Vertical Blue 2014, Freediving Depth Competition Day 6
I can only imagine there'll be a lot more noise out on the platform tomorrow as Alexey Molchanov and William Trubridge - head to head for a place at the top of the podium - emulate the mewling of Aurore Asso during their breathe ups. Frequently mistaken for the noise of a drowning cat, the Frenchwoman's unconventional technique finally paid off for her today as she regained her CWT national record with a beautiful dive to 82m. She blacked out on Tuesday at the same depth after being overcome with emotion at the bottom-plate. On surfacing today, though, she gave a rock-solid surface protocol but, blinded by tears, had to be reminded to hold the line. Bless. <h2>Aurore Asso French National record CWT 82M:</h2> Photo taken by Pascal Berger The women's race is now largely decided with Russian Masha Krupnitskaya untouchable in the lead. I don't know what kind of Juju juice they're feeding her in that Eastern-Block house though. She was telling everyone she'd seen some kind of fish that was "like a fin with just one eye" today... the less said about that the better. Japan's Suyuri Kinoshita has come out of nowhere into second place. She broke the national record with a 56m CNF today prompting media officer Francesca Koe to ask team-mate Ryuso Shinomia for the Japanese word for "Dark Horse". (There isn't one, in case you were wondering). Japanese champion Tomoka Fukuda suffered disappointment, though, turning early for the second time at 74/88m after a rushed start with only 90seconds on the line before her OT. In other news, Kiwi Kate Middleton made freediving history today with the slowest no-fins dive since the UKs David Tranfield tried it blindfolded with one leg and both hands tied behind his back for "hypoxia training". The multiple New Zealand record holder (that's Kate, not Trannie), currently in third place overall took 2mins 40 to complete the 45m dive and admits to being "a little overweighted". No shit. She took 24 seconds to get from 40m to 30m! Even commentary from the normally unflappable platform co-ordinator Steve Keenan took on a tone of quiet wonder. You know you're hounding someone a bit too much when the first words they say to you in the morning are "so...err...what story can I expect about me today?" Slovenian Carthorse Samo Jeranko had better get used to it. Following his enormous 107m CWT (after which he gave his surface protocol like a man returning from a stroll in the garden) he takes the title as the deepest man in Slovenia which, although it sounds a little bit like "the fastest man in Lichtenstein", is actually pretty impressive. He turned up in his lucky football kit again today, so maybe that's his secret. Evgeny Sychev of Russia, diving just after him could maybe do with some long stripy socks as well. Agonisingly close to success in his announcement of 101m he was DQed for a grab at the surface. Not bad for a man who dislocated his shoulder less than 2 weeks ago, he's doing well to grab anything. And he'll have another go at it tomorrow. Great coaching, incidentally from Luka Pengov who at least knows the Russian word for breathe. Poor Alexey Molchanov. Not a great day for the world champion as he blacked out at the surface after a 94m CNF dive. Despite the loss of consciousness he kept hold of the line and recovered with some more excellent coaching from the Slovenian, completing his surface protocol just a couple of seconds too slow. First-place rival William Trubridge, however, bouncing back from no-fins disappointment in typical style, pulled out a real FIM monster, surfacing with the tag from a massive 120m and completing his surface protocol cleanly (after the customary blowing and shouting). Speaking afterwards he said that one of the main reasons he hadn't announced a new World Record at 122m was that he didn't want to pay EUR 500 for a dope test. That's confidence for you. He'll need plenty of that tomorrow, he's announced 117m in CWT - should be a safe-ish one for him despite the fact that it's his weakest discipline.
Check day 6 of Vertical Blue 2014 in video
For the men, tomorrow's announcements (117m CWT vs 90m CNF) mean that Molchanov, despite being odds on to make his dive is playing safe and gambling on a balls-up from Trubridge to have any hope of retaining first place. Whatever happens, it's going to be exciting. And then, dear folks, it's goodbye from me... Tune in for the grand finale, not to mention the low-down from the after party...