Vertical Blue 2022

Long Island, Bahamas

Asya Kleshchevnikova
Sports Columnist and Head of Customer Service & International Sales
asya@molchanovs.com
molchanovs.com

Kristina Zvaritch
Editor

1. Preview of the Competition
2. Pre-competition Forecast by Discipline
3. Day 1 of competition (1 Aug)
3.1 Start list
3.2 New AIDA World Record in CWTB by Arnaud Jerald
3.3 Overall official results
4. Day 2 of competition (2 Aug)
4.1 Start list
4.2 New AIDA World Record in CWTB by Alice Modolo
4.3 Overall official results
5. Day 3 of competition (3 Aug)
5.1 Start list
5.2 Overall official results
6. Day 4 of competition (5 Aug)
6.1 Start list
6.2 New AIDA World Record in CWTB by Arnaud Jerald
6.3 Overall official results
7. Day 5 of competition (6 Aug)
7.1 Start list
7.2 Overall official results
8. Day 6 of competition (7 Aug)
8.1 Start list
8.2 Overall official results
9. Day 7 of competition (9 Aug)
9.1 Start list
9.2 New AIDA World Record in CWTB by Arnaud Jerald
9.3 Overal official results
10. Day 8 of competition (10 Aug)
10.1 Start list
10.2 Overall official results
11. Day 9 of competition (11 Aug)
11.1 Start list11.2 New AIDA World Record by Mateusz Malina
11.3 Overall official results and Summary of the competition

Preview of the competition

Hello Freedivers!

Today we are starting the countdown for the biggest freediving marathon of 2022 starting August 1st, which will include two competitions: Vertical Blue 2022 and the 29th AIDA World Championship.

The Molchanovs team will cover both events. On our social media (IG and FB), our marketing manager Amanda Tran will provide a brief recap of the day’s events, interesting facts about athletes, and quizzes for freediving history lovers in IG and FB Stories. Kristina Zvaritch and I, Asya Kleshchevnikova, will be announcing the most anticipated performances and detailed analyses of each competition day’s events on Facebook posts and molchanovs.com. We are also planning to celebrate the remarkable achievements of Molchanovs Ambassadors with special flash discounts on select items. So stay tuned and make sure you don't miss our updates!

Molchanovs team: Asya, Amanda, Kris

What is Vertical Blue and why is it so important?

So far, Vertical Blue is the only regular private depth freediving competition with World Record status. Since the competition’s first year in 2008, all Vertical Blue events have been organized at the highest level possible by William Trubridge. As an 18x World Record Holder, William undoubtedly knows and understands the importance of world records, and since Vertical Blue’s inception, many dives performed there have become a part of the history of freediving.

William Trubridge

In 2017, 3 world records and 47 national records were set at Vertical Blue. At Vertical Blue 2018, athletes managed to set an unbelievable 10 world records. To date, 3 out of 8 current AIDA World Records that were set at Vertical Blue 2018 still stand.

Vertical Blue 2021, held according to CMAS rules, became the deepest competition in freediving history so far. Last year, 42 athletes from 21 countries set 13 CMAS World Records and 52 CMAS National Records. The average depth athletes reached at Vertical Blue 2021 was 79.6m/261ft, and July 21, 2021, became the deepest day in the history of the sport when the average announced depth reached 92m/302ft.

If this is not already impressive, check out the following dives performed at Vertical Blue that later became legendary freediving moments.

  • At Vertical Blue 2009, Herbert Nitsch of Austria successfully set a new CWT world record on his third attempt to 114m/374ft. Later, he made two attempts to reach 120m/394ft and succeeded in beating his own world record. Between these CWT attempts, he even managed to set a 109m/358ft world record in FIM (these were fearless times when athletes were allowed to dive 9 days in a row).
  • At Vertical Blue 2011, Natalia Molchanova of Russia performed 6 dives in order to reach the sacred depth of 100m/328ft: 3 unsuccessful dives to 103m/338ft, 102m/335ft, and 100m, respectively, followed by 2 dives to 80m/262ft and 90m/295ft, and then finally setting a new CWT world record with 100m.
  • At Vertical Blue 2016, Sayuri Kinoshita performed a beautiful dive to 72m/236ft in CNF. It was the first time since 2013 that a CNF world record was not set by Natalia Molchanova, who was an absolute leader in this discipline setting 9 AIDA CNF World Records in her freediving career.
  • At Vertical Blue 2018, Alexey Molchanov of Russia performed an impressive and deepest CWT dive to that date of 130m/427ft. Herbert Nitsch dived to 120m/394ft in 2009, and it took male athletes 9 years to reach the next dozen meters. There has been no other male athlete who has attempted to reach this depth as of yet.
  • At Vertical Blue 2021, Alenka Artnik dived to a mind-blowing depth of 122m/400ft in CWT. It made Alenka the 8th human in the history of freediving to dive below 120m/394ft in CWT at an officially-registered competition. Don't forget that 7 freedivers before her who broke that barrier were all men - this is how a freediver turns into a legend.

Herbert Nitsch, Natalia Molchanova, Sayuri Kinoshita, Alexey Molchanov, Alenka Artnik

This list of remarkable dives to remember should be much longer, and we’re sure you have more names and performances of your own to add. That is exactly why Vertical Blue is known as the most prestigious freediving competition in the world with the most favorable conditions for athletes; it’s like the Wimbledon Championships, but for freedivers.

When is the competition?

The first diving day is August 1st, and athletes will also compete on the 2nd and 3rd, with August 4th being a rest day. In the 7 days after that, the schedule will be the same: 3 competition days, 1 day off, and 3 more competition days.

In total there will be 9 competition days; however, every athlete is allowed to perform in only 6 of them. Additionally, athletes will be able to choose for themselves the discipline they want to participate in on any given day.

Where is it located?

Vertical Blue is held in a unique place called Dean's Blue Hole (located in Long Island, the Bahamas). This blue hole is the world's second deepest blue hole after the Dragon Hole in the South China Sea; Dean's Blue Hole reaches a depth of 202m/663ft. It's located just several meters away from the beach, and according to diving conditions, feels more like a huge vertical pool rather than the open sea.

The current water temperature at Dean's Blue Hole is about 28-29°C (82-84°F) with no thermocline, no current, no waves, and almost crystal-clear visibility. The only real downside of Dean's Blue Hole is the darkness. Athletes diving deeper than 60m (197ft) are advised to use headlamps in order to light up the rope and keep from becoming disoriented.

Dean's Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas. Photo by Alexey Molchanov.

Who is participating?

There are many famous freedivers who will compete at Vertical Blue this year, or after a long break, or even for the first time. Due to the fact that Vertical Blue is a private competition, most of the athletes come there only by personal invitation; these are usually given to the strongest freedivers in depth disciplines. Therefore, there will be intense competition for the overall prize and spectacular rivalry. The potential winners include Hanako Hirose, Alenka Artnik, Alice Modolo, Arnaud Jerald, Davide Carrera, Mateusz Malina, Vitomir Maričić, and William Trubridge himself.

The deepest freediver in the world, Alexey Molchanov, as well as other Russian athletes, are suspended from participating in AIDA sporting events following the IOC’s recommendation on sanctioning Russia and Belarus. The decision was made by AIDA International Assembly due to the war in Ukraine.

Additionally, after participating at Vertical Blue for 3 years in a row and setting 8 world records there, Alessia Zecchini of Italy unfortunately will be skipping this year.

Alexey Molchanov and Alessia Zecchini

We’ll let you know which of these athletes has the best chance of winning in each discipline in our pre-competition forecast on Friday. Stay tuned and don't miss the update!

Pre-competition forecast by discipline

We continue our discussion about Vertical Blue 2022, which starts in just a few days on August 1st. William Trubridge arranged Vertical Blue for the first time in 2008. Since then, Vertical Blue remains the largest private freediving competition with world record status. World record status means that there will be judges present who are authorized to confirm world records and doping control.

The competition spot – Dean’s Blue Hole in Long Island, Bahamas – provides the best conditions for freediving: close to shore, warm water, no waves, no current, and no thermocline. The competition schedule – nine competition days with six attempts for each athlete, two days off, and the opportunity for athletes to choose in which discipline to dive – is much more favorable for athletes than the traditional schedule of the World Championships, which allows athletes only one attempt in each discipline. The location and conditions of Dean’s Blue Hole are the two reasons why athletes usually come to Vertical Blue to set new national and world records and improve their official personal best results.

The table below lists all current world records, set by both men and women according to CMAS and AIDA rules.*

*AIDA International and CMAS are international organizations that set the rules and regulations for freediving competitions and world records. Because of that, freediving has two systems for world records: records set according to AIDA rules and records set according to CMAS rules. For athletes, the main difference is in the sequence of actions they must perform during the surface protocol and some other technical details during performances.

World Records in Freediving

Discipline Men Women
AIDA CMAS AIDA CMAS
CWT 130m / 427ft -
Alexey Molchanov
(18.07.2018 ;VB)
131m / 430ft -
Alexey Molchanov
(17.07.2021; VB)
114m / 374ft -
Alenka Artnik
(07.11.2020; AIDA Blue Week Competition)
122m / 400ft -
Alenka Artnik
(21.07.2021; VB)
CWTB 115m / 377ft -
Alexey Molchanov
(09.2021, 27th AIDA WC; Cyprus)
118m / 387ft -
Alexey Molchanov
(22.07.2021; VB)
93m / 305ft -
Jennifer Wendland
(02.07.2020; AIDA Limassol Depth Games)
106m / 348ft -
Alenka Artnik
(02.10.2021; Kaş Baska)
FIM 125m / 410ft -
Alexey Molchanov
(24.07.2018; VB)
126m -
Alexey Molchanov
(13.07.2021; VB) 
98m / 322ft -
Alessia Zecchini
(16.10.2019; AIDA OceanQuest Curaçao)
101m / 331ft -
Alessia Zecchini
(17.07.2021; VB)
CNF 102m / 335ft -
William Trubridge
(16.07.2016; WRA)
92m / 302ft -
Petar Klovar
(08.10.2022; WC Kaş)
73m / 240ft -
Alessia Zecchini
(22.07.2018; VB) 
74m / 243ft -
Alessia Zecchini
(15.07.2021; VB) 

**CWT - Constant Weight, or in plain English, diving with a monofin
CWTB - Constant Weight with Bifins
FIM - Free Immersion: athlete dives down and up by pulling on the line
CNF - Constant Weight No Fins

If this is the first time you've heard about freediving, let's clarify that "Constant Weight" disciplines mean that a freediver descends and ascends using only their bodies and without the help of extra weight. There are two other disciplines titled "Variable Weight" and "No Limits." In the Variable Weight discipline, a freediver descends with the help of a weight or weighted sled and ascends by pulling on the line or using a monofin or bifins. In No Limits, a freediver descends and ascends on sled. Variable Weight and No Limits disciplines are no longer competitive disciplines; however, it still possible to set world records in Variable Weight disciplines during personal world record attempts.

The table above shows that 9 of the 16 current world records were set at Vertical Blue competitions in different years. Since 2008, the competitions were arranged according to AIDA rules 12 times, and only once in 2021, Vertical Blue was held according to CMAS rules. Because of that, 7 out of 8 CMAS World Records are deeper than AIDA World Records. In 2022, Vertical Blue will return to the traditional setup and be held according to AIDA rules once again. In theory, it could mean that athletes may try to improve current AIDA World Records and make them match current CMAS World Records.

Let's check the list of participants to predict how it may turn out in practice. Among the men, 3 out 4 CMAS World Records and 3 out 4 AIDA World Records belong to the world's deepest competitive freediver – Alexey Molchanov of Russia. However, Alexey will not be participating in Vertical Blue 2022.

Therefore, we are not expecting many new world records from the men this year. Our biggest hope is Arnaud Jerald of France. Arnaud is focused on one discipline – CWTB. At Vertical Blue 2021, Arnaud set 2 CMAS World Records diving with bifins to 116m (381ft) and then to 117m (384ft). Shortly after, Alexey Molchanov stole the world record holder title by diving to 118m (387ft). This year, Arnaud has already attempted to take back the world record at the AIDA Caribbean Cup 2022 but has yet to succeed. The current AIDA World Record in CWTB is only 115m (377ft), and there is no doubt that Arnaud will attempt to improve the record. The question remains if Arnaud will attempt 119m (390ft) to become the deepest man in the world in CWTB.

Arnaud Jerald

William Trubridge may potentially set another male world record in FIM. For that, he will need to dive to 126m (413ft) since the current AIDA World Record in FIM is 125m (410ft) and belongs to Alexey Molchanov. William’s personal best result in FIM is 124m (407ft), which makes him second in the world rankings by discipline. However, at Vertical Blue 2021, William managed only 119m (390ft) of depth in FIM. We hope William is in better shape now to attempt a new world record.

In either case, William is also the strongest in the CNF discipline, being the only man in the world who ever managed to dive deeper than 100m (328ft) with no fins. His current AIDA World Record of 102m (335ft) in CNF has remained unbeatable since 2016. In addition, if William also performs a successful dive in CWT, he will become the most probable overall winner of the competition.

