VB14, competition day 4
High winds and rain dominate as gambles pay off for some
The athletes didn't exactly get a warm Bahamian welcome this morning as they arrived at the beach for the first session of the day. Horizontal rain and storm-force winds sent many running for cover, or would have done if there was any to be found. A certain intrepid Freedive-Earth reporter was spotted hiding in a cave, prompting Journalist Adam Skolnick to make a - now I think about it, hilarious - quip about the Unabomber of Long Island. He wasn't the only one out spying either, Cameraman Richard Davies and his sidekick known only as "Paul from Barcelona" spent much of the middle session camped out by on the shoreline, calling out people who were obviously pissing in the water. At least he wasn't showing us his bum tattoos.
The show, as always, went on. Slovenian Samo Jeranko, having turned up dressed for a football match, continued his run of rampant form with a massive CNF dive to 76m setting a new Slovenian record in the process. Everyone who saw him recover and complete his surface protocol with the kind of hook-breathing that would shift even the most tenacious bowel movement was suitably impressed. The meat-rich Slovenian diet can only have helped him there.
Venezuelan champion Carlos Coste was looking good in warm-up for the first session too. Unfortunate, therefore that his actual OT was 2 hours later in the middle session, a lapse of timekeeping which is ironic, considering the size of his watch. We're still expecting big things from him, however, with 3 more days of competition still to go. Serbian Lena Jovanovic silenced her critics today (as if there ever were any) with a national record CWT dive to 75m. Not quite the 78 she was hoping for, but there's still plenty of time for that.
Another National record for Kiwi Kate Middleton, too, who gave her surface protocol after an easy FIM dive to 68m with all the poise we'd expect from someone of her royal standing (or is that someone else?) She's become something of a media sensation overnight in her 'native' New Zealand and is currently answering fan mail. Rumour has it she's planning to launch a clothing line based on the 2-piece wetsuit on the back of her fame too. She was spotted modeling a haute-couture version in the Sea Winds supermarket earlier today. Following the semi-public announcement by Japanese Tomoka Fukuda that she intends to focus on CWT (she nailed a massive 86m today), the women's competition is now wide open. Russian Marianna Krupnitskaya looks solid in first place after a clean dive to 57m CNF today. Contenders for second and third places include Aurore Asso (FRA), Lena Jovanovic (SRB), Kate Middleton (NZL), Sayuri Kinoshita (JPN) and Iru Balic (VEN). Watch this space to see how it develops. It was a day of "not quite" for the top men, however.
World Champion Alexey Molchanov fared slightly better, or slightly worse depending on which way you look at it. He made it to the surface after his 97m CNF, but couldn't quite get his surface protocol in. 5 seconds later, however, he was grinning and shaking his head. Similar story for Japanese Riyuso Shinomiya too, red card for him on his 70m CNF. The real success of the middle session came from Alejandro Lemus. Not content with 3 national records in this competition so far, the little Mexican announced 100m CWT, a milestone in any diver's career. He made the dive and looked strong on the surface, with just a lung squeeze to dampen his ardour.
Even if he rests out the remainder of the competition, though, he can go away feeling justifiably proud of himself. After ripping it out of him for 2 consecutive days, I promised myself I'd leave Moss "Faster than a Speeding Bullet" Burmester alone today, but after the judges fumbled the removal of the official gauge from Riyuso's wrist and dropped it into the blue hole, there was only one man with the skills to bring it back. The Kiwi swimming ace was out of the blocks quicker than you could say Pineapple Lumps and had it back on the platform in seconds. Nice one Moss. And so, finally, to poor British DNF Record holder John Moorcroft. The old man of the sea surfaced from his CNF dive today completely clean and after removing his facial equipment peered through the driving rain in search of someone to direct an OK sign towards. "Where are the judges?" He muttered to himself, wiping the rheum from his eyes...
Maybe try and use your inside voice next time John?
Video of day 4 is online on our Youtube channel:
Hold on to your gussets for tomorrow folks, it's gonna be a big one.