Vertical Blue 2021

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 (July 13)
3.1 Start list
3.3 FIM World Record
3.4 CWTB World Record
3.5 CWT World Record
3.6 Overall official results
4. Day 2 of competition (July 14)
4.1 Start list
4.2 Overall official results
5. Day 3 of competition (July 15)
5.1 Start list
5.2 CNF World Record (female)
5.3 CNF World Record (male)
5.4 Overall official results
6. Day 4 of competition (July 17)
6.1 Start list
6.2 CWT World Record (male)
6.3 CWT World Record (female)
6.4 CWTB World Record
6.5 FIM World Record
6.6 Overall official results
7. Day 5 of competition (July 18)
7.1 Start list
7.2 CWTB Wold Record
7.3 Overall official results
8. Day 6 of competition (July 19)

8.1 Start list

8.2 CNF World Record
8.3 Overall official results
9. Day 7 of competition (July 21)
9.1 Start list
9.2 CWT World Record
9.3 Overal official results
10. Day 8 of competition (July 22)
10.1 Start list
10.2 CWTB World Record
10.3 Overall official results
11. Day 9 of competition (July 23)
11.1 Start list
11.2 Overall official results
12. Summary of the competition

Preview of the Competition

Hello, freedivers! It’s Asya here, and during the next two weeks, I will be reporting to you on Vertical Blue 2021. Are you ready?

Fasten your lanyards, we have a fantastic journey ahead!

What is Vertical Blue?

Since 2008, Vertical Blue has been one of the world’s most prestigious freediving competitions. It is organized by 18x world record holder William Trubridge and is held at Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas. It also includes a prize fund.

Besides being a rare opportunity to win money, freedivers value the competition for the Blue Hole’s perfect conditions, which are very favorable for setting national and world records. Since the competition’s founding in 2008, Vertical Blue has been held according to AIDA competition rules. For a long time, almost all AIDA world records were set there.

For example, in 2017, 3 world records and 47 national records were set at Vertical Blue. Additionally, during the 9 competition days in 2018, athletes managed to set an unbelievable 10 world records.

Even 2 years later, 4 out of 8 world records in depth freediving still stand at Dean's Blue Hole. This year, Vertical Blue will be held for the 12th time, but with one caveat: this year will be the first year it will be held according to CMAS competition rules rather than AIDA rules. The reason for this change was the idea to create a Freediving World Series event (freediving competitions in different parts of the world that are united by a single scoring system), where Vertical Blue would be only one out of four competitions. However, because of the COVID pandemic, this beautiful dream is yet to come true. This year, we are happy enough to witness the traditional Vertical Blue as a CMAS competition.

When is the competition?

The first diving day is July 13, and the athletes will also compete on the 14th and 15th, with the 16th being a day off. 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 only in 6 of them. Also, athletes will be able to choose for themselves the discipline they want to dive in on a particular day.

Where is it located?

Vertical Blue is held in a unique place called Dean's Blue Hole (located in Long Island, the Bahamas). Dean's Blue Hole is the world's second deepest blue hole after the Dragon Hole in the South China Sea, and reaches a depth of 202m (663ft). Dean's Blue Hole is located just several meters away from the beach, and according to its 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 underwater streams, 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 headlights to light up the rope and keep from becoming disoriented.

Dean's Blue Hole

Who is participating?

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 a concentration of world record holders who will likely attempt to increase their official records. Among them are Hanako Hirose, Alenka Artnik, Alessia Zecchini, Alice Modolo, Arnaud Jerald, Davide Carrera, William Trubridge himself, and the deepest freediver in the world, Alexey Molchanov.

Each day of the competition, we will remind you of the official broadcast, and once the official results are published, we will share with you the names of new national and world record holders, the brightest moments of the day, and the results of the following Molchanovs athletes:

  • Alexey Molchanov
  • Arnaud Jerald
  • Matthieu Duvault
  • Camila Jaber

To make the championship even more exciting, we have decided that if one of our athletes sets a world record, we will celebrate it with a discount on the equipment that the athlete used for their record. So stay tuned, cheer on the athletes, and don't miss out on news from the Bahamas!