William Trubridge

If Mateusz Malina of Poland will attempt dives in all the disciplines, he has a good chance of winning the silver medal at Vertical Blue 2022. Mateusz is the World Record Holder in DYN; he dived 321m (1,053ft) with monofin in a pool in one breath. We also heard rumors that during training sessions in the sea, Mateusz also managed to dive deep with a monofin. Mateusz’s official personal bests are 80m (262ft) in CNF and 114m (374ft) in FIM.

Mateusz Malina

The competition for the overall bronze medal may include Vitomir Maričić of Croatia and Stefan Randig of Germany. Vitomir may also try to medal in particular disciplines. In CNF, Vitomir’s official personal best is 84m (276ft), and he has recently dived to 104m (341ft) in CWTB. Stefan is the strongest freediver in Germany, and although he doesn’t dive as deep as some of the other athletes in this competition, he shows good, stable results in all disciplines. For winning an overall medal, it is more important to get the necessary points in all of the disciplines rather than become the deepest person in the world in one particular discipline.

Without Alexey Molchanov (the current World Record Holder in CWT with 131m/430ft) and his nearest competitors, French athlete Guillaume Néry and David Mullins of New Zealand (their official personal best of 126m/413ft), we presume that Davide Carrera of Italy will become the deepest man in CWT. At Vertical Blue 2021, Davide managed to dive to 122m (400ft) and nearly succeeded at diving to 123m (404ft) at the 5th CMAS Outdoor Freediving World Championship in Kaş, Turkey.

Vitomir Maricic, Stefan Randig, Davide Carrera

If Davide doesn’t complete a successful dive in CWT, then there is a big chance that, for the first time in the history of Vertical Blue, the deepest athlete in the competition may actually be a woman. At Vertical Blue 2021, the incredible Alenka Artnik of Slovenia dived with a monofin to 122m (400ft), setting a new CMAS World Record in CWT. The AIDA World Record in CWT also belongs to Alenka, however, it still remains only at 114m (374ft). We are at the edge of our seats to see how Alenka will improve the result. Without Alessia Zecchini of Italy, there is no other serious competitor for Alenka in CWT when it comes to the gold. It is most likely that Hanako Hirose of Japan, with an official personal best of 106m (348ft) will try to win the silver medal in CWT. And for third place, we have two competitors: Misuzu Okamoto of Japan and Alice Modolo of France. At Vertical Blue 2021, they both joined the “100m Club” in CWT.

We also expect that Alice will try to set a new AIDA World Record in CWTB. She did so in Vertical Blue 2021 with a dive to 95m (312ft). However, later in 2021 at another CMAS competition in Kaş, Turkey, Alenka Artnik dived to 106m (348ft) in bifins, leaving Alice 10m (33ft) behind. The AIDA World Record in CWTB currently belongs to Jennifer Wendland of Germany and is only set at 93m (305ft). If Alenka will focus only on CWT, then Alice stands a chance at becoming a world record holder again. But is Alice ready to compete with Alenka and go deeper than 100m (328ft) with bifins? We hope to learn it soon enough!

Alenka Artnik, Hanako Hirose, Misuzu Okamoto, Alice Modolo

Overall, the competition between the women is going to be very intense and the final results may turn out to be unpredictable. However, we would dare bet on Fatima Korok of Hungary as the overall winner of Vertical Blue 2022. Fatima’s training results are very close to the current AIDA World Records in two disciplines: FIM (89m/292ft) and CNF (70m/230ft). Fatima has been taking part in and winning medals at competitions since 2019, which is why we believe that she is experienced enough to cope with competition excitement and dive just as deep during the competition as she has been during her training sessions. Fatima’s main competitors will be Jessea Lu of China (FIM 86m/282ft; CNF 62m/203ft,) and Sofía Gómez of Colombia (FIM 86m; CNF 60m/197ft). However, Jessea and Sofía haven’t participated in competitions for a while, so we are not fully sure of their capabilities at the moment.

Fatima Korok, Sofía Gómez, Jessea Lu

These are our predictions - what are yours? Who do you think will win? Place your bets!

This year’s online broadcast will be available by payment - you can already purchase your tickets here.

If you don’t have time to watch the broadcast, don’t worry, we will watch it for you and keep you posted. Let us know which athletes you would like to learn about most of all. Vertical Blue 2022 starts on August 1st - stay tuned!

Day 1 of competition (1 Aug)

Start list

On August 1st, as we predicted, Alenka Artnik of Slovenia will attempt to improve her world record in CWT for both AIDA and CMAS. Her announcement is 123m (404ft). It is 1m (3ft) deeper than her previous historical achievement of 122m (400ft), which she reached at Vertical Blue 2021. Good luck, Alenka; we are holding our breaths for you!

Davide Carrera of Italy will attempt the second deepest dive of the day. His announcement is 120m (394ft) in CWT. At last year’s Vertical Blue, he started with the same bid, but it took him three attempts to successfully perform the dive. We wish Davide luck at reaching it from the first attempt.

Arnaud Jerald of France will try to set the AIDA World Record in CWTB by diving to 117m (384ft). Arnaud already dived successfully to this depth in 2021, so we have no reason to doubt that he will manage the dive again today.

Mateusz Malina of Poland has also made a very serious bid of 92m (302ft) in CNF. In this competition, only one athlete could possibly go deeper with no fins - AIDA World Record Holder in CNF himself, William Trubridge of New Zealand (102m/335ft).

We also have two announcements for AIDA Continental Records of Asia and Africa in FIM. Yu-Chieh Ku of Taiwan will dive to 106m (348ft), and Talya Davidoff of South Africa will attempt 70m (230ft) of depth.

In total, nine athletes have announced AIDA National Records for their countries.

Before the first day starts, we want to clarify some standard rules for Vertical Blue 2022. They are different from other competitions with the same world record status (for example, the World Championship).

Although the competition is arranged according to AIDA rules, the organizers will only recognize absolute world records. This means they will only acknowledge results that exceed a discipline’s deepest depth according to both AIDA and CMAS rules. For example, although Arnaud Jerald announced 117m (384ft), a depth that is 2m (7ft) deeper than the current AIDA World Record, his announcement isn't marked as the world record attempt because it is 1m (3ft) less than Alexey Molchanov's CWTB CMAS World Record.

Another rule at Vertical Blue is that they will not recognize CWTB as a separate discipline for the second year in a row. AIDA began separating diving with bifins from diving with monofin in 2019, while CMAS recognized CWTB as a different discipline in 2015.

This rule will influence the overall score. The points for each discipline are counted as percentage points in relation to the discipline’s deepest competition dive. For example, since Arnaud’s attempt would be the deepest CWTB of the competition, it should theoretically award him 100 points should he complete the dive successfully. However, since CWTB will not be recognized as a separate discipline, the results will be calculated as percentage points in relation to the deepest CWT dive. This means that even if Arnaud Jerald sets a new AIDA World Record in CWTB, he will not receive 100 points for his dive because dives with a monofin will naturally be deeper.

The first Official Top is at 9 a.m. according to Bahamas time (GMT-4). In Berlin, it will be 3 p.m., and in Singapore, it will be 9 p.m. If you have purchased tickets for the broadcast, make sure you don’t miss the following dives. Official Top times are listed according to Bahamas local time:

9:20 a.m. - Mateusz Malina of Poland; CNF 92m (302ft)
10:50 a.m. - Alenka Artnik of Slovenia; CWT 123m (404ft)
11:02 a.m. - Davide Carrera of Itay; CWT 120m (394ft)
11:12 a.m. - Arnaud Jerald of France; CWTB 117m (384ft)
11:53 a.m. - Vitomir Maričić of Croatia; FIM 101m (331ft)
12:03 a.m. - Hanako Hirose of Japan; CWT 100m (328ft)

If you aren’t able to catch the broadcast, make sure that you follow us on Instagram (@molchanovsfreediving) and Facebook, and we will keep you posted.

Sofía Gómez Uribe in Dean's Blue Hole by Daan Verhoeven.

And now - the biggest show in freediving begins!

New AIDA World Record in CWTB by Arnaud Jerald

At Vertical Blue 2022 on August 1st, Arnaud Jerald of France successfully dived to 117m (384ft) and set a new AIDA World Record in CWTB.

It wasn't a very complicated dive for Arnaud, since at Vertical Blue 2021, he already performed a dive to this depth. That dive became a CMAS World Record, but did not last long. Several days later, Alexey Molchanov dived to 118m (387ft) and set a new record, which still stands today.

Arnaud is focusing only on the bifins discipline during this competition, and considering that there are still eight competition days left, we may still expect to see deeper world records in CWTB.

Congratulations and well done, Arnaud, on such a beautiful and relaxed dive - we wish you continuous good luck on your way down in CWTB!

Arnaud Jerald by Daan Verhoeven

Results of the First Competition Day

The first competition day at Vertical Blue 2022 wasn't an easy one - for anyone.

It seems like athletes, organizers, and even Dean’s Blue Hole itself faced complications that day, which led to not everything going as planned.

Complication arise

If you read our preview article, you saw that Dean’s Blue Hole is a place with perfect conditions for freediving with an incredible 50m (164ft) of visibility. Although the first part of the description is still true, the situation with visibility changed dramatically. After weeks of athletes training in Dean's Blue Hole, on the very first day of the competition, the crystal clear water changed into something green and muddy, full of plankton and seaweed. Hopefully, the water will clear soon, otherwise, we will have to rename the competition “Vertical Green!”

Photo by Daan Verhoeven

Organizers, in turn, faced bandwidth problems, which they had to solve on the fly. Meanwhile, viewers missed their chance at watching several of the most important dives of the day. Our fingers are crossed that the dive recordings will be available afterward in good quality.

Athletes face disappointment

It seems that athletes also were not in their best shape. Mingchun Huang of Taiwan opened Vertical Blue with a massive FIM performance to 94m (308ft), but did not successfully complete surface protocol and ended up with a red card.

Then Polish athlete Mateusz Malina also received a red card for his surface protocol. Mateusz managed a very complicated and deep CNF dive of 92m (302ft). However, we were sad to see that he emerged appearing very tired and did not manage to perform surface protocol within the allotted 15 seconds.

But the most disappointing red card went to Alenka Artnik of Slovenia, who was attempting to set a new world record reaching 123m (404ft) of depth with a monofin. Alenka is the current AIDA and CMAS World Record Holder in CWT. Her record-setting AIDA dive was set at 114m (374ft), while her CMAS record stood at 122m (400ft). She also reportedly successfully reached 125m (410ft) in an official training session just a few days ago on July 29th. If Alenka had received a white card for her 123m performance, it would have made her the 5th human in the world to have reached a depth below 122m.

During her official dive, Alenka had confidently reached the bottom plate and headed to the surface. However, at a depth of 15m (49ft), she started pulling up on the rope. Safeties helped her to surface where she appeared to be pale and weak but breathing on her own and conscious. Alenka afterward gave some insight into her dive, saying, “I didn’t sleep the whole night, I guess I was a bit stressed, a little bit nervous. This dive was still a very fun dive. With this dive, you really need to be in optimal shape, and I feel like today I was not.” On the last part of her dive, she reportedly felt strong hypoxia, which hindered her from finishing the world record attempt successfully. We hope that Alenka will get the rest she needs and return the next day stronger than ever.

In total, on the first competition day, athletes earned five red cards and four yellow cards out of the 26 dives.

White cards to celebrate

On a positive note, Davide Carrera of Italy performed a confident dive with a monofin to 120m (394ft), becoming the deepest person of the day. Congratulations, Davide - we look forward to seeing even deeper dives from you soon!

Molchanovs ambassadors Arnaud Jerald of France and Vitomir Maričić of Croatia also completed their performances successfully. Arnaud dived with the CB2x Carbon bifins to 117m (384ft) and set a new AIDA World Record. We are sending Arnaud our best wishes to become the deepest man in the world in this discipline - there are just two more meters to go!

Arnaud Jerald by Daan Verhoeven

Vitomir dived using FIM and reached 101m (331ft) of depth; unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to comment on his dive because the broadcast dropped at the moment of his performance.

National and Continental Records

Luckily, 8 out of the 9 planned National Record attempts and 1 out of the 2 Continental Records came into fruition. With new AIDA National Records, we would like to congratulate the following athletes:

Şahika Ercümen of Turkey - 94m/308ft CWT
Jung A Kim of Korea - 89m/292ft CWT
Enchante Gallardo of the USA - 85m/279ft CWTB
Alfredo Roën of Spain - 85m CWTB
Camila Jaber of Mexico - 75m/246ft CWTB
Pedro Tapia of Mexico - 74m/243ft CWTB
Marine Simonis of Belgium - 65m/213ft CWT

Talya Davidoff of South Africa also successfully completed her dive to 70m (230ft) and set a new AIDA Continental Record for Africa in FIM.

Congratulations to all of the athletes!

It was the first competition day at Vertical Blue 2022 and there are 8 more days to go. Stay tuned and don't miss the historical moments of freediving - more impressive dives are to come!

Day 2 of competition (2 Aug)

Start list

We hope that you have fully embraced the worries and excitement of the previous competition day and are now emotionally ready for a new day. Here is your preview of the second day of Vertical Blue 2022.

Inconspicuous World Records

The start list for the second competition day does not officially promise freediving fans new world records because the organizers are only considering absolute world records (records that exceed current AIDA and CMAS World Records). But Vertical Blue 2022 is being held according to AIDA rules, and today, two athletes will attempt to break two AIDA World Records. Fatima Korok of Hungary announced a 99m (325ft) attempt in FIM, which is 1m (3ft) deeper than AIDA World Record in FIM set in 2019 by the legendary Alessia Zecchini.

