High School Student Reaches Highest, Lowest Points in Slovenia in Single Day

By Lidija Pisker, Special to The Epoch Times
September 19, 2018 Updated: September 19, 2018

Mojca Haberman, a high school student from the small Slovenian town of Vuzenica, has collected many awards for her extracurricular activities that range from sports to music.

But her favorite achievement by far is one she accomplished just a couple of weeks ago: Climbing to the highest point and free diving to the lowest point in Slovenia on the same day. Haberman made the attempt on Sept. 9, two years after the seed of the idea was planted by her coach.

The challenge, which she dubbed “Two breaths, two Triglavs in one day,” involved climbing Mt. Triglav, the highest Slovenian peak at 2,864 meters (9,396 feet), and free diving to the lowest point in the Adriatic Sea, dubbed the “underwater Triglav,” which, at around 38 meters (125 feet) below sea level, is Slovenia’s lowest underwater spot.

Mojca Haberman Triglav
Slovenian high school student Mojca Haberman (2-L) on top of Triglav in the Julian Alps, along with a group of friends on Sept. 9, 2018. (Vasja Bocko)

“It was a great experience,” Haberman, who’s in her final year of high school, told The Epoch Times. The excitement of accomplishing the feat far outweighed any feeling of fatigue after such a demanding day, she said.

The Dare

After climbing Triglav, the highest mountain in the Julian Alps, along with her coach and a group of friends, Haberman headed for the town of Piran, along the Adriatic coast. Once she dived in, she reached the lowest point in one minute and 28 seconds, overcoming some poor visibility in the sea.

“Amazing, I feel great,” the 18-year-old said, describing her feeling after the feat.

Haberman is involved in a number of sports, including skiing, gymnastics, and running. But she says free diving—a technique of underwater diving that relies on breath-holding rather than the use of breathing apparatus—is her true passion.

Mojca Habermas free diving
Slovenian high school student Mojca Haberman says she feels most at ease when she is in the water. (Nik Skrlec)

“I feel an absolute freedom when I’m in the water. There’s nothing like a free-fall in the sea,” Haberman said.

That is why it was harder for her to climb the mountain peak, which is a much more common adventure sport among Slovenians, than diving to the bottom of the Adriatic.

“Anyone who thinks the sky is the limit has limited imagination,” she recently wrote on her Instagram account, along with posting a photo of herself diving in the sea with her monofin—a type of swim fin used for free diving that makes the diver resemble a mermaid. Her personal record is a depth of 63 meters (206 feet), which she reached in Egypt last year.

The Next Challenge

Haberman is a member of the growing team of the Ljubljana-based free diving club Inhale Blue, which aims to promote a sport that is still unknown to many Slovenians. Tadej Cernos, a trainer at Inhale Blue and Haberman’s coach, describes her as extremely talented and very unique.

“Haberman is an exceptional person and a top athlete,” Cernos said.

It was Cernos who first gave Haberman the “Two Triglavs” idea. Two years ago, when Haberman accomplished her then-personal dive record of 40 meters (131 feet), he told her she had reached Slovenia’s lowest point. She mentioned that to her father, and a vague idea soon morphed into a concrete plan to reach the highest and lowest points on the same day.

“I like to challenge my body,” Haberman said, who adds that she is always fascinated by what the human body is capable of.

After graduating from high school next May, Haberman said she would like to start her university studies in either sports physical therapy or kinesiology, a science of human movement.

Her next challenge is to improve her personal record and to become a serious contender to her friend Alenka Artnik, a Slovenian free diver who currently holds the world record for the deepest dive at 105 meters (345 feet).

“I want to test my body as much as I can,” Haberman said.