Pre-competition forecast by discipline

The closer the first day of competition approaches (July 13), the more excitement we feel! After having an argument with a friend who is also a freediver, I placed my bet of 100USD on Alexey Molchanov setting a new world record in CWT. You might think that my winning this bet is inevitable, but things are not that simple; there is definitely some reasonable risk! Check my estimations of athlete potential by discipline to understand why.

First of all, we would like to remind you that this year, for the first time, Vertical Blue is being held according to CMAS rules. Considering the fact that half of CMAS world records are lower than AIDA world records, we may expect an abundance of new world records and a spectacular rivalry for the title of the World Record Holder.


Discipline
Men Women
AIDA CMAS AIDA CMAS

CWT

130m/427ft – Alexey Molchanov

125m/410ft – Alexey Molchanov

114m/374ft – Alenka Artnik

113m/371ft – Alenka Artnik, Alessia Zecchini

CWTB

113m/371ft – Alexey Molchanov

115m/377ft – Abdel Alouach

93m/305ft – Jennifer Wendland

94m/308ft – Alenka Artnik

FIM

125m/410ft – Alexey Molchanov

118m/387ft – Alexey Molchanov

98m/322ft – Alessia Zecchini

100m/328ft – Alessia Zecchini

CNF

102m/335ft – William Trubridge

85m/279ft – Alexey Molchanov

73m/240ft – Alessia Zecchini

73m/240ft – Alessia Zecchini

 Secondly, in World Championship competitions, athletes usually have only one attempt at a record in each discipline. Conversely, in the perfect conditions of Dean's Blue Hole, athletes will have 6 attempts to perform in any discipline they wish to. However, this time there will also be an overall winner declared according to the sum of the athlete's performances in all four disciplines (CWT, CWTB, FIM, and CNF), which is why athletes have more motivation to perform in all of them.

The main battle in the competition will be between Alexey Molchanov and William Trubridge. At the moment, 3 out of 4 CMAS world records belong to Alexey Molchanov (CWT - 125m/410ft; FIM - 118m/387ft; CNF - 85m/279ft), as well as 3 out of 4 AIDA world records (CWT - 130m/427ft; CWTB - 113m/371ft; FIM - 125m/410ft). Meanwhile, William Trubridge still holds his exceptional AIDA world record in CNF (102m/335ft), which was set 5 years ago. The deepest depth Alexey has achieved without fins is 96m (315ft) in 2014.

Presumably, Alexey will try to improve all of his CMAS world records to make them match with his AIDA world records. At the same time, William will compete in order to get back his title of World Record Holder in his own specialties - CNF and FIM. If you are looking to place your bets, you should also consider the fact that Alexey and his family arrived in the Bahamas only 5 days before the competition, while William currently lives there and has had more time to prepare. Who of the deepest men has a better chance? We will know soon enough!

In CWTB, the battle for the world record will be held between Alexey Molchanov and Arnaud Jerald of France; both are former CMAS World Record Holders in this discipline. The current CMAS world record belongs to the French athlete Abdel Alouach (115m/377ft), but he is not participating in Vertical Blue this year.

An equally intense competition can be expected among the women. 7 out of 8 current AIDA and CMAS world records have been set by Alessia Zecchini of Italy and Alenka Artnik of Slovenia. Both of them are in the Bahamas and ready to perform.

Alessia does not have any serious competitors for the CNF and FIM disciplines in this competition (the former world record holder in these disciplines, Sayuri Kinoshita, tragically passed away in 2019). However, in CWT, the rivalry between Alessia and Alenka could be rather fierce, as both women hold CMAS world records in this discipline (113m/370ft) and the AIDA world record in CWT (114m/374ft) belongs solely to Alenka. Perhaps an incredible performance will also be made by the former world record holder in this discipline, Hanako Hirose of Japan (106m/348ft).

Alessia does not usually perform in the CWTB discipline, however, as previously mentioned, this competition also includes an overall winner. Therefore, we may also expect to see Alessia diving with bifins. Even without a performance from Alessia, there may be a rivalry for the new world record in this discipline. In May 2021, in Sharm-el Sheik, Alice Modolo of France and Jennifer Wendland of Germany both attempted a new AIDA world record in CWTB and both suffered blackouts. But several days ago on July 3, Jennifer managed to reach her targeted depth with bifins, so the current AIDA world record in CWTB is set to 93m (305ft). How will Alice respond? In Vertical Blue, Alice will also compete in CWTB with current CMAS World Record Holder Alenka Artnik, who has previously reached 94m (308ft).