Right after Fatima, Alice Modolo of France will strive for 96m (315ft) of depth with bifins, which is 3m (10ft) deeper than the current AIDA World Record in CWTB set by Jennifer Wendland in 2020. We wish Fatima and Alice strength and courage to make their dreams come true.

Fatima Korok, Alice Modolo

Deepest Dives to Watch Out For

William Trubridge of New Zealand has announced a performance of 117m (384ft) in FIM. It is an impressive depth, but yet is still far from the current world records in this discipline (125m/410ft is the current AIDA World Record and 126m/413ft is the current CMAS World Record, both set by Alexey Molchanov). The depth is also 7m (23ft) less than William's official personal best in FIM, which he achieved in 2016. We hope that William is just warming up today and that deeper dives will soon follow.

Gary McGrath of Great Britain has planned a 106m (348ft) dive in CWT. Yesterday, he succeeded diving to 101m (331ft). An added 5m (16ft) is a significant improvement for one day, so we are wishing Gary all the luck in reaching this depth.

Photo of Gary McGrath by Daan Verhoeven

Potential New Continental Records

The number of announced Continental and National Record attempts for today is traditionally high for Vertical Blue - 3 Continental and 8 National Record attempts are planned in total.

We are especially rooting for Yu-Chieh “Jay” Ku of Taiwan, who announced 106m (348ft) in FIM. Yesterday Jay tried reaching that depth to set a new AIDA Continental Record for Asia, but did not successfully complete the surface protocol and was disqualified. Better luck today, Jay!

Time Zone Alert

The first Official Top is at 9 a.m. according to Bahamas time (GMT-4). In Berlin, it will be 3 p.m., and in Singapore, it will be 9 p.m. If you have purchased tickets for the broadcast, make sure you don’t miss the following dives. Official Top times are listed according to Bahamas local time:
9:10 a.m. - John Muñoz of Colombia; FIM 89m/292ft
10:50 a.m. - William Trubridge of New Zealand; FIM 117m/384ft
11:01 a.m. - Gary McGrath of Great Britain; CWT 106m/348ft
11:11 a.m. - Yu-Chieh “Jay” Ku of Taiwan; FIM 106m
11:52 a.m. - Fatima Korok of Hungary; FIM 99m/325ft
12:04 a.m. - Alice Modolo of France; CWTB 96m/315ft

If you aren’t able to catch the broadcast, make sure that you follow us on Instagram (@molchanovsfreediving) and Facebook - we’ll keep you posted.

United Under One Flag

If you watched the broadcast yesterday, you probably noticed that many athletes had a blue flag with a white circle replacing their country's national flag next to their names. This flag is the 'One Ocean' flag of One Ocean Found - the international organization raising environmental consciousness. This flag is being used at Vertical Blue this year to show support and solidarity to the athletes of Taiwan, who are not officially allowed to display their national flag due to geopolitical divides.

New AIDA World Record in CWTB by Alice Modolo

French athlete Alice Modolo has set a new AIDA World Record in CWTB at Vertical Blue 2022 with a dive to 96m (315ft) in bifins.

Alice has been taking part in freediving competitions for over 13 years and this is her second world record. Last year, at Vertical Blue 2021, Alice dived with bifins to 95m (312ft) of depth and became the first French female world record holder.

Freediving is very popular in France. This country has presented to the world freediving legends such as Jacques Mayol, Loïc Leferme, Guillaume Néry, and Morgan Bourc'his. In 2021, Alice placed her name in line with legends by becoming the first female athlete of France who set a world record.

In 2022, Alice continues her journey to the deep. This time, she has improved her official personal best in CWTB by 1m (3ft) and previous AIDA World Record by 3m (10ft), which belonged to Jennifer Wendland of Germany.

The current CMAS World Record in CWTB is 106m (348ft) and belongs to Alenka Artnik, set at the Kaş Baska competition in November 2021. We wish Alice continued persistence to overtake the CMAS World Record one day as well.

Congratulations, Alice, and good luck on your freediving journey!

Results of the Second Competition Day

Unlike the first day of Vertical Blue 2022, the second one went so smoothly that you could even say it was a bit boring.

Strategic yellow cards

We saw performances from 28 athletes - only one athlete received a red card, and five athletes received yellow cards for early turns.

When athletes turn early several meters before the bottom plate, a common explanation is that they could not manage another equalization. If an athlete dives deep and then equalization doesn't happen as planned at some point, they can still fall several meters down "on ears," stretching their eardrums until it becomes painful. Sometimes athletes get lucky, and this freefall "on ears" helps them to reach the bottom plate and grab the tag. But other times, they must turn back without the sacred tag. When athletes choose to continue freefalling after missing an equalization, it's important to recognize the moment you must turn and ascend to save your eardrums and be able to repeat your dive the next day. Perforated eardrums do not just cause an intense ache and take some time to heal - they also can cause disorientation underwater. In the case of disorientation, completing a dive safely might be quite challenging.

We are relieved to report that all the athletes today were strategic enough to turn in time - even if it cost them a new AIDA World Record.

The next dive’s a charm

Fatima Korok of Hungary announced a new AIDA World Record attempt in FIM. She was on her way to diving 99m (325ft), 1m (3ft) deeper than the current AIDA World Record in FIM set by Alessia Zecchini in 2019, but turned back to the surface at 93m (305ft) - not a lucky day for Fatima. We believe Fatima is quite capable of performing the dive next time, as she has already reached the depth during her training sessions.

 Fatima Korok by Daan Verhoeven

The only red card of the day was given to Isabel Sanchez-Aran of Spain for a forbidden pull on the line during her CNF dive of 54m (177ft). At first, she received a white card, but after judges reviewed Diveye footage of all the dives, they noticed Isabel’s mistake and changed her white card to yellow. A white card would have been a new AIDA World Record for Spain. We wish better luck to Isabel on her next dive.

Two athletes of Taiwan, Mingchun Huang and Michael Zhi-Da Ko, announced a new AIDA National Record attempt in CWT and CWTB, respectively. Both made an early turn just 3m (10ft) shy of the bottom plate. As a result, Mingchun performed a 97m (318ft) dive in CWT, and Michael reached 90m (295ft) of depth with bifins. Don’t worry, athletes - there’s still plenty of time left to try again.

Celebratory white cards

For the Taiwanese team, the second time’s a charm. Yu-Chieh “Jay” Ku of Taiwan was not discouraged by his first day’s disqualification for a mistake in the surface protocol. On the very next day, he repeated his FIM dive to 106m (348ft) and smoothly completed the surface protocol, receiving a white card. We are pleased to congratulate Jay on a new AIDA Continental Record for Asia.

William Trubridge of New Zealand predictably performed the deepest dive of the day with his dive to 117m (384ft) in FIM. On the last meters before the surface, William appeared tired, but still had enough energy left to show the surface protocol and receive his white card.

William Trubridge by Daan Verhoeven

William's official personal best in FIM is 124m (407ft), which is just 1m (3m) less than the current AIDA World Record in the discipline. We dream that William will set a new world record in FIM diving to 126m (413ft). The question now remains - has William performed all he can for the moment? Or was this simply a deep warm-up dive for the athlete with even deeper dives to come? We still have 7 days left to see what will happen next.

The hero of the day became French athlete Alice Modolo, who set a new AIDA World Record in CWTB with a dive to 96m (315ft) in bifins.
Last year, at Vertical Blue 2021, Alice dived with bifins to 95m (312ft) of depth and set a new CMAS World Record in CWTB. In 2022, Alice continues her journey to the deep. This time, she has improved her official personal best in CWTB by 1m (3ft) and previous AIDA World Record by 3m (10ft), which belonged to Jennifer Wendland of Germany. Congratulations!

Alice Modolo by Daan Verhoeven

New National Records

The second competition day was also fruitful for new AIDA National Records - 6 out of 8 National Record attempts were successful. With new records for their countries, we would like to congratulate the following athletes:

John Muñoz of Colombia - 89m/292ft FIM
Jung A Kim of Korea - 84m/276ft FIM
Pepe Salcedo of Mexico - 105m/344ft CWT
Juan Valdivia of Peru - 65m/213ft CWTB
Marine Simonis of Belgium - 56m/184ft CNF

It was the second competition day at Vertical Blue 2022 and there are 7 more days to go. Stay tuned and don't miss the historical moments of freediving - more impressive dives are to come!

Day 3 of competition (3 Aug)

Start list

The third competition day is here - let’s get ready for it.

An unexpected twist

When we were trying to predict male world records, we thought that William Trubridge would be the only man at Vertical Blue 2022 who could come close to meeting or exceeding world-record depths in FIM.

However, the start list for the 3rd competition day shows that Mateusz Malina of Poland has announced 124m (407ft), just 1m (3ft) less than the current AIDA World Record set by Alexey Molchanov in 2018. Considering that Mateusz hasn’t participated in depth competitions for the past several years, we honestly did not see him coming for a world record.

On the first day of Vertical Blue 2022, Mateusz performed a massive CNF dive to 92m (302ft) of depth but did not successfully complete the surface protocol. We wish him better luck today.

Deepest dives to watch out for

The second deepest bid of the day belongs to William Trubridge. William will be attempting 110m (361ft) in CWT, a depth that is 12m (39ft) shy of his official personal best in the discipline. We hope the athlete will complete the dive easily. However, it might be fair to say that we should stop dreaming about new world records performed by William.

Additionally, athletes from Taiwan and China will fight for a new AIDA Continental Record for Asia. Michael Zhi-Da Ko and Potti Lau made the same 93m (361ft) bids in CWTB. Michael already tried to reach the depth yesterday but made an early turn at 90m (295ft). We are eager to see Michael and Potti battle it out today. Who will you be rooting for?

The deepest female announcement and the third deepest bid of the day belong to Hanako Hirose - 103m (338ft) in CWT. At Vertical Blue 2018, Hanako set an AIDA World Record with her dive to 106m (338ft). If Hanako is in a good mood today, there is no doubt that she can perform a seamless dive.

Hanako Hirose by Daan Verhoeven

It seems that Fatima Korok of Hungary decided to have some rest after her close-to-the-world-record dive of 93m (305ft) in FIM yesterday by announcing 56m (184ft) in CNF. This performance will add precious points to her overall score.

Potential new National Records

On the third competition day, we are looking forward to seeing three bids for new AIDA Continental Records and eight bids for new AIDA National Records.

We would like to especially direct your attention to the 92m (302ft) FIM announcement of Şahika Ercümen of Turkey. Şahika performs in all disciplines at a high level and has already set a new AIDA National Record in CWT with a dive to 94m (308ft) on the first competition day. However, Şahika’s announcement for the third competition day is just 6m (20ft) shallowewr than the current AIDA World Record in FIM set by Alessia Zecchini. Toil and consistency during training sessions pay off, and year by year, Şahika is getting closer to world-record dives. We enjoy watching your growth, Şahika - good luck today!

Time zone alert

The first Official Top is at 9 a.m. according to Bahamas time (GMT-4). In Berlin, it will be 3 p.m., and in Singapore, it will be 9 p.m. If you have purchased tickets for the broadcast, make sure you don’t miss the following dives. Official Top times are listed according to Bahamas local time:

10:20 a.m. - Vitomir Maričić of Croatia; CNF 80m/262ft
10:50 a.m. - Mateusz Malina of Poland; FIM 124m/407ft
11:12 a.m. - Hanako Hirose of Japan; CWT 103m/338ft
11:02 a.m. - William Trubridge of New Zealand; CWT 110m/361ft
12:02 p.m. - Michael Zhi-Da Ko of Taiwan; CWTB 93m/305ft
12:12 p.m. - Potti Lau of China; CWTB 93m
12:22 p.m - Şahika Ercümen of Turkey; FIM 92m/302ft
13:58 p.m. - Fatima Korok of Hungary; CNF 56m/184ft

If you aren’t able to catch the broadcast, make sure that you follow us on Instagram (@molchanovsfreediving) and Facebook - we’ll keep you posted.

Results of the Third Competition Day

The third day of Vertical Blue 2022 is over and we’re here to tell you about it.

Three meters to the world record

The third day was technically without new world records. However, an especially remarkable dive was made only 1m (3ft) shallower than the current AIDA World Record in FIM. Mateusz Malina of Poland pulled the rope down to 124m (407ft) of depth. We’re not sure about you, but considering his disqualification in a CNF dive earlier in the competition, we were on the edges of our seats watching Mateusz diving that deep. But the athlete performed it in a smooth and relaxed manner, emerged smiling, and confidently performed the surface protocol.

In the after-dive interview, Mateusz said that it was his personal best for him (and new AIDA National Record of Poland in FIM), but he was absolutely sure that he could reach that depth. Previously, the only thing that was stopping him from going deeper was equalization.

It seems like a winter spent in Dahab paid off and his equalization issue is now solved. Does this mean that Mateusz will attempt a new world record soon?

Current AIDA and CMAS World Records belong to Alexey Molchanov. Alexey dived to 125m (410ft) at Vertical Blue 2018 and set the AIDA World Record. Three years later, he achieved the CMAS World Record with his dive to 126m (413ft) at Vertical Blue 2021.

