VB14 Competition day 2
Women on Top as the Waves Roll in
The sea may be a cruel mistress but the wind, it seems, is crueller. It was decidedly chilly on the beach this morning with even grizzled Northerners like the UK's John Moorcroft groping around in their wardrobes for a jacket. The rain came down overnight and the water temperature has plunged by 2 degrees, leaving many athletes shivering on the platform in their thin warm-weather suits. The women, however, were resplendent. It may be cold outside but the race for the top of the leaderboard is hotting up already. In the first face-off between Russian Marianna Krupnitskaya and Tomoka Fukuda of Japan, the Russian sneaked out into the lead by just 1 meter, a great result for her after a disappointing dive yesterday. Afterwards, in an interview with freelance writer Adam Skolnick when reminded that she was in contention to win the competition, Krupnitskaya replied simply: "I will." Fighting talk indeed from the Mighty Muscovite. What was it I was saying before about the Iron Curtain? Kiwi Kate Middleton is clearly settling in to her adoptive nationality too. Revising down her announcement from yesterday by 2m paid off as she bagged the national CWT record at 68m and made it look easy. Despite last minute adjustments to her neck weight which she made at the dinner table during thanksgiving celebrations at Rowdy Boys last night with, as one observer put it "all the concentration of a bomb-maker" (that's normal in freediving, you understand), Frenchwoman Aurore Asso couldn't quite complete her dive today, turning just 5m early. Serbian Lena Jovanovic, too is still tantalisingly close to a CWT national record of 78m but just a little short. On the dive that is. Still smiling though. The men, however, fared less well. After announcing a 118m FIM monster, Pole Mateusz Malina found himself shivering with 6 minutes to go before official top and turned early, managing a mere 100m+. What a softie. British record holder Michael Board followed up with another monster - 103m CWT, reached the plate easily but suffered a blackout (not to mention clinically diagnosable hypothermia) and was rescued by Olympic Swimmer Moss Burmester. Despite the kiwi diver's credentials, and the general awe in which the speed of his rescue was held by all who witnessed it, Board was afterwards heard to complain that the long retrieval had "messed up his ascent rate", evidence that the fighting spirit is still alive and well in this particular bulldog, if nothing else. World Record Holder and Steinlager's man of the moment William Trubridge came next with a dive we all thought would be easy (and so, by all accounts did he). 93m No-Fins is a walk in the park for this giant of the sport but the cold, and some issues with his lanyard got to him as well. Although he made it to the surface, Trubridge couldn't quite keep it together and blacked out before completing his surface protocol. You can see his own assessment of the dive right here, a rare glimpse into the analytical mind of the CNF champion. Two silver linings for the men there were, however. Mexican Alejandro Lemus netted his second consecutive national record with a comfortable-looking FIM dive to 86m. The cold didn't seem to bother him, prompting World Champion Alexey Molchanov (who was resting today) to speculate with typical candidness that, like himself, the Mexican probably had "ample" body fat. Ruyso Shinomiya was back to winning form again with another national record for the men. He did 60m CNF, no mean feat. Pascal Berger of Switzerland also continued his return to the land of the living with a 57m CNF in the last session, a mere 10m deeper than he went yesterday. Wasn't there some rule about jumps of no more than 3m? Judges? Anyone?