A deep-water free-diver from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, died after participating in a tournament in the Bahamas Sunday.
Thirty-two-year-old Nicholas Mevoli had reached the 72-meter depth of the dive and swam back to the surface when he had difficulty breathing and lost consciousness, according to AIDA, a Switzerland-based worldwide diving federation.
Mevoli's sister, Jennifer Sharpe, told the Associated Press that while her brother was relatively new to the sport, it was already a huge part of his life.
"Going down in the water, it was in his heart, in his soul," she said. "I mean, he made the USA record for men's free-diving within his first year of diving."
Freedivers, unlike scuba divers, enter the water without air tanks, regulators and hoses and swim to various depths relying entirely on the air held in their lungs.
The nine-day International Free Diving Competition brought 56 free divers from 21 countries who were competing for a $20,000 prize. The contest took place at Dean's Blue Hole, which is considered the world's deepest underwater sinkhole in seawater.