Considering that Mateusz has only 3m (10ft) left to match the absolute world record in FIM, we think that it’s very likely that he will attempt to set one soon.

Celebratory white cards

The second deepest dive of the day belongs to William Trubridge. As William said after the dive, he had taken the monofin out of his closet (where it was stored untouched for a year) right before the dive. And then he simply went and dived to 110m (361ft) in CWT. While the dive didn't look like an easy one on the broadcast, it was still successful and ended with a white card.

After William’s dive, there was a cluster of successful CWT dives to 100 - 103m (328 - 338ft) of depth performed by Hanako Hirose of Japan, Stéphane Tourreau of France, and Alfredo Roën of Spain.

Between these three athletes, Pepe Salcedo of Mexico also squeezed in a new AIDA National Record for Mexico with a FIM dive to 102m (335ft). Pepe is a showy athlete who is especially fun to watch - he is the only athlete diving in a sleeveless swimmer monowetsuit and multi-colored monofin, jumps high and hangs on to the dive line to perform the surface protocol, and last year, even grabbed a bottom tag with his teeth at depth and kept it there all the way to the surface. However, after this FIM dive, Pepe seemed to be so tired that he did not hang from the top of the dive line in his normal fashion - he humbly performed the surface protocol holding the line in the water. We hope you are alright, Pepe. Congratulations on your new National Record!

Lost fights

On this, the bright white stripe on the competition results screen was over and a multi-colored one began - 8 yellow and red cards in a row.

Athletes from Taiwan and China both lost their fight at a new AIDA Continental Record for Asia. Michael Zhi-Da Ko eventually reached 93m (361ft) of depth with bifins, but eventually blacked out and ended up with a red card. Potti Lau followed Michael aiming to reach the same depth in CWTB, but made an early turn at 91m (299ft), receiving 3 penalties and a yellow card. We hope these athletes still will be able to conquer that depth at this competition.

We were also rooting for Şahika Ercümen of Turkey, who attempted to dive 92m (302ft) in FIM and ended up reaching the depth successfully. But on her way back, about 10m (33ft) before the surface, Şahika blacked out and was brought to the surface by the safeties. We wish you a quick recovery and better luck next time, Şahika!

Midterm winners

According to the results of the first act of Vertical Blue 2022, the leaders on the overall scoreboard are as we predicted - William Trubridge of New Zealand and Fatima Korok of Hungary.

William received two white cards for FIM dives to 117m (384ft) and a CWT dive to 110m (361ft) of depth. So, in total, William earned 186.02 points. In turn, Fatima received a yellow card and 86 points for her FIM dive to 93m (305ft) and a white card for her CNF dive to 56m (184ft) of depth. In total, she has 190.32 points.

William is closely followed by Vitomir Maričić of Croatia with a total score of 181.45. And in third place so far is Pedro Tapia of Mexico. Fatima is followed by Jung A Kim of Korea (184.08) and Sofía Gomez of Colombia (183.89).

By surprise, all the leaders have very close point totals, which doesn’t make it very easy for us to predict who will become the overall winners after the third act of the competition. Who are you placing your bid on?

The deepest dives by discipline are as follows:
CWT
Davide Carrera of Italy - 120m/394ft
Hanako Hirose of Japan - 103m/338ft

CWTB
Arnaud Jerald of France - 117m/384ft
Alice Modolo of France - 96m/315ft

FIM
Mateusz Malina of Poland - 124m/407ft
Fatima Korok of Hungary - 93m/305ft

CNF
Vitomir Maričić of Croatia - 80m/262ft
Yasuko Ozeki of Japan - 62m/203ft

On this, the first third of Vertical Blue 2022 is over. August 4 is a blessed day off. We wish all the athletes, safeties, judges, and organizers plenty of rest and recovery! Stay tuned - we’ll be back soon.

Day 4 of competition (4 Aug)

Start list

After a day off on August 4th, athletes are back in Dean’s Blue Hole on August 5th to resume the competition with each other and themselves for extra meters into the abyss.

A long-anticipated World Record attempt

Arnaud Jerald of France will attempt to become the deepest freediver in the world in the CWTB discipline with an announcement of 119m (390ft). It is 2m (7ft) deeper than Arnaud's dive on the first competition day and 1m (3ft) deeper than the current CMAS World Record in CWTB set by Alexey Molchanov in 2021. Good luck, Arnaud - may the force be with you!

Arnaud Jerald by Daan Verhoeven

Deepest dives to watch out for

The two deepest bids of the day - 123m (404ft) in CWT - belong to Davide Carrera of Italy and Mateusz Malina of Poland.

Davide will try to improve his official personal best, which he reached at Vertical Blue 2021, by 1m (3ft). He had already attempted a depth of 123m (404ft) at the 5th CMAS Freediving Outdoor Championship 2021 in Kaş, Turkey, but was unable to complete the surface protocol. On the first competition day at Vertical Blue 2022, Davide performed a smooth dive to 120m (394ft). It’s remarkable to see how, after 20 years of participating in freediving competitions, Davide continues chasing the depth and patiently improves his official personal bests meter by meter.

Unlike Davide, Mateusz Malina decided to improve his official personal best in CWT by 22m (72ft) in one dive! In theory, the 123m (404ft) depth is already familiar to Mateusz. On the third competition day, he successfully performed a 124m (407ft) dive in FIM. However, a dive to these depths requires an athlete to be in their best shape and statediving of mind in freediving. Hopefully, it is true for Mateusz today - we can't wait to see how he will perform the massive dive.

After her unfortunate dive to 123m (404ft) on the second competition day, Alenka Artnik of Slovenia announced a safe depth of 111m (364ft) in CWT, which is 11m (36ft) less than her current outstanding World Record in this discipline. We hope Alenka will easily descend to this incredible depth.

William Trubridge has announced a 88m (289ft) CNF dive, which is 14m (46ft) shallower than his current AIDA World Record in CNF, but 8m (26ft) deeper than the deepest CNF dive of Vertical Blue 2022 (performed by Vitomir Maričić). It seems like William is serious about aiming to win first place overall.

Potential new National Records

It is a Vertical Blue tradition that many new national records are set during these nine long competition days. But from today’s start list, there are 11 announcements for new AIDA National Records and two announcements for new AIDA Continental Records.

We don’t want to sound partial, but we would once again like to draw your attention to the heroes of our previous articles. Potti Lau of China will make a second attempt in a row to conquer 93m (305ft) of depth with bifins to set the AIDA Continental Record of Asia in CWTB. Meanwhile, Yun-Chieh “Jay” Ku will now try to set a new AIDA National Record for Taiwan diving with monofin to 103m (338ft) of depth. On the second competition day, Jay set a new AIDA Continental Record for Asia in FIM on his second attempt. We hope Taiwan’s CWT national record will surrender itself to Jay on his first attempt.

The new AIDA World Record Holder in CWTB, Alice Modolo of France, will swap her bifins out for a monofin to try to improve her official personal best and AIDA National Record of France in CWT with a dive to 101m (331ft). This dive will add one more meter to her dive last year at Vertical Blue 2021, where she reached the 100m (328ft) mark with a monofin for the very first time in competition.

Vitomir Maričić of Croatia will attempt to dive to the same depth of 101m (331ft), only in bifins. In the start list, Vitomir’s dive is marked as a new AIDA National Record of Croatia. However, in July 2022, Vitomir already dived to 104m (341ft) with bifins at the Ocean Rijeka club comp AIDA Croatia. Perhaps, that dive wasn't registered as an official national record.

Vitomit Maricic

Time zone alert

The first Official Top is at 9 a.m. according to Bahamas time (GMT-4). In Berlin, it will be 3 p.m., and in Singapore, it will be 9 p.m. If you have purchased tickets for the broadcast, make sure you don’t miss the following dives. Official Top times are listed according to Bahamas local time:

09:30am - Potti Lau of China; CWTB 93m/305ft
10:10am - William Trubridge of New Zealand; CNF 88m/288ft
10:50am - Davide Carrera of Italy; CWT 123m/404ft
11:00am - Mateusz Malina of Poland; CWT 123m
11:11am - Arnaud Jerald of France; CWTB 119m/390ft
11:22am - Alenka Artnik of Slovenia; CWT 111m/364ft
12:02pm - Yun-Chieh “Jay” Ku of Taiwan; CWT 103m/338ft
12:12pm - Alice Modolo of France; CWT 101m/331ft
12:22p.m. - Vitomir Maričić of Croatia; CWTB 101m

If you aren’t able to catch the broadcast, make sure that you follow us on Instagram (@molchanovsfreediving) and Facebook - we’ll keep you posted.

New AIDA World Record in CWTB by Arnaud Jerald

Arnaud Jerald of France has just set a long-anticipated absolute world record in CWTB - 119m (390ft). Congratulations, Arnaud!

What is an absolute world record?

On August 5th at Vertical Blue 2022, Arnaud became the deepest man in the world in bifins with his dive to 119m (390ft) of depth in an official competition. His achieved result is the new AIDA World Record in CWTB, also known as an absolute record. The unofficial definition of an absolute world record is that the reached depth is deeper than both the current AIDA and CMAS world records. Previously, the AIDA World Record in CWTB was set at 117m (384ft) by Arnaud on the first competition day of Vertical Blue 2022. The CMAS World Record in CWTB currently sits at 118m (387ft), set by Alexey Molchanov at Vertical Blue 2021.

Arnaud’s freediving journey

Arnaud Jerald is a 26-year-old French athlete and Molchanovs ambassador. He attended his first freediving course at the age of 16 and reached a depth of 30m (98ft). Then, at 21 years old, he reached 100m (328ft), becoming the youngest freediver in history to achieve this depth in competition. In 2019, at the age of 23, Arnaud broke his first world record in CWTB. Today’s world record is now the sixth in Arnaud’s freediving career.

Arnaud Jerald by Daan Verhoeven

Arnaud’s main competitors

Arnaud is currently focused on the CWTB discipline and all of his six world records, which he set diving with bifins. Arnaud’s main competitors in the discipline are Abdelatif Alouach of France (official personal best of 116m/381ft) and Alexey Molchanov of Russia (official personal best of 118m/387ft). Over the years, this CWTB trio spent time stealing the world record from each other meter by meter. Although Arnaud’s new world record may not last long (Abdelatif has already arrived on Roatan island for the 29th AIDA World Championship), we believe many new world records await Arnaud - we wish him the best of luck on his way to deeper depths.

Results of the Fourth Competition Day

We aren’t exaggerating when we say that this was the most dramatic day of Vertical Blue 2022 yet. We witnessed emotions on the full spectrum ranging from disappointment to pure joy and romantic excitement. Read more below.

Surprising performances

Benjamin Zyons (USA) opened the day with a 100m (328ft) CWT dive. At first, it seemed like an ordinary and smooth dive. Once Benjamin emerged, he showed the OK sign and said, "I'm OK," then he celebrated the victory by clapping on the dive line. Only then did he realize that he hadn't yet removed his nose clip. In AIDA, this means he performed the wrong surface protocol, which lead to his disqualification. However, Benjamin understood his mistake right in time, removed his nose clip, and repeated the surface protocol quickly (which is allowed in AIDA if it occurs within the specified time frame). Miraculously, he managed to squeeze all these actions into 15 seconds. White card for Benjamin!

Later, we were glued to the screen watching how the unbeatable World Record Holder in CNF William Trubridge (NZL) performed a massive dive to 88m (289ft) of depth and received a white card. Although William’s dive is 14m (46ft) shallower than his current AIDA World Record in CNF, it still became the deepest CNF dive at Vertical Blue 2022 so far. However, the official results later reflected that he was eventually given a yellow card for a lost tag, which means he was deducted 1 point as a penalty. Still, his performance is the deepest CNF dive yet at this competition.

William Trubridge by Daan Verhoeven

Love, National Records, and freedivers

There is no way we can skip over telling you about the next dive. Alfredo Roën (ESP) made a polished and easy dive to 90m (295ft) of depth with bifins. While his performance became a new AIDA National Record of Spain, the excitement didn’t stop there. As soon as Alfredo returned to the platform after the dive, he dropped down on one knee and asked his girlfriend and mother of his son, Tania, to marry him. The romantic moment was captured on the broadcast and stole our hearts. Such an amazing way to memorialize the engagement and get a video of it - congratulations, Alfredo and Tania! We wish you love and numerous happy dives together.

The deepest dives of Vertical Blue 2022

Davide Carrera (ITA) and Mateusz Malina (POL) attempted the same depth of 123m (404ft) in CWT. Carrera's dive looked easy until he reached 103m (338ft), where he turned back to the surface early. At depth, he signaled to Diveye and all the concerned viewers that he had trouble equalizing his ear. Thank you for the underwater message, Davide, and better luck next time!

Mateusz's dive, on the contrary, didn't look as smooth. At first, the athlete bumped his nose on the line and flinched, and then later he displayed signs of struggling with equalization. Fortunately, he made it to the bottom plate, grabbed the tag, and headed to the surface after reaching 123m (404ft). Mateusz's way back didn't look like an easy one either. The monofin technique looked far from the perfect technique Mateusz uses to set world records in the pool. Closer to the surface, Mateusz, faced another challenge - nitrogen narcosis, which resulted in him almost losing the dive line. But, somehow, on the surface, the athlete still emerged looking fresh, completed the surface protocol, and earned a white card. Congratulations, Mateusz, on the new AIDA National Record of Poland and the deepest CWT dive at Vertical Blue 2022!

