The use of the term to describe breath-hold diving should be recognized as late 20th century in origin, which has been popularly expanded to apply to earlier diving activities. The bibliography of diving history clearly indicates that the term free diving had already been used in the early 1950s by American users of self-contained compressed air breathing equipment to describe their type of diving which is not constrained by connection to a surface air supply, and where the diver has approximately neutral buoyancy and is free to move in three dimensions, although it was probably French in origin, featuring in the title sequence of the Cousteau film Epaves .
Freediving, free-diving, or free diving is a form of underwater diving that relies on divers ability to hold their breath until resurfacing rather than on the use of a breathing apparatus such as scuba gear. Recognised examples of freediving activities include traditional fishing techniques, competitive and non-competitive freediving, competitive and non-competitive spearfishing and freediving photography, synchronized swimming, underwater football, underwater rugby, underwater hockey, underwater hunting other than spearfishing, underwater target shooting and snorkeling. The term freediving is often associated with competitive breath-hold diving or competitive apnea. However, while some regard freediving as a specific group of underwater activities, for others it is merely a synonym for breath-hold diving. The activity that attracts the most public attention is the extreme sport of competitive apnea in which competitors attempt to attain great depths, times, or distances on a single breath. (source : wikipedia