The Brooklyn, New York born magician and endurance artist, David Blaine broke the Guinness world record for breath-holding Wednesday by staying underwater for 17 minutes and 4 seconds on “The Oprah Winfrey Program.”
Oprah Winfrey was restless in her chair, pursing her lips, placing her head in her hands, and continuously seeking reassurance from the doctor at her side about Blaine’s persistently high heart rate, when the 35-year-old Blaine was scripting new world record. During a commercial break, she said the audience, "I'll be glad when it's over. I don't like suspense."
After Blaine filled his lungs with pure oxygen, his heart rate remained at 130 during the second minute of the breath-hold and then stayed above 100 for much of the time. It was 124 in the 15th minute. The higher the heart rate, the more quickly oxygen is consumed, and the more painful the carbon dioxide buildup. But apparently his CO2 tolerance training (repeated breath holds every morning) was just enough to compensate. In the last minute his heart rate became erratic and he got concerned enough to start rising from the bottom of the water-filled sphere, but he kept his head underwater more than a half minute longer than the old record of 16:32.
“I really thought I was not going to make it. At minute 12 I felt the pain coming, and by minute 14 it was overwhelming. This was a whole other level of pain. I still feel as if somebody hit me in the stomach with the hardest punch they could,” said Blaine after he set the new the Guinness world record.