National, Continental, and World Records

The hero of the day became Arnaud Jerald (FRA), who set a new AIDA World record in CWTB, diving with bifins to 119m (390ft) of depth. We dedicated a separate article to Arnaud and his record, freediving journey, and main competitors. You can find it here.

Arnaud Jerald by Daan Verhoeven

According to the start list, we had 11 AIDA National Record attempts and two Continental Record attempts. In total, seven new AIDA National Records and one Continental Record were successful :

Jung A Kim (KOR) - 92m/302ft CWT
Alfredo Roën (ESP) - 90m/295ft CWTB
Mateusz Malina (POL) - 123m/404ft CWT
Pedro Tapia (MEX) - 105m/344ft CWT
Alice Modolo (FRA) - 101m/331ft CWT
Vitomir Maričić (CRO) - 101m/331ft CWTB
Talya Davidoff (ZAF) - 76m/249ft CWT - Continental Record
Marine Simonis (BEL) - 58m/190ft CNF

However, it seems that the national records provided may possibly be incorrect. It turns out that athletes define which of their dives are national records themselves, and we are not sure the competition organizers are double-checking this information against AIDA’s official records. For example, the 101m (331ft) dive of Alice Modolo (FRA) is listed as a National Record; however, according to the AIDA website, the current AIDA National Record of France in CWT is 102m (335ft), set by Marianna Gillespie (FRA) on August 2021 at AIDA Triton Cup August - Calm Zone. So, as loyal freediving fans, be sure to keep an eye out and let us know if you see a mistake.

It was the fourth competition day at Vertical Blue 2022 and there are five more days to go. Stay tuned and don't miss the historical moments of freediving - more impressive dives are to come!

Competition Day 5 (Aug 6)

Start list

One rest day between Act 1 and 2 of Vertical Blue 2022 may not have been enough for everyone - on the fifth competition day, some athletes decided to have another day’s rest. Today, there will only be 22 announcements - this is very little compared to the 29-30 announcements we have witnessed in previous days. A few athletes also decided to take it easy and make shallower bids.

National Records still on the rise

Taking it easy isn't quite reason enough for some of these athletes to skip a chance at setting new AIDA National and Continental Records. 12 out of the 22 athletes competing today will be attempting new records on behalf of their countries.

Molchanovs mentee Camila Jaber (MEX) will attempt to set a new AIDA National Record in CWTB diving to 77m (253ft) with bifins. Her teammate, Pedro Tapia (MEX), will try to steal the male national record in CWT away from Pepe Salcedo (MEX) with his own dive to 106m (348ft). On the second day of Vertical Blue 2022, Pepe set a new AIDA National Record of Mexico in CWT with his dive to 105m (344ft) with a monofin. That same day, Pedro dived to 102m (335ft), and yesterday, Pedro repeated Pepe’s dive by also successfully managing a 105m (344ft) CWT dive. Today, Pedro will attempt to improve the CWT National Record by another meter. Good luck, Pedro!

Fatima Korok (HUN) and Şahika Ercümen (TUR) have been slowly working their way up to the AIDA World Record in FIM. On the second competition day, Fatima attempted to dive 99m (325ft) in FIM, but turned early at 93m (305ft) of depth. Şahika performed a 92m (302ft) FIM dive on the third day, but blacked out several meters before the surface. Today, both women amended their bids: Fatima made a 96m (315ft) announcement and Şahika is aiming for 88m (289ft). If successful, both results will become new AIDA National Records in FIM for Hungary and Turkey, respectively.

Fatima Korok

The deepest dive of the day

The deepest bid of the day belongs to Yu-Chieh Ku (TPE) - 108m (354ft) CWT. During training sessions, Yu-Chieh already dived to 111m (364ft) of depth, so if the athlete is in a good mood today, the dive should go well for him. A successful performance will become a new AIDA National Record of Taiwan and the second record Yu-Chieh set at Vertical Blue 2022 (106m/348ft in FIM on day 2 of competition).

The deepest bid among the women is 106m (348ft) in CWT, which belongs to Hanako Hirose (JPN). Hanako already made this same dive at Vertical Blue 2018, which became a World Record. However, it didn’t last very long at all. On the very next day, her record was surpassed by Alessia Zecchini (ITA) by 1m (3ft). At Vertical Blue 2022, a successful monofin dive may bring Hanako a silver medal in CWT.

Hanako Hirose, Alessia Zecchini, Sayuri Kinoshita at Vertical Blue 2018

Time zone alert

The first Official Top is at 9 a.m. according to Bahamas time (GMT-4). In Berlin, it will be 3 p.m., and in Singapore, it will be 9 p.m. If you have purchased tickets for the broadcast, make sure you don’t miss out on the following dives. Official Top times are listed according to Bahamas local time:

09:00 a.m. - Vitomir Maričić of Croatia; CWT 80m/262ft
09:09 a.m. - Camila Jaber of Mexico; CWTB 77m/253ft
10:30 a.m. - Yun-Chieh Ku of Taiwan; CWT 108m/354ft
10:40 a.m. - Pedro Tapia of Mexico; CWT 106m/348ft
10:50 a.m. - Hanako Hirose of Japan; CWT 106m
11:01 a.m. - Fatima Korok of Hungary; FIM 96m/315ft
11:22 a.m. - Şahika Ercümen of Turkey; FIM 88m/289ft

If you aren’t able to catch the broadcast, make sure you are following us on Instagram (@molchanovsfreediving) and Facebook - we’ll keep you posted.

Results of the Fifth Competition Day

The fifth competition day and first half of Vertical Blue 2022 are over. You may have noticed that the results were more colorful than usual. Upon writing the preview of the fifth competition day, we guessed that athletes may already be quite tired. This must be true, because how else can we explain the fact that only 50% of the dives were successful? Only 11 out of 22 athletes received white cards.

The most persistent

Among these 11 athletes is Yun-Chieh Ku (TPE). Yun-Chieh dived to 108m (354ft) with a monofin and set a new AIDA National Record for Taiwan in CWT. His performance became the deepest dive of the day.

Another remarkable achievement belongs to Fatima Korok (HUN). After a failed AIDA World Record attempt in FIM on the second competition day, Fatima revised her strategy and made a bid 3m (10ft) shallower, successfully performing the 96m (315ft) dive and setting a new AIDA National Record for Hungary in FIM. The achieved result is only 2m (7ft) shallower than the current AIDA World Record in FIM set by Alessia Zecchini in 2019. Alessia had better take care since it seems that Fatima is coming for her record. If Fatima doesn't manage to perform a deeper dive in FIM at Vertical Blue 2022, she will have the opportunity to do so at the 29th AIDA World Championship in Roatan and the CMAS Freediving Outdoor Championship in Kaş, according to her post-dive interview.

Enchante Gallardo (USA) is also among these 11 athletes who just didn't give up. She dived to 87m (285ft) in FIM and set a new AIDA Continental Record for North America in FIM. It is the second record for Enchante at Vertical Blue 2022. On the first competition day, she dived to 85m (279ft) with bifins and set a new AIDA National Record in CWTB.

Enchante Gallardo

Another 3 new AIDA National records were set by:

Juan Valdivia (PER) - 69m/226ft CWTB
Michael Zhi-Da Ko (TPE) - 64m/210ft CNF
Isabel Sanchez-Aran (ESP) - 55m/180ft CNF

Congratulations, Yun-Chieh, Fatima, Enchante, Juan, Michael, and Isabel. We nominate you as the most persistent freedivers at Vertical Blue 2022 - keep going!

The devil is in the details

The most heartbreaking red card went to Şahika Ercümen (TUR). After blacking out on her attempt to 92m (302ft) in FIM on the third day, Şahika announced an 88m (289ft) dive to confidently set a new AIDA National Record for Turkey. And she actually did it! Şahika surfaced fresh and happy, took off her nose clip, and exhaled the words, "Oh my god." Only after did she show the OK-sign and said, "I am okay." Her performance was disqualified for the phrase "Oh my god" due to the fact that it goes against AIDA rules for surface protocol. However, in the same situation, at a CMAS competition, Şahika would have received a white card.

We want to ask your opinion, freediving fans. Do you think it was fair?

Şahika Ercümen

Yellow is the color of optimists

After two dives with a monofin, Davide Carrera (ITA) decided to dive to 70m (230ft) in the CNF discipline. It was a bit unusual to see Davide without a monofin, but he managed his CNF dive just as confidently as a CWT dive. Unfortunately, at the surface, Davide could not find his tag once the judge asked him to present it. One explanation would be that the tag may not have been stuck securely to the velcro on his wetsuit and was lost in the ascent. Fortunately, the penalty for a lost tag is just one point. Davide's CNF dive became the fourth among the deepest CNF dives at Vertical Blue 2022 and has resulted in his position as fourth in the overall competition ranking so far. We are curious, if Davide also performs a FIM dive, might he possibly win a medal in the overall results?

Sheena McNally (CAN) was going to set a new AIDA Continental Record for North America in CWTB by diving with bifins to 89m (292ft) of depth. However, she turned early at 50m (164ft). Sheena celebrated the early turn and graced livestream viewers with a funny underwater dance. And why not - if you can’t make a deep dive, then you at least can enjoy an easy dive, dance at depth, and get a nice video from Diveye.

As advertisement

You can also decide to test a pair of new fins, as Vitomir Maričić (CRO) did. As you may know, in July 2022, we launched the new PRO Monofin 4 and PRO Hyper Bifins. Considering the production time of custom-made fins, we didn’t have the chance to deliver the new fins to athletes in advance for them to test them and prepare for competition in time. Vitomir received his PRO Monofin 4 Fiberglass and PRO Hyper Bifins Fiberglass the day before Vertical Blue 2022 started. Nevertheless, on the fourth competition day, Vitomir performed a beautiful and effortless CWTB dive to 101m (331ft) with new bifins, setting a new AIDA National Record for Croatia in CWTB. And on the fifth competition day, Vitomir performed a test-and-rest dive to 80m (262ft) with a new monofin. It seems that changing freediving equipment right before a competition isn't a bad omen anymore. That is, at least, if you are Vitomir Maričić. Congratulations, Vitomir, on the successful dives, and thank you for the great test dives!

Vitomir Maričić

It was the fifth competition day at Vertical Blue 2022 and there are four more days to go. Stay tuned and don't miss out on our freediving reports!

Competition day 6 (Aug 7)

Start list

The last day of the second act of Vertical Blue 2022 is here.

This year, the competition was squeezed between 2 World Championships: the 28th AIDA Pool World Championship, which took place in Burgas on June 20-24, 2022, and the upcoming 29th AIDA Depth World Championship, which starts on August 15th on Roatan Island, Honduras.

Perhaps this is the reason why athletes are cautious and saving their energies with no announcements of new AIDA World Records attempts on the sixth competition day. However, we still have some interesting dives to witness.

Deepest dives

William Trubridge (NZL) has announced a 120m (394ft) dive in FIM. It is 4m (13ft) shallower than William's official personal best in the discipline and 5m (16ft) shallower than the current AIDA World Record in FIM set by Alexey Molchanov.

Our only concern is caused by William's FIM dive to 117m (384ft) on the second competition day, which didn't look like a very easy dive for the athlete. But William has a strong competitor to catch up with - on the third competition day, Mateusz Malina (POL) performed a massive FIM dive to 124m (407ft), which is only 1m (3ft) shallower than the world record.

Today, Mateusz will attempt to even the score with William in CNF. On day one of competition, Mateusz dived to 92m (302ft) with no fins, but did not successfully complete the surface protocol. Therefore, the midterm winner in CNF is William with his dive to 88m (289ft) on the fourth competition day.

William Trudridge by Daan Verhoeven

Among the women, the deepest bid belongs to Hanako Hirose (JPN). She will attempt to dive to 106m (348ft) again with her monofin. Hanako has already tried to dive to this depth yesterday but turned back at 90m (295ft). We wish you better luck today, Hanako!

At the same depth, but with bifins, is another dive by Pepe Salcedo (MEX). If successful, his result will become a new AIDA Continental Record for North America in CWTB. The announced depth is 10m (33ft) deeper than Pepe's personal best in CWTB. Considering that at Vertical Blue 2022, Pepe set a new AIDA National Record in CWT by diving to 105m (344ft) with monofin, we suspect there may be a mistake in the start list.

National and Continental Records to struggle for

Jung A Kim (KOR) is going to perform her third CWT dive at this competition. Jung A has already dived to 89m (292ft) on the first day and 92m (302ft) on the fourth competition day with monofin, setting 2 AIDA National Records for South Korea. Today, Jung A will attempt to perform a 95m (312ft) dive. Slowly, but steadily, Jung A is getting closer to 100m (328ft) of depth!

Tenacious Potti Lau (CHN) will attempt to conquer 93m (305ft) of depth with bifins for the third time. If successful, his performance will become a new AIDA Continental Record of Asia in CWTB. Potti’s teammate, Jessea Lu, will also try to improve her official personal best in CWT and set a new AIDA National Record for China by diving to 89m (292ft) with a monofin.

In memory of Carla Sue Hanson

On the second camera break between the second and third part of the day, athletes, judges, and safeties will celebrate the life of Carla Sue Hanson. Carla, also known as Madame President, was the president of AIDA since 2016 and was re-elected for the 2020 mandate. But in February 2020, Carla passed away peacefully in Newport Beach, California following a brief battle with breast cancer.

