|Native name||Жаркова Наталия Сергеевна|
|Born||24 January 1989|
Nataliia Zharkova (born 1989) is a 2017 freediving champion of Europe and Ukraine. Zharkova holds multiple records in the discipline of freediving. She was also a freediving runner-up champion of the world in 2013. She is the first Ukrainian and the second woman to ever dive below the arch of the Blue Hole vertical underwater cave in Dahab, Egypt, on a single breath.
Zharkova started swimming at the age of seven, when her parents introduced her to swimming to alleviate her spine medical condition. Within six months she was accepted for the school of Olympic Reserve of Ukraine where she spent a total of 10 years.
In 2008 Zharkova was introduced to freediving and began active training.
In 2011, the first depth competitions AIDA International World Championship were held at Kalamata, Greece. Zharkova's first participation in the depth competitions put her near the top freedivers in the discipline, taking 6th place in the CNF discipline (constant weight, no fins). She also set new Ukraine national records in the discipline. ( on YouTube)
In 2012, Ukraine first participated in the team world championship event, held in Nice, France. Zharkova represented Ukraine along with Alexander Bubenchikov and Valentin Kuznetsov. Zharkova improved her previous national records and took 5th place in the world rating.
In 2013–2015, Zharkova was a finalist in the Pool World Championship held at Belgrad, Serbia.
In 2017, Zharkova won two gold and one bronze medal at the Championship of Europe held at Kaş, Turkey. She set two new world records according to CMAS. All dives of that championship were filmed with the Dive Eye underwater drone.
Currently Zharkova is a master Instructor at AIDA International, instructor (Emergency First Response-EFR). She is a chairman of the Freediving committee at UFUA (Ukrainian Federation of Underwater Activities) and is a member of the CMAS international committee. She is an author of multiple training programs and a coach at the Deep Division freediving school in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Zharkova conducts training in warm climate locations, most notably in Dahab, Egypt and actively prepares for upcoming competitions.
Zharkova graduated from Kharkiv State Technical University of Construction and Architecture in 2012 with a BSc in architecture.
On 27 October 2016, Zharkova became the first Ukrainian and the second woman in the world (after Natalia Molchanova) to dive through an underwater vertical cave known as Blue Hole on a single breath. Zharkova immersed to a depth of 56 meters and then swam 30 meters under the arch.