Ladies and gentlemen, now it is your turn to guess at who the new world record holders will be. Will you dare to place your bets?

Let the show begin!

Day 1 of competition (July 13)

Start list

We are thrilled to present you with the first mind-blowing start list of the competition! We are in absolute awe!

From the very first day, the athlete target depths are exceeding our wildest expectations! 10 out of 30 performances on the first day are planned to be deeper than 100m/328ft (even though the host of the competition, William Trubridge, is not competing today). Of course, among these performances, new world records await!

The most exciting fact is that all the new planned world records, if set successfully, will exceed the current world records set according to both AIDA and CMAS rules. It will be the absolute personal bests of the deepest athletes in the world.

So, ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to be impressed? Meet the four bids for new world records in freediving!

The deepest bid of the day is 126m/413ft and belongs to Alexey Molchanov of Russia in FIM. The target depth is 8m/26ft deeper than Alexey's current CMAS world record in FIM and is 1m/3ft deeper than his current AIDA world record. Go, Alexey!

Then, as we expected, the two incredible women Alessia Zecchini of Italy and Alenka Artnik of Slovenia will attempt to set new CWT world records. Alessia's target depth is 115m/377ft and Alenka's is set to... (do you also see it, because we cannot believe our eyes) 118m/387ft! Incredible and unbelievable!

Arnaud Jerald of France will try to return back his title of World Record Holder in CWTB (his compatriot, Abdel Alouach, just set the CMAS world record in CWTB several days ago to 115m/377ft. Arnaud's target depth now is a meter deeper at 116m/381ft. He will still have five more days to go even deeper. Good luck, Arnaud!

The live broadcast will start at 9am (local time) on this channelVB Freediving

The Bahamas time zone is GMT-4, so here are the official Top Times for the world record performances in local and Moscow times (GMT+3). Check your time zone carefully and don't miss out on your chance to see the battle live!

11:00am/6:00pm - Alexey Molchanov - 126m/413ft FIM
11:24am/6:24pm - Alessia Zecchini - 115m/377ft CWT
11:36am/6:36pm - Alenka Artnik - 118m/387ft CWT
11:49am/6:49pm - Arnaud Jerald - 116m/381ft CWTB

Good luck to all the athletes; we can't wait to see you compete!

New CMAS World Record in FIM - 126m/413ft

He did it! Today on July 13, 2021, in the Bahamas, Alexey Molchanov of Russia dived to an incredible depth of 126m/413ft in the discipline of Free Immersion.

Congratulation to the golden man! You are awesome!!!

The most remarkable fact about this new world record is that his performance of 126m/413ft not only replaces his own previous CMAS world record (118m/387ft, set in the 2019 CMAS World Championship in Roátan, Honduras), but also replaces the overall deepest record in this discipline (125m/410ft), which Alexey made at the 2018 Vertical Blue competition.

For 8 years, the world records in this discipline belonged to William Trubridge. In 2011, William was the first to surpass the world record of the legendary Herbert Nitsch (120m/394ft), diving 1m/3ft deeper. In the next years, William continued setting the record deeper until 124m/407ft. In Vertical Blue 2017, Alexey Molchanov reached the same depth of 124m, but upon surfacing, lost his tag, ruling out the possibility of a world record.

Only a year later in Vertical Blue 2018, Alexey successfully reached the necessary depth to set a new AIDA world record in FIM to 125m/410ft. In that competition, neither competition host William Trubridge nor anyone else could compete with Alexey in this discipline.

In the 2019 CMAS World Championship, Alexey set a new CMAS world record in FIM to 118m/387ft. That result stood until today, and now the new CMAS world record is 126m! What an improvement and an amazing result - and on the first day of competition with 5 more days to go! Congratulations, Alexey, we adore you!

To celebrate Alexey's remarkable performance and a new FIM world record, we are offering a 10% discount on our full selection of wetsuits and our A6063 nose clips. Use the code WORLDRECORD to celebrate with us and to get the newest addition to your freediving gear bag. Watch out, the discount is ONLY VALID FOR 24 HOURS!