For a long time, Carla was the heart and soul of the freediving community, dedicating her time and energy to athletes and sports development. When she became President in 2016, she was the first female, non-European to be voted into this role in AIDA’s then 23-year history, winning 21 out of 28 board votes. In the 2019 ballot, Hanson won 28 out of 32 votes.

But Carla wasn't just a top official and judge, she was also an experienced athlete herself. Carla was a world-class competitive swimmer and represented the US in the Olympics. She made her first step in freediving in 2008; led by William Trubridge, she eventually became a competitive freediver as well.

However, most current competitive athletes should remember Carla as the most widely experienced AIDA judge. During her career, Carla judged 36 pool and depth competitions. Considering that Carla had worked as a judge at Vertical Blue competitions since 2012 and multiple World Championships since 2011, she might be the single person who has witnessed more world records than anyone else.

Besides, in 2017, Carla was a commentator for the AIDA World Championships in Roatan. This was the first time in the history of freediving that an AIDA World Championship was fully live-streamed with Diveye.

The most important thing we would like you to remember is that freediving wouldn't be as we know it now without Carla.

Carla Sue Hanson by Daan Verhoeven

Time zone alert

The first Official Top is at 9 a.m. according to Bahamas time (GMT-4). In Berlin, it will be 3 p.m., and in Singapore, it will be 9 p.m. If you have purchased tickets for the broadcast, make sure you don’t miss the following dives. Official Top times are listed according to Bahamas local time:

10:40 a.m. - William Trubridge (NZL); FIM 120m/394ft
10:51 a.m. - Hanako Hirose (JPN); CWT 106m/348ft
11:02 a.m. - Pepe Salcedo (MEX); CWTB 106m
11:22 a.m. - Jung A Kim (KOR); CWT 95m/312ft
11:42 a.m. - Potti Lau (CHN); CWTB 93m/305ft
11:52 a.m. - Mateusz Malina (POL); CNF 90m/295ft
12:03 p.m. - Jessea Lu (CHN); CWT 89m/292ft

If you aren’t able to catch the broadcast, make sure that you follow us on Instagram (@molchanovsfreediving) and Facebook - we’ll keep you posted.

Results of the Sixth Competition Day

On the sixth day of Vertical Blue 2022, we watched the performances of 23 athletes. The ratio of successful dives has slightly improved compared to the previous competition day - 60% of performances ended in white cards.

Long-anticipated national records

Despite poor visibility and lighting caused by a thick layer of sargassum on the surface, Stefan Randig (DEU) successfully completed his dive to 77m (253ft) without fins. It was Stefan's third CNF dive at Vertical Blue 2022 - on day 2 of the competition, Stefan started with a 71m (233ft) performance and has been increasing the depth by 3m (10m) dive by dive. Eventually, Stefan improved his previous AIDA National Record for Germany in CNF by 2m (7ft). Congratulations, Stefan!

Stefan Randig by Daan Verhoeven

Şahika Ercümen (TUR) finally received a white card for her performance. She dived to 57m (187ft) of depth in CNF and set a new AIDA National Record for Turkey, which is the second national record she has set at Vertical Blue 2022. On the first competition day, she also set a CWT national record with a 94m (308ft) in a monofin. However, Şahika’s last two FIM dives ended with red cards - on the third competition day, Şahika attempted a very serious depth of 92m (302ft), but sadly surfaced with a blackout. After some rest, on day 5, Şahika made a shallower bid and completed her dive confidently. However, she made a mistake by saying, “Oh my god” in the middle of the surface protocol. That resulted in her receiving another red card. As the third act of Vertical Blue 2022 approaches, Şahika still has two dives left to complete, and it is almost certain that she will attempt to get a white card in FIM again. Good luck, Şahika!

Perhaps the most anticipated new AIDA Continental Record of Asia in CWTB was set Potti Lau (CHN), who dived to 93m (305ft) of depth with bifins. Potti and Michael Zhi-Da Ko (TPE) together struggled to conquer the depth with bifins for a total of five times during Vertical Blue 2022. Finally, the depth surrendered itself to Potti, making him the Continental Record Holder of Asia in CWTB. Congratulation, Potti! We wonder how Michael will respond - he still has 2 dives left to perform in the third act of Vertical Blue 2022.

Potti Lau by Alex St-Jean

Pepe Salcedo (MEX), as usual, performed a most spectacular dive, but unfortunately, it was not successful. He aimed for a daring depth of 106m (348ft) with the brand new Molchanovs PRO Hyper Bifins Fiberglass and set a new AIDA Continental Record for North America. The bid was 10m (33ft) deeper than Pepe's official personal best in the CWTB discipline and 6m (20ft) deeper than the current AIDA Continental Record for North America. We even suspected a mistake in the start list when saw Pepe's announcement for the sixth day. Still, Pepe reached the depth successfully and ripped the tag off the bottom plate with his teeth in his signature manner. But this time, the depth didn't forgive him for his bravado. Several meters before the surface, Pepe had to pull up on the dive line to emerge in time and avoid an underwater blackout. However, he did not escape a surface blackout and the following disqualification. Don't worry, Pepe will have an opportunity once again to attempt the continental record in the third act.

The winner takes it all

William Trubridge's (NZL) attempt to improve his result in FIM so far has been unsuccessful. On the second competition day, William performed a complicated but successful FIM dive to 117m (384ft) of depth. And on the sixth day, William attempted 120m (394ft) of depth, which is 4m (13ft) less than both his personal best and the deepest FIM dive at Vertical Blue 2022 by Mateusz Malina. William reached 120m, but several meters before the surface he seemed to get anxious, started making kicks with his legs, and eventually lost consciousness at the surface.

Several performances later, Mateusz Malina (POL) dived 90m (295ft) of depth with no fins. The athlete confidently redeemed himself after being disqualified for a mistake in the surface protocol in his CNF dive of 92m (302ft) on day 1 of the competition. Mateusz's dive is now the deepest CNF dive of this year's Vertical Blue.

According to the results of the second act of the competition, Mateusz has now become the absolute leader in all disciplines. His results are as follows: FIM - 124m (407ft); CWT - 123m (404ft); CNF - 90m (295ft). Meanwhile, William Trubridge's results place him further behind Matteusz: FIM - 117m (384ft), CWT - 110m (361ft), and CNF - 88m (289ft). With Matteusz securing first place on the overall scoreboard, he has time to attempt a new AIDA FIM World Record in the final act. We are looking forward to seeing it!

William may use the final act of the competition to struggle back into first place. However, the question is if the athlete has enough energy for it right now. William has not placed first overall for six years in a row, and this year, he even risks losing in the CNF discipline, where he remains an unbeatable world record holder since 2008.

The rivalry continues

Among the women, the winner has not yet been defined because not every woman has performed in all the disciplines. According to the results of the second act, Fatima Korok (HUN) is the leader. On the sixth competition day, Fatima performed her third successful dive at Vertical Blue 2022 to 77m (253ft) of depth with bifins. She now has results in all three disciplines, which is necessary to obtain a place on the overall pedestal. We may expect another attempt from Fatima to set a FIM world record in the third act.

Fatima is closely followed by Talya Davidoff (ZAF) and Sofía Gomez (COL). Talya is currently in second place with 4 dives in all the disciplines, including 3 white cards for 3 new AIDA Continental Records for Africa. Her results in CWT, FIM, and CNF are shallower than the depths Fatima, Sofía, and Şahika are capable of diving.

Sofía is in third place in the overall rankings, although she has only managed two dives successfully so far. She received a white card for a CWT dive to 90m (295ft) of depth and for an 83m (272ft) dive in FIM. We are looking forward to Sofia's white card in CNF, which may bring her at least a silver medal in the overall score.

Sofía Gomez by Daan Verhoeven

Şahika Ercümen (TUR) is currently in fourth place overall, however, she has the same chances at a medal as Fatima, Sofia, and Talya at a top three ranking. So far, Şahika has deeper results than the leading women in CWT and CNF. For a medal, she only needs one successful dive in FIM.

May the best woman win!

Celebration of Carla Hanson

On the camera break between the second and third part of the day, athletes, judges, and safeties celebrated the life of Carla Sue Hanson. Carla, also known as Madame President, had been the president of AIDA since 2016 and was re-elected for the 2020 mandate. But in February 2020, Carla passed away peacefully in Newport Beach, California following a brief battle with breast cancer (you can find more details about Carla in the preview of the sixth competition day).

The event was specially arranged by her daughter, China Hanson. It gave William Trubridge the opportunity to spread Carla's ashes in Dean's Blue Hole, a place that held many memories for Carla, and was both a solemn and moving ceremony. She is now back where she belongs in the blue, in the shape of silver cloud at depth. May you rest in peace, Carla, and thank you for everything you have given to the freediving world!

Photo by Daan Verhoeven

The second act of Vertical Blue 2022 is over. Monday, August 8th, is a day off, and athletes will be back on Tuesday for the final act. Stay tuned!

Competition Day 7 (Aug 9)

Start list

The final act of Vertical Blue 2022 starts today, and at last, the start list for the day looks as it should. Just like in the good old days, it features daring announcements with athletes who are determined to stretch the limits of the impossible further and further. Feel the excitement!

World records

Two world record attempts are expected on the seventh day of the competition. As we hoped, Mateusz Malina (POL) will try to set a new AIDA World Record in FIM by diving to 127m (417ft) of depth. So far, both of the current world records in FIM belong to Alexey Molchanov (RUS). Alexey’s AIDA World Record is set at 125m (410ft) while his CMAS record sits at 126m (413ft) from Vertical Blue 2021. Mateusz is aiming for the absolute world record. If successful, it will be Mateusz’s first world record in a freediving depth discipline.

Arnaud Jerald (FRA) will attempt 120m (394ft) of depth with bifins. Alexey Molchanov - Arnaud’s main competitor in CWTB - expected Arnaud to dive at this depth last year at Vertical Blue 2021. That time, Arnaud didn’t accept the unspoken challenge and was content with his 117m (384ft) dive, leaving the status of the world record holder to Alexey. This year, Arnaud set the line exactly where he left it in 2021, diving to 117m of depth on the first competition day. In the following days, he steadily improved his results to 118m (387ft) and 119m (390ft). His 119m performance became the absolute world record in CWTB on the fourth competition day. And now, just four days later, Arnaud decided to bring a bottom tag from 120m of depth. May the force be with you, Arnaud!

Second and third attempts

William Trubridge (NZL) is still trying to catch up with Mateusz in at least one discipline, although the gap is steadily widening. William will, once again, attempt to dive to 120m (394ft) of depth in FIM. On the sixth competition day, the athlete had also attempted this depth, but blacked out at the surface.

After an epic dive with bifins to 106m (348ft) and a following surface blackout on the sixth competition day, Pepe Salcedo (MEX) has announced a new depth just 1m (3ft) less, which will be a new AIDA Continental Record for North America in CWTB if successful. On the other hand, Pepe’s teammate, Pedro Tapia (MEX), has announced an even deeper depth for his CWT dive. On the fifth competition day, Pedro attempted to improve the current AIDA National Record for Mexico in CWT by 1m, diving to 106m - unfortunately, Pedro turned early at 98m (322ft). Pedro’s bid for the seventh competition day is 108m (354ft).

Şahika Ercümen (TUR) will approach the FIM discipline for the third time with a bid of 88m (289ft). She already reached the depth successfully on the fifth competition day but failed the surface protocol. Even earlier, on the third competition day, Şahika dived in FIM to an even deeper depth of 92m (302ft) but blacked out at the surface. The third time’s a charm, Şahika!

Şahika Ercümen by Daan Verhoeven

Even deeper

Heroes of previous days, Stefan Randig (DEU), Gary Mcgrath (GBR), and Potti Lau (CHN), are using the final act of Vertical Blue to improve their already excellent earlier performances.

Stefan Randig (DEU) announced 80m (262ft) of depth in CNF. It will be his fourth CNF dive and potential second AIDA National Record for Germany in CNF at Vertical Blue 2022. For all of his previous dives at the competition, Stefan has received white cards. If he succeeds this time as well, he will insert himself into third place in CNF, threatening Vitomir Maričić‘s position on the pedestal in the overall score.

Gary Mcgrath (GBR) announced 112m (367ft) in CWT, aiming for a new national record in this discipline. The current AIDA National Record for the UK has remained steady at 111m (364ft) for 4 years, set by Michael Board in 2018. Gary began Vertical Blue 2022 with a 101m (331ft) CWT dive on the first competition day. He later received white cards for 106m (348ft) and 109m (358ft) dives on the second and fourth days, respectively. Good luck on your way to these last 3m (10ft) of depth to a new national record, Gary!

Gary Mcgrath by Daan Verhoeven

Potti Lau (CHN) isn't going to rest either. On his third attempt at 93m (305ft) in CWTB, Potti successfully reached the depth on the sixth competition day and set a New AIDA Continental Record for Asia in CWTB. Just a day later, Potti is on his way to 95m (312ft) of depth with bifins.

Good luck to all the athletes!

