France, UK and Egypt
"Depth is a constant reminder of the concept of trust, trusting the adaptation, the body and the mind, and how the body-mind can adapt and change if there is a will."
Simona Auteri has been captivated by the ocean since she can remember. Born and raised in Genova, a harbour town in the north of Italy, she spent her childhood in the water, between agonistic swimming and summers at the beach. At an early age, she fell in love with the coral reefs of the Red Sea during a familiar trip. However, it was in her teenage years that the started exploring other sides of the sea through competitive sailing.
She went on to study at the Academy of Architecture and live in many different cities, which set aside her passion for the sea. But in 2015, after undergoing surgery for Endometriosis, she realized how much she was missing nature and sports, and so she started traveling solo in her free time.
Simona went on new adventures across Central America, where she took part in volunteering programs, reconnected with nature, and met many inspiring people. And, even though this gave her plenty of memories to look back on, her life changed in January 2018, when she discovered her true passion out of a coincidence. She was planning to visit the north of the Philippines, but due to a hurricane, she ended up traveling to the islands in the south, specifically Camiguin.
There, she found accommodation in what happened to be a freediving center, but at that time, she was not fond of the sport because of a recent loss of a friend to the sea. However, the instructor arouse her curiosity by teaching her how to equalize her ears. Turns out, she was “Hands-Free”! She did not need to pinch her nose and blow air in order to equalize them; she could do it on command.
The instructor challenged her to dive down, and she did: she went -6m on a single breath for the first time. When she surfaced, her world had changed.
After this experience, she went on to look for freediving courses, starting in London. And her formation continued even through COVID-19, in Nice and Egypt. She dived with champions like Arnauld Gerald and Walid Boudiaf, and soon, she started taking part in competitions.
The first one was in Dahab (Egypt), where she came in Second after Alice Modolo with a depth of 67, 68, and 69m in CWT. Then the first Aida National Records in Sharm El Sheikh at Freediving World Sharm in May 2021, diving at a depth of 68m in CWTb. In May 2022, in Sharm El Sheikh, she validated 88m in CWT monofin, winning first place.
Then, Simona got a call from Michele Tomasi, the coach of the Italian National Team who she had met during competitions, and who invited her to compete at the Italian Championships at Lake Garda. Soon after accepting, she announced two Freshwater World Records for CMAS, which she broke on September 3rd and 4th, 2022, also winning the two Italian Champion Titles for the year, with a dive in -75m CWT and -71m CWTB.
At the Kas Baska World Cup, just ahead of the World Championships, she won gold diving at -91 with her monofin and bronze by diving at -75m with her fins.
Freediving allowed Simona to explore her passion for the ocean and connect with nature, which has translated into other aspects of her life. For example, in 2019, she spent a month volunteering on a scientific research project to Nosy Be, with the Madagascar Whale Shark Project, and she continues to collaborate with them since then.
Most recently, her constant activity in the sea has made her a witness to the plastic pollution that lies on beaches and shorelines. This issue motivated her to save some time of her water sessions to clean up the beach with the help of some locals.