VB14, competition day 3
Imagine my delight when I arrived on the beach this morning to find safety ace and Olympian Moss Burmester literally flashing his guns for the camera in a pair of speedos. I had the opportunity to see poses in the style of Ussain Bolt and... well... He-Man really, before he scampered off to get changed into something less revealing. Some stories just write themselves. The wind's still howling in from the North-North East but the unique geology of Deans Blue hole is serving to protect the athletes from the worst of the storm raging out in the Atlantic. The sun even shone on the afternoon session today rendering the competition atmosphere almost pleasant. Many of the athletes came prepared: Israeli Yaron Hoory was taking no chances for his second attempt at the CNF national record and was spotted wearing two wetsuits and a hoodie on the platform prior to his dive. The precautions paid off - he made it all the way to the surface this time, just needing a little help to complete his surface protocol. Third time's the charm I'm sure for this tenacious little bugger.
Two big dives in the first session have added further spice to the already pungent stew developing for the women's competition. Tomoka Fukuda of Japan got her nose in front of Russian Marianna Krupnitskaya in CWT again with an 83m monster to open proceedings this morning. Krupnitskaya, having switched one Solvenian man-mountain for another as her coach, replied with a 70m FIM, putting her ahead overall with the Japanese yet to show her hand in any other discipline. Tomoka's personal best in FIM competition is 65m, but this was set 2 years ago at VB 2012 when she was managing just over 70m CWT. Both women trail some way behind Misuzu Okamoto who put down a huge 89m in the second session. She's likely to stick to just CWT, however. Okamoto wasn't the only athlete in the second session to come up with the goods.
World-Champion Alexey Molchanov pulled out a 123m white rabbit from his CWT box of tricks and made it look easy. William Trubridge too, quelled a few demons (and taped up his lanyard) on his way to producing a white card performance of 94m CNF. Those two dives set the stage for some gripping developments in the men's competition: Signs are that Trubridge is focussed on his world record attempt on day 5, so he may well choose to rest out day 4, leaving him with just 2 days at the end of the competition to make an impact in CWT and FIM. Molchanov, on the other hand, has some work to do in CNF before he can rest on his laurels from today's performance. We'll all be holding our breath (lol). Heartbreak, though, for Solvenian powerhouse Samo Jeranko. No, it's not that Masha has left him for her new coach, the equally well-muscled Luka Pengov, nor has he broken that fancy yellow monofin of his, no. He surfaced clean as a sterile whistle from his descent to an eye-watering 105m but, having suffered heavy narcosis, was too far from the line to grab it. Blinded by his fluid goggles, he still had enough gas in the tank to protect his airway, grope his way towards the line and complete his surface protocol but by the time he'd done so was an agonising 2 seconds outside the 15 seconds allowed for completing it. With lungs like that, however, he'll almost certainly go for deeper next time.
Samo's main rival for the third-place spot on the podium, Venezuelan Carlos Coste fared no better today as he turned early at 90m on his 103m FIM. Afterwards he remained tight lipped about his performance (or was it that we were just too scared to talk to him?) In many respects, though he was lucky: Fellow Latina Estrella Navarro Holm was DQed today for having her weight belt under her wetsuit, in contravention of the rule that all weights used by athletes must be quick release. Someone should have a word in the former world champion's ear because that watch of his looks like it would take ages to get off. Barring disasters of that kind, however, in the words of the former governor of California, Carlos will be back. At least, that's what he said in the Spanish-dubbed version of Terminator that I bought off my mate Luis. He was Venezuelan too.
Two more massive dives to round off today's (slightly longer!) bulletin: Mexican Alejandro Lemus made it three from three as he nailed the CWT national record too with a dive to an impressive 95m. Ryuso Shinomiya of Japan managed 65m CNF, another national record for him. And our dear friend Pascal? Best not to ask, but on that subject, following a small, genteel but pointed slap on the wrist today from our esteemed friend Jonny Deep, I'd like to clarify that the judges were not, in fact, allowing the little Swiss to add 10m onto his personal best, rather he had submitted a personal best "much deeper" than the 45m that he initially dived on day one, and also, I guess, equal to or higher than 60m, since he announced 63m today. Sorry Pascal, sorry Judges. I'm sure you'll agree, however, that news of this magnitude must get through. Rest day tomorrow dear fans, so you'll have to make do with an exclusive interview with Alexey Molchanov (and maybe another tidbit or two) winging its way onto your news feed soon. Till next time...