Former USC Swimmer Clears WR in Underwater 50 Meter Swim

  27 Braden Keith | November 28th, 2012 | Featured, Masters, News

Jordie Proffitt, a former college swimmer who swam two years at Alabama before transferring to USC in 2003, has broken the World Record for a 50-meter swim underwater in a 25 meter course, according to the Henderson, Kentucky newspaper the Gleaner.

This record is different from the official ones we see in Finswimming record books as Proffitt did it without any sort of fins in 27.86. That destroyed the old World Record that was set in 2008 by Andrew Vonasch in 32.68. Vonasch was a former swimmer at Ponoma College.

Proffitt did his swim at Louisville’s pool in a masters meet; the tactic is not legal in standard competitive swimming, but this particular record is kept by Guinness so they could still ratify it. It will not be official until that happens.

Editor’s note: swimming 50 meters underwater can potentially be dangerous – we recommend that you seek medical and professional advice before attempting.

Of course, swim fans will remember the famous 23.10 underwater 50 set by Texas swimmer Hill Taylor in a 2008 meet, and that was done in long course meters. It’s not clear whether, when completely submerged, having a turn is as much of an advantage as it would be in standard swimming, but one would imagine that Taylor could have cleared 27 seconds if he attempted this in a short course pool. See the video of Taylor’s swim below, called by our own Garrett McCaffrey back in the FloSwimming days.


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27 Comments on "Former USC Swimmer Clears WR in Underwater 50 Meter Swim"

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jeff gustavson
3 years 10 months ago

Should be an Olympic event

3 years 10 months ago

They used to have underwater swimming in the Olympics around like 1900 but it was so terrible to watch that they got rid of it

3 years 10 months ago

I’ve seen Ryan Lochte go a 23.5 in a 50 LC underwater. This was done in warm up the day before the 2011 Austin Grand Prix.

3 years 10 months ago

32.6 was the world record? someone should have told me, that must have been the easiest world record to break in the universe!

3 years 10 months ago

Underwater turns are pretty slow, but that still would have been an easy record to break.

3 years 10 months ago

Is this article a joke? There are – besides me – probably tens of thousands of swimmers who can swim below 27.8 50 underwater SCM and hundreds of thousands who can do it in under 32 secs. Take any D1 college team and all the men and women will blow past it.

3 years 10 months ago

FINA should encourage Guinness to remove this event record from their books and any attempts to break it should receive no acknowledgement whatsoever.

3 years 10 months ago


Coach GB
3 years 10 months ago

Swimming underwater is dangerous why do you think they brought the breastroke on top after the 56 games. Ask people who have seen people pass out and has affected some. It is dumb and irrelevant to swimming underwater like that.

3 years 10 months ago

A 100 meter underwater with no breath at the turn sounds potentially dangerous, and maybe that’s what they swam in the 56 games, but how much more dangerous is a 50 meter underwater compared with a regular 50 meter swim with no breath??

3 years 5 months ago

I’m not a competitive swimmer but as someone who practices freediving I think your assessment of the danger here is overblown. As long as you have a properly trained coach or buddy to rescue you. A shallow water blackout isn’t as serious as you may think, and the blackout isn’t as deep as that of a drowning victim–the BO swimmer may still be able to hear for example. Also the laryngospasm reaction is likely to keep the throat sealed and prevent water from entering the lungs.

About hyperventilation, there is no good reason to do it. It just allows the swimming to delay CO2 build up contractions which leads to a false self-assessment of one’s oxygen level. It’s much better to do CO2 tolerance training and static underwater training in order to adapt to the discomfort.

sentient being
3 years 10 months ago

its only 50 meters… its laughable that you have to say its dangerous unless you add -“for non experienced swimmers”

3 years 10 months ago

What?? how about this? lochte’s 20.8 scm is close to the 50 free record, so this must be a fake or this is scy.

3 years 10 months ago

I thought the exact same thing! As far as I’m concerned THAT 20.8 is the World record.

3 years 10 months ago

Except it looks like he breathes at the turn….

3 years 10 months ago

*Small typo, I believe that’s Pomona College, as Ponoma turned up no results 😀

Kirk Nelson
3 years 10 months ago

Watching submarine races has always good entertainment!

Andrew Vonasch
3 years 10 months ago

Hi, this used to be my record. Congrats to Jordie. I was expecting someone to break it since my time wasn’t super fast for people who dolphin kick. I did it with underwater breaststroke pullouts, not dolphin kicking. Guinness also requires it to be swum from a push, not a dive. And the whole swim has to be underwater, including the turn. That means the turn is a little awkward and slow. And yes, I swam for Pomona College, not Ponoma.

3 years 10 months ago

that explains a lot and actually that time is impressive if it’s breaststroke pullouts/frog kick.

3 years 10 months ago

alright…now that we have a rules clarification…SwimSwam…i say you find and film a new World guys must know someone that could beat this. make it a race, winner gets the world record.

2 years 3 months ago


1 year 6 months ago

Who is the oldest simmer to swim 50-yards underwater , without fins, with one breath?

Kent Craig
1 year 2 months ago

I’m 56 and I just did it again on August 1, 2015. I’ve done it at least once per year since I was 14 years old.

YouTube –

I’ve easily done it over 100 times. I once did it 5 times in a day, because people kept showing up who didn’t believe it could be done. Seeing is believing. In my lifetime, I’ve heard many people claim they could do it, but I’ve never seen anyone else do it in person. Heard tons of excuses. LOL

1 month 18 days ago

Why FINA do not recognize the 50m dolphin kick, the fifth style. This is only 45m apnea with dive. No dangerous!


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The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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