I promised you a competitor profile for the extreme freediving Vertical Blue Competition which runs from the 1st – 11th April – and here it is. My thanks go to William Trubridge for allowing me to copy his list.
A quick reminder as to who the current world champion holders are:
Male constant weight – 113m – Guillaume Nery
Male no fins – 86m – William Trubridge
Male free immersion – 108m – William Trubridge
Female constant weight – 95m – Natalia Molchanova
Female no fins – 60m – Natalia Molchanova
Female free immersion – 85m – Natalia Molchanova
… and all 21 attending this competition will be hoping to challenge and break these records…
There are 11 countries represented at Vertical Blue 2009 – Australia, Austria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, UK, USA; and a total of 21 competitors.
There will be twice the men to women at Vertical Blue 2009, but will they pack twice the punch? Will there be rivalries and closely fought head-to-heads over the 9 days of competition? Who will come up from the mysterious depths of Dean’s Blue Hole with the deepest tag for 2009? Stay tuned, follow each athlete’s training, and maybe you will know before they do!
The host of the competition, after a successful 2008 William is back to see if he can better his own records in Unassisted and Free Immersion. He will have to stave off competition from rivals Nitsch and Winram.
Although he is the best freediver of this decade, Nitsch currently doesn’t hold any of the world records in the competitive depth disciplines. This is likely to change at Vertical Blue, as Nitsch can lead an assault on any and all of the three disciplines offered at Vertical Blue.
The Okinawa Dragon, Ryuzo, entered into the elite group of 100m Constant Weight divers last year. With a refined technique and a measured and methodical approach to building depths, Ryuzo is still improving, and may be a serious contender amongst the world’s deepest this year.
This year the best freediver in the west (pan-American records in all disciplines) is giving himself a full month to train in Dean’s Blue Hole before Vertical Blue starts in April. He says he will arrive with no expectations, which is kind of ominous…
Last year Eric set a precedent for FRC diving, with a 67m dive after a passive exhale. His training since has been merciless, but there are rumours he may be coming back to full inhale diving.
The United States freediving champion, and a progressive improver, Robert will look to extend his record without fins and maybe attempt the constant weight record held by compatriot Deron Verbeck.
In 2001 Davide broke the world record in Free Immersion, with a long dive to 91m in rough conditions. After a long hiatus from any events Davide returned 7 years later to compete with the Italian team at the 2008 world championships. With his graceful and natural style Davide will look to build on the 90m constant weight dive he recorded in that competition.
Head and shoulders above any other diver in Australia, Walter recorded the second longest dynamic without fins in 2008: 176m. He has also entered the 200m club with a fin. One to watch for Vertical Blue 2009…
Leo stole the show at Vertical Blue 2008, building through grit and determination to a national record in free immersion of 76m. It still stands and Leo will no doubt be eyeing the remaining US records.
The lung doctor from Colombia. Frank set the mark for his country without fins last year, and is back in 2009 to improve on it.
Being one of the top freedivers in a country like New Zealand is equivalent to world class. Kerian will be competing this year with the monofin to convert his huge dynamic into depth.
Mads Becker Jørgensen
The Danish coach, Mads is a strong freediver himself, and will be diving mostly without fins.
A talented up-and-coming French diver, Walid trains at altitude in Colombia.
Here they are: the sirens of Dean’s Blue Hole for 2009. Seven of the best female freedivers currently active in the world. This year Vertical Blue will use 3 professional videographers and an editor, so every day we will be able to upload videos of these incredible girls in action.
In 2007 Sara did the impossible, breaking all 3 freediving world records in 3 days in her home waters of Dahab. After taking a break in 2008 Sara is now back for her first fixture of 2009.
2008 was Kathryn’s year, with national records in all the disciplines, and a world record in her specialty: dynamic no fins. She made her intentions clear at Vertical Blue 2008, with a no fins dive to 50m, and having passed that barrier she will now be thinking about catching up with Sara and the Russian Natalia’s.
She has been the deepest Italian girl, and is a true siren of the deep. Ilaria’s first AIDA competition was the teams world champs, and at Vertical Blue she will have the opportunity to show what she is capable of individually.
Jana burst onto the scene in 2008, with a huge dynamic apnea to net her a Canadian and pan-American record. As an ex-ballerina, her powerful legs will now be tested for the first time in the depths of Dean’s Blue Hole.
Megumi was one of the stars of Vertical Blue 2008, with a hat trick of Japanese national records across all the disciplines. She has her work cut out for her now, as all three have since been taken away by compatriots Kitahama and Hirai.
Tomoko built her performances in 2008, but was just a step behind the tough competition amongst the Japanese girls. With a near perfect style and a lot of patience she will only keep building, and 2009 could be her year.
Stronger every year, George is a monofin specialist from England, who was part of the British team in the 2008 World Championships.
Thanks again William Trubridge of www.verticalblue.net for allowing me to use his Vertical Blue 2009 profile list. Also thanks to William for posting this fascinating video of his no fins, no suit freedive through the Arch, a 30m long tunnel connecting Dahab’s Blue Hole to the Red Sea at a depth of 55m – it gives you an idea of what this discipline is all about…