Time zone alert

The first Official Top is at 9 a.m. according to Bahamas time (GMT-4). In Berlin, it will be 3 p.m., and in Singapore, it will be 9 p.m. If you have purchased tickets for the broadcast, make sure you don’t miss the following dives. Official Top times are listed according to Bahamas local time:

9:20 a.m. - Stefan Randig (DEU); CNF 80m/262ft
10:40 a.m. - Mateusz Malina (POL); FIM 127m/417ft
10:53 a.m. - Arnaud Jerald (FRA); CWTB 120m/394ft
11:05 a.m. - William Trubridge (NZL); FIM 120m
11:16 a.m. - Gary Mcgrath (GBR); CWT 112m/367ft
11:36 a.m. - Pedro Tapia (MEX); CWT 108m/354ft
11:46 a.m. - Vitomir Maričić (CRO); FIM 107m/351ft
11:56 a.m. - Pepe Salcedo (MEX); CWTB 105m/344ft
12:50 p.m. - Potti Lau (CHN); CWTB 95m/312ft
13:20 p.m. - Şahika Ercümen (TUR); FIM 88m/289ft

If you aren’t able to catch the broadcast, make sure that you follow us on Instagram (@molchanovsfreediving) and Facebook - we’ll keep you posted.

New AIDA World Record in CWTB by Arnaud Jerald

On August 9th, at Vertical Blue 2022, Arnaud Jerald (FRA) dived to 120m (394ft) of depth with bifins. Congratulations, Arnaud, the deepest man in the world in bifins!

Just 3 days earlier, Arnaud performed a CWTB dive to 119m (390ft), setting an absolute world record in the discipline. Today, he dared to dive even deeper and nailed the dive in the smoothest manner possible. It is the third world record in CWTB set by the 26-year-old athlete at Vertical Blue 2022 and the seventh World Record in his 10-year freediving career. All of these seven records were set in CWTB.

In an after-dive interview, Arnaud said that he is now happy with his achievement in CWTB discipline. For his next competition, he will ready himself to dive with a monofin. We wish Arnaud luck at conquering this new discipline!

Arnaud Jerald by Daan Verhoeven

At Vertical Blue 2022, a dive in CWTB discipline is counted as a dive in the CWT discipline. Nevertheless, at this elite competition, only one man managed to dive deeper than Arnaud: Mateusz Malina (POL) reached 123m (404ft) of depth with a monofin. Davide Carrera (ITA) dived the same depth as Arnaud, only with monofin. If Davide doesn't dive deeper in the last two days of competition, Arnaud has a good chance at winning a silver medal.

Results of the Seventh Competition Day

The start list of the seventh day of Vertical Blue 2022 brought with it a lot of excitement and anticipation. It was filled with two highly-anticipated world record attempts, a new absolute world record, and several long-awaited successful performances. We will also share some background information with you on the undercover heroes behind the athletes - the safety team.

One out of two successful World Records

On the seventh competition day, two world records were planned - only one was successful. Arnaud Jerald (FRA) set his third AIDA World Record of Vertical Blue 2022 in CWTB. This performance became the seventh world record of his freediving career, culminating in a dive to 120m (394ft) of depth with bifins. Congratulations, Arnaud, on your incredible streak!

The other world record attempt belonged to Mateusz Malina (POL). The athlete announced 127m (417ft) of depth in FIM, which caused a lot of excitement in the freediving world upon its announcement. A successful performance from Mateusz would have become an absolute world record, one that was 1m (3ft) deeper than the current CMAS World Record in FIM and 2m (7ft) deeper than current AIDA World Record in FIM, both set by Alexey Molchanov.

In theory, Mateusz had a good chance of winning the world record holder title in this discipline. On the third competition day, the athlete confidently dived to 124m (407ft) in FIM, which was just 3m (10ft) less than announced depth for day 7.

Mateusz Malina by Daan Verhoeven

However, during his dive, Mateusz reached 113m (371ft) and turned early to the disappointment of freediving fans. If you were one of the livestream viewers, you may have noticed a small mistake right before Official Top was called. While Mateusz was breathing up next to the dive line and listening to the countdown, he heard the judge saying "1:30 to Official Top," and then after 10 seconds, it became "20 seconds, 10 seconds..." In astonishment, Mateusz exclaimed, "what?!" and then the judge immediately corrected himself and continued with "1 minute to Official Top." When an athlete is preparing to perform a dive to their maximum limit, it is important for them to approach the dive at peak shape of body and mind. Such a mistake in the countdown is definitely not favorable for relaxation. We hope Mateusz will still manage to perform the same dive on the last competition day.

The mighty

William Trubridge (NZL), on the contrary, gave his fans a nice surprise. As on the previous competition day, William announced a 120m (394ft) FIM dive. And this time he managed it successfully! Now William is just 4m (13ft) behind Mateusz in this discipline.

Gary Mcgrath (GBR), Pepe Salcedo (MEX), Pedro Tapia (MEX), and Şahika Ercümen (TUR) also eventually reached their goal depths, which they had been struggling for the entire competition.

Gary came to Vertical Blue 2022 to update the AIDA National Record of his country in CWT, which belonged to Michael Board for 4 long years. To do so, Gary performed 4 dives with a monofin, starting with 101m (331ft) of depth on the first competition day and subsequently increasing the depth from day to day. For all of his dives, Gary received white cards, and his last 112m (367ft) dive is in the top 4 CWT dives of Vertical Blue 2022. Congratulations, Gary!

Gary Mcgrath by Daan Verhoeven

Two Mexican freedivers, Pepe and Pedro, also devoted the competition to one main aim. For Pedro, it was a new AIDA National Record in CWT, and Pepe came for a new AIDA Continental Record of North America in CWTB.

To reach his aim, Pedro performed 4 competition dives with a monofin, and in fact, set two AIDA National Records. His first national record was a repetition of Pepe's achievement, as both athletes at this competitions dived to 105m (344ft) of depth with the same colorful monofin - Pepe was the first who set the record. Later, Pedro made his first attempt to beat Pepe by diving to 106m (348ft), but didn't manage it and turned back at 89m (292ft) of depth. However, on the seventh day, Pedro managed successfully with an even deeper depth.

Perdo decided not to fight for the record with his teammate and went for the continental record in CWTB discipline with a brand new pair of Molchanovs PRO Hyper Bifins Fiberglass (which the Molchanovs team miraculously delivered to Pepe right in time for training before the competition). Pepe’s first attempt to 106m (348ft) was unsuccessful - he didn't take the dive seriously and blacked out at the surface. For the second attempt, on the seventh competition day, Pepe announced 1m (3ft) less. He concentrated on his dive and performed it confidently and without any extra actions, setting a new AIDA Continental Record for North America in CWTB. Congratulations, Pedro and Pepe!

Pepe Salcedo by Daan Verhoeven

Şahika Ercümen, in her turn, was struggling with the FIM discipline. She managed to set a new AIDA National Record in CWT (94m/308ft) and CNF (57m/187ft) on her first attempt. But it took her 3 dives and 2 disqualifications to set a new AIDA National Record in FIM. Eventually, on the seventh competition day, Şahika got a white card for her 88m (289ft) FIM dive. It also made Şahika a leader on the overall scoreboard. Let's see if her position won't shift during last two competition days.

Hidden power

Vertical Blue 2022 is heading to its end, which is why we would like also to tell you about a group of humans, without whom, the event wouldn't be possible - the safety team. The head of safety is the experienced Marco Cosentino (ITA), the author of the AIDA safety standards. We talked with a member of safety team, Daniel Arias Córdova, and discovered several details about the important job of the safeties.

The safety team includes six freedivers from all over the world: Roberto Berto (AUS), Sam Trubridge (NZL), Kathleen Greubel (DEU), Kristine Zipfel (NOR), Francesco Corucci (ITA), and Daniel Arias Córdova (CHL). The team arrived at the Bahamas two weeks before the competition to train and get ready for the job of the athletes’ guardian angels.

Photo by Nanna Kreutzmann

Three safeties simultaneously take care of each athlete. The deepest safety meets an athlete at a depth of 35m (115ft), and in the case of very deeps dive, at a depth of 40m (131ft). The second safety waits at 20m (20ft) and the third safety stays nearer to the surface, where blackouts are most likely to occur.

Every competition day, each safety performs about 20 dives on average, which means that during the nine competition days, safeties perform about 180 dives.

But being a safety isn't just about tremendous physical load. Being a safety at a competition means placing an athlete's life above your own and taking a risk in order to help others. This basically means that being a safety means becoming a superhero. Thank you, heroes, for keeping our athletes safe!

Competition Day 8 (Aug 10)

Start list

There are only two things that you absolutely need to know about the eighth day of Vertical Blue 2022.

The first is that Fatima Korok (HUN) has announced a 100m (328ft) deep dive in FIM. Her announcement is just 1m (3ft) shallower than the absolute world record in this discipline, which was set by Alessia Zecchini (ITA) at Vertical Blue 2021 according to CMAS rules. If successful, Fatima's result will become a new AIDA World Record in FIM.

Second, Yun-Chieh Ku (TPE) has entered the battle for AIDA Continental Record of Asia in CWTB with a bid of 96m (315ft) of depth. Michael Zhi-Da Ko (TPE) and Potti Lau (CHI) together tried a total of five times attempted to reach a depth of 93m (305ft) in order to set a new AIDA Continental Record of Asia in CWTB. All those efforts were unsuccessful until the sixth competition day, when Potti finally received a white card for his 93m dive. A new AIDA Continental Record of Asia in CWTB was set!

Today, Michael’s teammate, Yun-Chieh, entered the mix and made a daring announcement to improve the result by 3m (10ft). Will he succeed?

Good luck to the brave and very persistent athletes that continue to fight until the end!

Results of the Eighth Competition Day

The penultimate day at Vertical Blue 2022 is over. If we had to sum up the entire day in one sentence, it would include the words drama, dancing, and Orlando Bloom. Keep reading for more details.

Heartbreaking tag

Fatima Korok (HUN) is the central point of drama of Vertical Blue 2022. Fatima has attempted to set a new AIDA World Record in FIM twice already, and each time, the record slips right through Fatima's fingers because of a tiny detail. On her first attempt, Fatima was diving to 99m (325ft) and had to turn back just 3m (10ft) before the target depth. How heart-wrenching it must be to have to turn away from a target that feels like it's almost right in front of you.

Her FIM dive on day 8 turned out to be even more dramatic. Fatima announced 100m (328ft) of depth, which is just 1m (3ft) shallower than the current absolute World Record in FIM, set by Alessia Zecchini (ITA) according to CMAS rules. Fatima swiftly and confidently reached the bottom plate, but could not find a tag. She even sank a bit deeper, below the plate, and searched for a tag. But after a few seconds, Fatima had to turn back and start the ascent without the tag. Despite the delay at the bottom place Fatima surfaced fully under control and neatly performed the surface protocol. But what a curse! For the missing tag, she received a yellow card and a one-point penalty. Fatima was very upset and we’re sure many of the viewers were, too. We feel you, Fatima!

In the after-dive interview, Fatima said that it was her first time at this depth and the first time that she faced narcosis, which confused her mind and actions.

Fatima Korok by Daan Verhoeven

Even without the tag, Fatima has proven that 100m (328ft) and even bigger depths are within her power. We will be rooting for your first world record at the next competition, Fatima.

New National and Continental Records to celebrate

Most of the other dives went successfully. Michael Zhi-da Ko (TPE) has at last set a new AIDA National Record in CWTB. For two days, he tried to reach 93m (305ft) of depth with bifins. On the eighth day, he made a 1m (3ft) smaller bid, performed the dive confidently, and received the white card, becoming the new AIDA National Record Holder in CWTB for Taiwan for the next 2 hours and 11 minutes. At 11:11 a.m., Michael’s teammate, Yun-Chieh Ku (TPE), performed his first CWTB dive at Vertical Blue 2022 and reached 96m (315ft) of depth with bifins. His dive became the new AIDA Continental Record of Asia. Congratulations, Michael and Yun-Chieh!

Alfredo Roën (ESP) and Jung A Kim (KOR) both set new AIDA National Records in CWT for their countries. Alfredo dived with a monofin to 106m (348ft) of depth, improving his previous result by 3m (10ft) and previous national record by 1m (3ft). The previous AIDA National Record of Spain in CWT belonged to Miguel Lozano (ESP), which was set the Caribbean Cup 2018.

Alfredo Roën by Daad Vehoeven

Jung A Kim performed her third dive with a monofin at Vertical Blue 2022 and set a third new AIDA National Record for Korea in CWT. She started from 89m (292ft) of depth and steadily progressed to 98m (322ft), and is now very close to the "100m" club. Good luck, Jung A, at becoming a member of that club soon!

In total, on the eighth competition day, athletes set 7 National and Continental records:

Michael Zhi-da Ko (TPE) - CWTB 92m/302 - NR
Davide Carrera (ITA) - CWT 123m/404ft - NR
Alfredo Roën (ESP) - CWT 106m/348ft - NR
Jung A Kim (KOR) - CWT 98m/322ft - NR
Yun-Chieh Ku (TPE) - CWTB 96m/315ft - CR
Matthieu Duvault (CAN) - CWTB 85m/279ft - NR
Isabel Sanchez-Aran (ESP) - FIM 79m/259ft - NR

The deepest dives of the day

Davide Carrera (ITA) dived to 123m (404ft) of depth with a monofin and set a new AIDA National Record for Italy in CWT. It is a dream come true for Davide. The athlete has been trying to conquer that same depth since Vertical Blue 2021. Last year, he performed 5 CWT dives and had to stop at 122m (400ft) of depth. This year, Davide reached 123m on his second attempt. Together with Mateusz Malina (POL), Davide became the deepest man at Vertical Blue 2022. Congratulations, Davide!

