Business As Usual at the 2015 Depth World Championships
It’s been a torrid one for the men this year. On paper it looked gripping: A rare showdown between the 3 best freedivers in the world in one location. In the end, though, Trubridge (NZL) lacked much of his usual panache, Molchanov (RUS) was clearly struggling and Néry (FRA) was denied the chance to compete at all by a dangerous line error in the pre-competition. For the women, there must have been a sense of someone very important missing. A 1 minute massed breath-hold at the opening ceremony marked the passing of one of Freediving’s greatest stars. Natalia’s legacy will live on long after all her records have been broken and, despite some impressive performances in all disciplines from the likes of Misuzu Okamoto (JPN), Jeanine Grasmeijer (NED), Sayuri Kinoshita (JPN) and Mandy Sumner (USA), she still remains the undisputed queen of freediving.
Men’s Competition Highlights
Trubridge Bombs out of 2 Events as Molchanov Battles on
With Néry out of the picture, the stage was set for the now-traditional confrontation between CNF world record holder William Trubridge (NZL) and World Champion and CWT world record holder Alexey Molchanov (RUS). Just 6 weeks after a loss that none of us can really fathom, I’d have understood completely if Alexey hadn’t competed at all. Like a true professional, though, the indomitable Russian performed at the highest level, dominating the CWT and CNF competitions despite an early turn. Trubridge, on the other hand, appeared to struggle away from his beloved Blue Hole. He was DQed in both CWT and his favoured CNF and turned early in FIM at (for him) the relatively benign depth of 112m. A blackout from Alexey as he pushed to beat the world record holder in his weakest event, however, ensured that Trubridge still took gold. Deserved consolation for one of the true legends of the sport.
William Trubridge CNF
William Trubrige CNF
Alexey Molchanov CWT
Alexey Molchanov CWT
Great news, though, for new-boy Samo Jeranko. After a string of world-class performances at every major competition in the last 18 months, the Slovenian sensation is gradually nosing his way into the true elite. His 108m CWT dive here puts him comfortably inside the all-time top 10. He shared the silver medal with fellow brick-shit-house, Goran Colak (CRO) who’s clearly overcome his historical equalisation problems to bag 2 national records (also CNF 71m). Nice, too, to see another pool champion, DNF world record holder Mateusz Malena, also making the transition to depth: The unassuming Pole shared CNF silver with Ladies’ favourite, Miguel Lozano of Spain - both managing a solid 76m - and got Bronze in FIM (103m).
Samo Jeranko CWT
Lozano, traditionally a FIM specialist bagged silver in his favoured event with an impressive 107m. Arguably, though, he’ll be happier with his CNF result (76m NR): a Spanish record in new territory for him. After a disappointing showing last year, it’s great to see the giant Spaniard back in form. National records, too for Alexander Bubenchikov (UKR 95m CWT), Alon Rivkind (ISR, 87m CWT) Stig Pryds (DEN, 75m CNF, Bronze, FIM 94), Johan Hagg (SWE CNF, 71m), Giorgos Sakkas (GRE, 64m CNF) and Walter Chivescu of Romania (CNF 43m). Full Results Here (Scroll Down for Photos)
Women’s Competion Highlights
Japanese Beset on all Sides but Still Victorious
The Japanese women have been relentless in the quality of their performance at the highest level for a number of years now, with only the Russians able to stand in their way. That trend continued in Cyprus this year as the usual suspects, Misuzu Okamoto (CWT 90m NR) and Sayuri Kinoshita (CWT 88m, CNF 58m) topped the tables in CWT and CNF. But they didn’t have it easy.
Natalia Zharkova of Ukraine took CWT bronze with a personal best of 87m, just 1m behind Kinoshita and relative newcomer Mandy Sumner (USA) forced her to share the CNF top spot with a solid 58m. Mexican Estrella Navaro-Holm, presumably taking a break from organising the beautiful-looking Big Blue Competition scheduled for this November, will be delighted with 2 national records in CWT (70m) and CNF (50m) which also secured her the bronze medal. In the final day of competition, Jeanine Grasmeijer (NED) who’s made 90m before, ousted the Japs from the FIM top spot with a conservative 82m. Hanako Hirose of Japan shared silver with a jubilant Kate Middleton (NZL), both managing 76m, a new national record there for the kiwi too. Zharkova (UKR) made Bronze with a solid 70. National records too for Kate Middleton (NZL CWT, 72m,) and Jennifer Wedland (GER 46m CNF).
Full Results Here. So, that’s it for another year. The Althetes will be nursing their post-party hangovers already and wishing they'd stuck to the green juice. Next on the calendar it’s the Big Blue competition in the Sea of Cortez which starts the first week of November. It’s a beautiful spot, with attendance by Molchanov and Néry already confirmed. We’ll have the latest for you right here. Thanks for joining us, see you again soon! A big Thanks again to Daan Verhoeven for the pictures, awesome as usual.