'Challenge' Deep Dive: Relive The Game's Most Terrifying Underwater Missions

The 'Bloodlines' Air Pockets stunt was just one in a long line of subaqueous events.

To be a true “Challenge” great, you’ve got to have a warrior’s spirit, a gladiator’s build and, as last week’s “Bloodlines” episode demonstrated, gills.

In the show’s most recent round, the final 12 contestants squared off in “Air Pockets,” which tasked them with swimming from one small air tank to another deep below the surface. Most breached -- thereby disqualifying themselves from the game -- before reaching even the first oxygen-reservoir, but a few proved to have the aqua-acumen necessary to go the distance. And while the panic demonstrated was freshly horrifying, there were many who gasped, gagged and absolutely came apart long before.

Below, we’ve collected some of the “Challenge” series’ wettest and most lung-draining games -- from swimming with sharks to unlocking treasure chests, these things were no joke. Check ‘em out, tell us if you’ve got a favorite we didn’t include and be sure to tune in to a brand-new “Bloodlines” episode tomorrow night at 10/9c!

  • “Breath-Hold Bungee,” Battle of The Sexes"

    The name said it all -- then-host Jonny Moseley challenged the players to suspend themselves underwater for as long as possible. Simple but no less draining, the game forced most challengers to pop up like bubbles before the one-minute mark. James, on the other hand, crazily, kept his lungs deflated for nearly four minutes, effectively laughing in Poseidon’s face.

  • “Snake Soup,” The Gauntlet

    Treading water is tough enough -- especially in freezing cold water -- but when you add a rainforest’s worth of heat-seeking snakes to the mix, it becomes a nightmare. While Sarah noted that many competitors “sank like stones” through he mission, “Real World”’s Elka somehow kept her cool and outlasted each of her fellow 27 competitors to be named The Gauntlet’s first winner.

  • “Swimming With Sharks,” Fresh Meat

    Complete a puzzle? No sweat. Complete a puzzle, the pieces of which are scattered around the inside of a shark tank? Not so easy. The ocean’s most feared predators sent many competitors into tailspins, but Shane and Linette channeled their inner-Aquamen and came out on top.

  • “Sunken Treasure,” The Duel

    One-Eyed Willy couldn’t have planned something so sadistic. In teams of two, the game’s final eight players had to share an underwater oxygen tank (“Bloodlines” throwback!) while taking turns gathering a code that would unlock a sunken treasure chest. While most teams exceeded the 15-minute time limit, Wes and Svetlana were able to breathe through the burn -- and won a pair of motorcycles in the process.

  • “Water Bound,” The Island

    To avoid drowning once is scary enough; to have to do it over and over is simply cheating death. The Island’s final elimination game shackled its final four keyless competitors at the ankles and outfitted them with heavy weights. They were then tasked with bobbing up to the surface to catch their breath, then sinking back down with the weights. Evelyn proved she had lungs of steel and got the game’s final key for her efforts.

  • “Hook, Line & Sinker,” Battle of the Seasons

    The game’s “Mental” elimination game challenged two representatives from each team to solve a puzzle in tandem. Connected by a pulley system, one player would have to dive and hold himself in an underwater tank, while the other ascended up a wall to complete a brainteaser. It was more than some of the game’s toughest competitors could handle and even led to one voluntary concession.