Paralysed scuba diver from Grantham 'smashes' three world records with his biggest challenge yet
A paralysed scuba diver has broken three world records after completing a five-and-a-half hour dive.
Dan Metcalfe, from Grantham, scuba dived constantly for over five hours, covering a distance of more than 5km and setting three new world records in the process, subject to verification.
The 34-year-old took on the challenge on Wednesday at Stoney Cove Dive Centre, in Leicester, to increase awareness of scuba diving with a disability and to raise money for MAGPAS Air Ambulance, The Scuba Trust and Stoney Cove Dive Centre.
Dan completed the gruelling challenge with only his arms.
He cannot move his lower body following a motorcycle accident in June 2014, which was followed in 2018 by a second crash.
A car hit him while he was taking part in a 600-mile charity bike ride, leaving him with a compression at C4 in his neck.
Dan said: “The [world records] verification is going to take months, but we had a huge hiccup right at the beginning, so we’re not sure whether we’re going to get them verified or not.
“We’ve got the world records, but we’re not sure if they’re official Guinness World Records.
“We know that we’ve done it, I’ve got computer evidence, I’ve got 30 witnesses to say I’ve done it, we’ve got all the data and quite a lot of footage, but the main camera housing that I built to do the recording of this failed within less than a metre of water.”
Because of this, Dan’s main camera man sourced a number of GoPros and would film in 20-30 minute bursts before surfacing to change camera while the others had their batteries charged.
Dan continued: “It was mental. But we’re going to have some broken footage which is the problem. One of their rules is it has to be unbroken, so we’ll see what they say. We’ve got the records, we know what we’ve done it in.
“I’ve got two diving computers that have recorded everything I’ve done. It should be undisputable but we’ll see what they come back with.”
Dan believes he has set three world records, two of which are in Muscle Paralysis 2 MP2, Dan’s disability category.
The three records are:
- Fastest one mile scuba diving in fresh open water with a swimming band (the swimming band will be secured around his legs to ensure no movement);
- Fastest one mile scuba diving in fresh open water – MP2;
- Greatest distance scuba diving in fresh open water – MP2.
Dan said: “It feels absolutely amazing to have been able to do what we’ve done and the team that I had behind me was insane.
“It just shows to you how good people are, when it goes wrong right at the beginning like that, the whole team could have said the cameras aren’t working so let’s call it off and wait three months and resubmit the plans and do it again next year, but they didn’t.”
There were concerns that Dan would not have enough gas to complete the first mile, which was the fastest part of the dive, because it was for the mile record.
Dan said: “They weren’t sure if I’d have enough gas to last me and if it didn’t, I’d have to slow down. As it was, I just put the hammer down and went as fast as I could and absolutely smashed the time.
“They gave us two hours to do the mile and I did it in an hour and 28 minutes. Everybody that was on surface when I got out said they couldn’t believe how fast I was moving at the start.
“It was really good. The whole event feels really good. It’s an amazing feeling to come out and know I’ve done it.
“We did 5.246km in a total time of five hours and 32 minutes. We thought it was going to take six-and-a-half hours.”
Dan’s main cameraman, Rob Thomas, spent the same amount of time underwater as he did, and Dan gave him “massive credit”.
He added: “A massive thank you to my team. After the problem we had with the camera, everybody rallied together. A lot of them don’t even know each other. All the different dive groups and companies got together for one main goal, which is very rare to see.
“It’s by far the biggest challenge that I’ve ever done. There were two points under water where I thought, ‘I don’t think I can do this’ and it’s just one of those where you think about what you’re doing, you think about the people and the support you’ve got on surface and think ‘shut up and get on with it’.
“It’s a difficult place to be, in your head, as well as everything else, drinking under water, taking energy gels and changing cylinders under water.”
Dan is currently having a well-earned rest, but said that “there are plans in the future and they are big!”
He has currently raised more than £4,200 for his three chosen charities.
To donate, visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/wheelsdan
“We are flying at the moment,” he said. “It’s good but I want to smash the target [of £5,000] the same way that I’ve smashed the record.”