This is Vertical Blue 2021 and new world records are coming, so stay tuned and don't miss your chance to get a discount on world record-breaking freediving equipment!

New CMAS World Record in CWTB - 116m/381ft

Today's hero in this discipline is Molchanovs Ambassador Arnaud Jerald of France! Congratulations Arnaud on the new world record! What a dive!

The history of this record is not very straightforward; CWTB became recognized as a separate discipline by CMAS in 2015 and by AIDA as recently as 2019. Therefore, athletes improve world records in this discipline rather frequently by constantly competing with one another for the title.

The first CMAS world record in CWTB was set by Alexey Molchanov in the 2017 European CMAS World Championship in Kaş, Turkey. Then, in the 2019 AIDA Russian Open Depth Championship in Sharm-el Sheikh, Egypt, Alexey and Arnaud both dived to 108m/354ft with bifins, with only a single day between them. Then, several months later in Roatan, Honduras, Alexey Molchanov firstly dived to 109m/358ft according to the AIDA rules at the 2019 AIDA Caribbean Cup, and then to 110m/361ft according to CMAS rules at the CMAS World Championship.

Despite the COVID pandemic in 2020, both Alexey and Arnaud continued to improve the world record in CWTB. Alexey first dived to 111m/364ft at the Adriatic Freediving Trophy in Croatia, setting the new CMAS world record. Later, Arnaud beat Alexey’s record with a dive to 112m/367ft in Kalamata, Greece.

Until June 2021, Arnaud's performance was the CMAS world record in CWTB until June 25, when another French athlete, Abdelatif Alouach, dived to 115m/377ft, which became the new CMAS world record in CWTB.

Abdel's record did not last long, as less than a month later, Arnaud returned to his title of CMAS World Record Holder in CWTB! Well done, Arnaud! Do you plan to go even deeper? We can't wait to see it!

To celebrate Arnaud's remarkable performance and new world record in CWTB, we are offering a 10% discount on our full selection of bifins and bifins accessories (blade protections, bifins bags and hard cases). Use WORLDRECORD to celebrate with us and to get your next pair of bifins. But watch out, this discount is ONLY VALID FOR 24 HOURS!

This is Vertical Blue 2021 and new world records are coming, so stay tuned and don't miss your chance to get a discount on world record-breaking freediving equipment!

New CMAS World Record in CWTB - 118m/387ft

On July 13 in the Bahamas, we have just witnessed an incredible achievement in freediving: Alenka Artnik of Slovenia performed a breathtaking dive to 118m/387ft in CWT! It is not only a great depth for the women’s record in particular, but also a remarkable record for freediving in general. Here in Vertical Blue 2021, where the best of the best freedivers compete, Alenka's performance is the third deepest out of all of the dives on Day 1 of competition, including both men and women!

Congratulation, Alenka! We are in awe!

Alenka Artnik by by Daan Verhoeven Photo by Daan Verhoeven

One of the most fantastic parts of these competitions is seeing how fast the women’s records in CWT are developing.

In late 2009, Natalia Molchanova was the first woman to reach the depth of 101m/331ft. Her record became an official AIDA world record in 2011, and in the six long years that followed, no other woman dared to dive deeper.

Only during Vertical Blue 2017 did Alessia Zecchini manage to beat Natalia’s record by 1m/3ft and set the new AIDA world record to 102m/335ft. Several days later, she dived even deeper to 104m/341ft. In May of 2018, at the Nirvana Oceanquest Depth Contest, Alessia added one more meter to her record with a dive to 105m/344ft.

At Vertical Blue 2018, Alessia Zecchini, Alenka Artnik, and Hanako Hirose battled for the CWT world record, meter by meter, until the end of the competition, when Alessia reached the final depth of 107m/351ft. Her performance became the new AIDA world record.

2019 was a year marked with incredible breakthroughs in women's CWT. In several days, from August 4-8, Alessia and Alenka continued pushing the maximum depth for women 6m/20ft deeper, and on August 8, they both performed marvelous dives to 113m/371ft.

In 2020, Alenka continued training and pushed the women’s world record in CWT deeper with a CMAS world record to 114m/374ft.

And finally, on July 13, Alessia first performed a successful and beautiful dive to 115m/377ft, and then several minutes later, Alenka exhibited a perfect performance and set the new CMAS World Record of 118m/387ft!!!

