest distance attempted in open water by a paraplegic diver. To do so, he dove to a depth of 19 to 26 feet and swam propelled by only his arms. He took water and energy gels at intervals and swapped air cylinders, all while staying below 19 feet. He completed the course in 5 hr 32 mins, well ahead of his projected 6 hr 30 min.

During the same voyage, Metcalfe also attempted two other open water MP2 scuba records: fastest one-mile swim and fastest one-mile swim with a swimming band. Per Guinness rules, the band was secured around Metcalfe’s legs to ensure no movement.

The latter two record attempts faced challenges when the waterproof casing for the camera filming the challenge flooded. Without proper documentation, the Guinness World Records might not recognize the attempt.

"It was a rather stressful moment," Metcalfe said. "It was sorted by the amazing team. They all worked together as one team for a common goal and that was to get a load of GoPro cameras into the water."

He and his team must wait for confirmation from Guinness World Records to see if he’s achieved his goals. Confirmation could take up to 12 weeks, the company said.

"It'll be an amazing feeling to say that I haven't just got one, I've got three Guinness World Records.”

Metcalfe hopes his achievements will increase awareness of scuba diving with a disability and raise £5,000, to be split between the MAGPAS Air Ambulance—which responded to his life-changing motorcycle accident in 2014 and which he credits with his survival— andThe Scuba Trust, which supports Metcalfe and other divers with disabilities, and Stoney Cove Dive Center, to build new changing facilities for disabled divers. In describing his journey, he said, "I've met some of the most amazing people that I will ever have the privilege to work with."