Davide Carrera by Daan Verhoeven

Yasuko Ozeki (JPN) performed the deepest CNF dive at Vertical Blue 2022 among the women. With only the power of her arms and legs, Yasuko dived to 64m (210ft). It isn't a national record for Japan, which still belongs to Sayuri Kinoshita (JAP) at 72m (236ft), but Yasuko's dive will likely bring her a gold medal in CNF. Congratulations, Yasuko, on a great dive!

Party time

Talya Davidoff (ZAF), the South African athlete who set 4 new AIDA Continental Records for Africa, performed her sixth and final dive at Vertical Blue 2022. With bifins, Talya reached 40m (131ft) of depth and grabbed the tag. On her way to the surface, Talya put on a Hawaiian shirt and performed a fiery dance that even safeties couldn't help but join her. On the surface, Talya still accurately completed the surface protocol, and as soon as the judge showed her a white card, Talya was also delivered a bottle of beer right to the diving line. What a way to celebrate the last dive! Congratulations, Talya, and enjoy the party!

And to those of you who haven’t been watching the broadcast, we regret to inform you that you missed the Pirate of the Caribbean himself! No kidding - Orlando Bloom came to the Dean's Blue hole with mask and fins and was spotted by Vertical Blue cameras. We couldn't find any information on what the actor was doing there, but now we can be sure that he knows what freediving is.

The last day of Vertical Blue 2022 is upon us. Make sure that you don't miss it and our reports on it, because we have prepared something special to celebrate the occasion!

Competition day 9 (Aug 11)

Start list

The final day has arrived. August 11th is the last competition day at Vertical Blue 2022. It’s the last chance for athletes to get the necessary points to win the competition or set new national, continental, and even world records in the best conditions for freediving. Here’s what we have to say on today’s start list (plus, a little surprise for freediving fans).

For the sake of medaling

Fatima Korok (HUN), Sofia Gomez (COL), William Trubridge (NZL), and Stefan Randig (DEU) will all perform in the CNF discipline together in the hopes of changing their position in the overall competition rating.

Fatima, who was a leader in the overall score among the women for two acts, is now in second place after Şahika Ercümen (TUR). Fatima will be diving to 62m (203ft) of depth without fins. If successful, it will bring her a silver medal in CNF and a gold overall medal with a total score of 266.25 points.

Sofía Gomez will attempt a 57m (187ft) dive with no fins. If Sofía is lucky enough, her performance may result in a bronze overall medal.

Sofía Gomez by Daan Verhoeven

William Trubridge will try again to catch up with Mateusz Malina (POL). In the previous days, William has already successfully improved his FIM performance from 117m (384ft) to 120m (394ft). Today, he will attempt to dive 3m (9ft) deeper than his previous CNF dive in this competition, aiming for 91m (299ft) of depth. In this case, William will surpass Mateusz's CNF performance and will get 100 points for the overall score. However, it won't change William's second-place position in the overall competition score.

Stefan Randig will also not be able to significantly change his position in the overall competition rating because he did not perform in the CWT discipline. However, he will sneak into third place in CNF if his dive to 80m (262ft) of depth will be successful. In addition, his dive would become a new AIDA National Record for Germany.

A world record at stake

The deepest announcement of the day belongs to Mateusz Malina (POL). He will, once again, attempt to set an absolute world record in FIM by diving to 127m (417ft) of depth. Mateusz's current best official result in FIM is 124m (407ft), a depth he reached on the third competition day. On the seventh day, he tried to go deeper (127m), but because of a mistake made in the countdown during his dive preparation, he ended up turning back to the surface at 113m (371ft). Today, we hope that everything goes as planned. Good luck, Mateusz!

Mateusz Malina by Daan Verhoeven

The following athletes will also use this last chance to set new continental records:

Yun-Chieh Ku (TPE) - 108m/354ft FIM
Pepe Salcedo (MEX) - 107m/351ft FIM
Potti Lau (CHN) - 96m/315ft CWTB
Enchante Gallardo (USA) - 90m/295ft FIM

Club 100

Since 2009, the 100m mark (328ft) on the dive line turned into a sacramental mark. In 2009, Natalia Molchanova set the 101m (331ft) World Record in CWT and became the first woman in history who dived deeper than 100m at an official competition. Usually, we say that more people have climbed Mount Everest (9,952 people) than dived to 100m of depth. Therefore, we celebrate each person to join the 100m club.

For the ninth competition day at Vertical Blue 2022, two women simultaneously announced their 100m+ dives. Jung A Kim (KOR) and Şahika Ercümen (TUR) will be on their way to 101m (331ft) with monofins in just a few short hours.

Good luck to you both!

Şahika Ercümen

New AIDA World Record in FIM by Mateusz Malina

On August 11th, the last day of Vertical Blue 2022, Mateusz Malina (POL) dived to 127m (417ft) by pulling himself down and up the dive line. It is a new AIDA World Record in FIM and an absolute world record.

It is 2m (7ft) deeper than the previous AIDA World Record in FIM set by Alexey Molchanov (RUS) at Vertical Blue 2018 and also 1m (3ft) deeper than the current CMAS World Record in this discipline also set by Alexey Molchanov at Vertical Blue 2021. This means that Mateusz became the first man in the world who ever dived to this depth. Congratulations, Mateusz!

Mateusz Malina by Daan Verhoeven

Mateusz's collection of medals

Perhaps most of you know already that Mateusz is an absolute world record holder in all dynamic disciplines in the pool. However, now Mateusz is an experienced and decorated depth freediver as well.

Mateusz is most successful in CNF and FIM disciplines. In 2010, he reached the 100m (328ft) mark for the first time at an official competition (Triple Depth in Sharm-el-Sheikh). For two days in a row, he dived to 100m of depth in both the FIM and CWT disciplines.

The following year, Mateusz became Vice-champion in FIM at the AIDA World Championship diving to 106m (348ft) of depth. Then, at Vertical Blue 2014, Mateusz announced 118m (387ft) of depth in FIM, which was just 3m (10ft) shallower than the AIDA World Record at that time. However, he made an early turn at 114m (374ft) of depth. At the 2015 AIDA World Championship, Mateusz became Vice-champion in CNF (reaching a depth of 76m/249ft) and won a bronze medal in FIM (reaching a depth of 103m/338ft). In 2018, the athlete won his first gold medal at the CMAS Freediving Outdoor World Championship in CNF, diving without fins to 78m/256ft of depth.

Mateusz Malina by Daan Verhoeven

This means that in Mateusz's collection of depth freediving achievements, there are medals and titles of all kinds except one - a world record.

Not an easy road to travel

The way to the world record wasn't an easy one. Mateusz tried to dive to 127m (417ft) of depth in FIM on the seventh competition day. However, the athlete turned back at 113m (371ft) - one of the reasons for that may be the judge's mistake during the countdown. Nevertheless, Mateusz found enough strength to repeat the dive at this depth on the last competition day. This time, everything went smoothly and the athlete got a white card and an absolute World Record in his collection!

The first after Herbert Nitsch

Right now, Mateusz is an 8x World Record Holder with 3 current absolute world records in pool (DYN: 321.43m/1,053ft according to CMAS rules; DYNB: 290m/951ft according to AIDA rules; DNF: 250m/820ft according to AIDA rules), and one current absolute world record in depth freediving (FIM: 127m/417ft according to AIDA rules).

The only man in freediving history who ever had valid absolute world records in pool and depth disciplines at the same time was legendary Herbert Nitsch. Today, Mateusz became a living legend himself. Once again, congratulations, maestro!

Results of the Ninth Competition Day and Competition Summary

The last competition day at Vertical Blue 2022 was full of events. We’ll remember it by the deepest FIM dive in the world, the deepest mermaid dive of the competition, and the first unofficial competition dive of Orlando Bloom (we discovered the reason of the actor's mysterious appearance nearby Dean's Blue Hole on the previous day). Keep reading to learn the details.

One world record and five national records

Although the entire last day looked more like a festival with a few athletes simply enjoying themselves and their dives, other freedivers stayed serious and concentrated on their aims.

Jessea Lu (CHN) opened the day with a new AIDA National Record for China in CWT. Jessea started freediving in 2014 and is holds Chinese national records in four disciplines: STA, CNF, CWT, and FIM. In STA, Jessea is also third in the world after Natalia Molchanova (RUS) with 09:02min and Veronika Dittes (AUT) with 08:30min - Jessea has held her breath for 08:01. At Vertical Blue 2022, Jessia completed four dives with a monofin in attempt to improve her previous national record in CWT by 1m (3ft), which was set in 2019 at AIDA Depth World Championship. On the last day, Jessea finally managed to do so with a smooth dive to 89m (292ft) with a monofin, receiving a white card.

Jessea's performance was followed by a CNF dive by Fatima Korok (HUN) to 62m (203ft). It was a first Vertical Blue competition for Fatima and she didn't waste any time. During these nine days, Fatima set a new AIDA National Record in CNF to 56m (184ft) of depth and then improved it to 62m (203ft). In FIM, Fatima also improved her previous national record by 7m (23ft), setting it to 96m (315ft) of depth - she even attempted to set a new AIDA World Record in this discipline. However, it literally slipped through her fingers - Fatima dived an impressive 100m (328ft) in FIM, but faced narcosis and didn't manage to find a tag on the bottom plate. Still, Fatima made huge achievements for her very first time.

Shortly after, Mateusz Malina (POL) performed the deepest dive of the day at 127m (417ft). It became the new AIDA World Record and absolute world record in the FIM discipline. Once again, congratulations, Mateusz!

Mateusz Malina by Daan Verhoeven

Then Yun-Chieh Ku (TPE) also performed in FIM discipline. The athlete set a new AIDA National Record in FIM, improving his previous national record by 2m (7ft), with a new result of 108m (354ft). Yun-Chieh returns home with four national records in total: two records in FIM (106m/348ft and 108m/354ft), one record in CWT (108m), and one record in CWTB (96m/315ft).

Potti Lau (CHN) was Yun-Chieh's main competitor in CWTB. Potti performed in CWTB for all of his six dives, gradually improving his results from 88m (289ft) to 96m (315ft). At Vertical Blue 2022, we also witnessed a stiff competition between him and Micheal Zhi-Da Ko (TPE) for the AIDA Continental Record of Asia. Eventually, Potti became the first to win the title by diving to 93m (305ft). Micheal later successfully managed to reach 92m (302ft). However, Potti didn't get to celebrate his continental record victory for long since Yun-Chieh dived with bifins to 96m the next day, setting a new AIDA Continental Record of Asia in CWTB. Potti didn't have much else to do except to dive the same depth on the last competition day, which was a successful dive with a white card.

The last AIDA National Record at Vertical Blue 2022 was set by Camila Jaber (MEX). Camila performed six dives with Molchanovs Competition Bifins 2x Carbon, improving her results from 75m (246ft) to 82m (269ft) of depth. Four out of six of Camila's dives became new AIDA National Records for Mexico.

The winners of Vertical Blue 2022

Without further ado, the winners of Vertical Blue 2022 are the debutante of the competition, Fatima Korok (HUN), with 266.25 points in total, and Mateusz Malina (POL) with 300 points in total (Mateusz won in all 3 disciplines!).

Fatima is closely followed by Şahika Ercümen (TUR) with 262.63 points and Sofía Gómez (COL) with 254.88 points.

Şahika Ercümen, Fatima Korok, Sofía Gómez

Among the men, the silver medal went to William Trubrudge (NZL), whose total score came to 280.59 points. Vitomir Maričić (CRO) is leaving home with bronze medal and 255.25 points.

William Trubrudge, Mateusz Malina, Vitomir Maričić

Congratulations to all the winners!

Fun freediving

Many athletes used their last dives for having fun and feeling positive emotions. Sheena McNally (CAN) dived with short plastic bifins to 55m (180ft) of depth and received a white card. On the surface, she was awaited by a bottle of beer in a pink flamingo. Vitomir Maričić (CRO) used the chance to pose for photos, diving to 40m (131ft) of depth without fins followed by the photographer. The dancer YiXian Zhang (TPE), dressed in mermaid tail, performed a beautiful CWT dive to 35m (115ft) of depth. On his ascent, safeties surrounded him while holding hands, and broadcast viewers got the chance to watch a truly unusual but still magically beautiful competition dive.

Photo by Daan Verhoeven

The final dive at Vertical Blue 2022 was performed Orlando Bloom. Orlando is studying freediving with Camila Jaber, and on the previous day, we had spotted him nearby Dean’s Blue Hole watching athletes compete. This time, he decided to dive as well. The dive line was set for the actor at 15m (49ft) of depth. He successfully reached the bottom plate and even brought up the tag and confidently performed surface protocol, receiving a white card for his very first unofficial competition dive. That was fun to watch!

All in all, the last day looked more like a cheerful freediving gathering than a serious competition. Such things are difficult to imagine happening during a world championship event. However, it's good that athletes had the chance to not only compete with each other and display impressive results, but also be creative and enjoy their dives. After all, what else is freediving if not feeling the joy of being underwater?