Do you see how spectacular it is? Within 9 years (2009-2018), the deepest freediving record for women increased by 6m/20ft, and in the last 3 years (2019-2021) these powerful women managed to push the limitations of humans by 11m/36ft!

Congratulations, Alenka and Alessia! You are superheroes!

Overal day 1 results (July 13)

The first day of Vertical Blue 2021 was spectacular and left us on the edges of our seats with 4 world records and 7 national records!

We already posted about the new CMAS world records in detail yesterday on our blog, but in case you missed it:
New CMAS world record in FIM - 126m/413ft - Alexey Molchanov of Russia
New CMAS world record in CWT - 115m/377ft - Alessia Zecchini of Italy
New CMAS world record in CWT - 118m/387ft - Alenka Artnik of Slovenia
New CMAS world record in CWTB - 116m/381ft - Arnaud Jerald of France

 

Photo by Daan Verhoeven

New CMAS national records (some of them exceeding current AIDA national records):
New Mexican national record in CWT - Alejandro Lemus - 95m/312ft
New Turkish national record in CWT - Şahika Ercümen - 87m/285ft
New Barbadian national record in CWTB - Alex Davis - 76m/249ft
New Taiwanese national record in FIM - Yun-Chieh Ku - 101m/331ft
New Chinese national record in CWT - Kehan Pan - 70m/230ft
New South African national record in CWTB - Talya Davidoff - 64m/210ft
New Bahamian national record in FIM - Isabelle Winner - 28m/92ft

Among the 30 divers of the first day, only 3 athletes received yellow cards for early turns, and 3 more received red cards, which means that athletes have become more cautious and considerate in this year’s competition.

Among the deepest dives of the first day was the performance of legend and veteran of Italian freediving Davide Carrera. Davide dived with a monofin to 120m/394ft and emerged smoothly, but did not manage a clean surface protocol. The first world record Davide set 20 years ago was his performance to 91m/299ft in FIM, and his most recent world record was in 2016, diving to a depth of 116m/381ft in CWT. It is particularly impressive that after more than 20 years in freediving, the athlete continues to break his own records!

There was also one dive that left everyone apprehensive: Walid Boudhiaf of Tunisia’s dive to 114m/374ft in FIM. Walid reached his target depth, but upon ascent, required the safety team’s assistance at 30m/98ft. Walid was unconscious by the time the safety team brought him back to the surface. Does this mean that the athlete is disqualified until the end of competition? We sure hope not. Speedy recovery to you, Walid, and better luck next time!

For all those who not only cheered on the athletes, but also raged against the speed of the live stream during the broadcast, the managers of the competition explained that there were some technical difficulties (an outage/issue on the BTC Bahamas network), which is in the process of being fixed. Hopefully, we will enjoy crystal clear images of the incredible performances coming in the next competition days!

Day 2 of competition (July 14)

Start list

The heroes of the first competition day are resting today, therefore, there will be no new world records attempts. However, there are several bids on the start list that are close to world record depths.

 

Predictably, the deepest bid belongs to the host of the competition, William Trubridge. William plans to dive 115m/377ft in FIM. This should be a confident and easy performance for him, however, we are expecting him to compete for the world record. Maybe the athlete is just warming up today?

The deepest bid among the women belongs to Hanako Hirose of Japan - 98m/322ft in CWT.

The bid of Alice Modolo of France (92m/302ft) is just 2m/7ft shy of the world record in CWTB (Alenka Artnik with 94m/308ft). If successful, it will become the new French national record in CWTB.

In total, 10 athletes plan to set new national records on behalf of their countries.

The live broadcast will start at 9am local time (GMT-4) on this channel VB Freediving.

Good luck, everyone, and enjoy your dives!

Overal official results 

Day 2 of Vertical Blue 2021 was much calmer and more relaxed than the first day. No new world records were attempted, however, athletes managed to set 8 new national records (out of the 10 planned), and received a total of 4 yellow cards for early turns and 4 red cards that resulted in disqualifications.

The host of the competition, William Trubridge, successfully dived to 115m/377ft. The target depth is shallower than his current FIM record of 124m/407ft, but his technique was quite peculiar. Shall we hope for a battle between him and Alexey for the title of world record holder?

Photo by Daan Verhoeven

The next deepest dive, according to target depth, belonged to Hanako Hirose of Japan. Hanako quite easily reached the depth of 98m/322ft. However, upon camera review, judges noticed that she pulled the rope, which unfortunately means a red card and disqualification.

Misfortune fell upon US National Record Holder Daniel Koval. His target depth was 95m/311ft in FIM, but he injured his eardrum on the descent and was forced to turn back to the surface at 68m/223ft. At the moment, it isn't clear if Daniel will be able to continue competing.

Among the successful dives, we would like to draw your attention to the dive of French athlete Alice Modolo. Alice had a confident and clean dive to 92m/302ft in CWTB and earned back her title of French National Record Holder in CWTB. Her record is only 2m/7ft less than the current CMAS world record in this discipline (94m/308ft, Alenka Artnik). Perhaps we will soon see an attempt by Alice to set the next world record in this discipline.

We also congratulate the following athletes on their new CMAS national records:

  • New Korean CMAS national record in CWTB - Jung A Kim - 81m/266ft
  • New Mexican CMAS national record in CWT - Alejandro Lemus - 98m/322ft
  • New Taiwanese CMAS national record in CWTB - Yun-Chieh Ku - 85m/279ft
  • New South African CMAS national record of South Africa - Talya Davidoff - 66m/217ft
  • New CMAS Mexican national record in CWTB - Camila Jaber - 64m/210ft
  • New Peruvian CMAS national record in CWT - Juani Valdivia - 63m/207ft
  • New Bahamian CMAS national record in FIM - Isabelle Winner - 31m/102ft

Congratulations to all the athletes, you are doing an amazing job! We are watching and cheering you on!

Day 3 of competition (July 15)

Start list

We are getting ready for day 3 of Vertical Blue 2021! Are you prepared to be impressed? Attempts at new CMAS world records await! The heroes remain the same as before.

Alexey Molchanov of Russia and Alessia Zecchini of Italy are attempting to set new CMAS world records in CNF. Alexey's bid is 87m/285ft, which is 2m/7ft deeper than his current CMAS world record in this discipline, which was set at the 2019 CMAS World Championships in Roatán, Honduras.

Alessia's target depth in CNF is 74m/243ft, which is one meter deeper than her current CMAS world record in this discipline.

Considering that the CNF discipline is the most demanding regarding athlete technique and level of preparation, even a single meter addition to a world record is a great achievement.

In addition, several athletes whose dives on previous days were not entirely successful will attempt them again to receive white cards. Davide Carrera of Italy will again endeavor to reach 120m/394ft of depth in CWT, Thibault Guignes of France will set out to 110m/361ft in FIM, and Hanako Hirose of Japan will aim for 100m/328ft in CWT.

The host of the competition, William Trubridge, will attempt 111m/364ft in CWT, and another over 100m/328ft dive is planned for Italian athlete Vincenzo Ferri (109m/358ft CWT).

Good luck to all of the athletes! We believe in you!

The live broadcast will start at 9am local time (GMT-4) on VB Freediving channel.

The official Top Times for the world record performances in local and Moscow times (GMT+3). Check your time zone carefully and don't miss out on your chance to see the battle live!

  • 9:09am/3:09pm - Alessia Zecchini - 74m/243ft CNF
  • 01:10pm/08:10pm - Alexey Molchanov - 87m/285ft CNF

New CMAS World Record in CNF - 74M/276FT (female)

Alessia Zecchini improved upon her own previous CMAS world record in CNF by 1m/3ft and set a new CMAS world record in CNF to 74m/276ft. Congratulations on a beautiful dive, Alessia!

Alessia devoted her new record to the memory of Japanese athlete Sayuri Kinoshita, who passed away on July 15, 2019, due to a tragic accident.

It is remarkable that Alessia’s first AIDA world record in CNF, a dive to 73m/276ft, was set at Vertical Blue 2018, which she set one meter deeper than the previous AIDA world record held by Sayuri in 2016. Sayuri’s dive to 72m/236ft replaced Natalia Molchanova’s CNF world record set in 2015.

Meanwhile, Alessia’s second world record in CNF (set according to CMAS rules) occurred during the 2018 CMAS World Championship to 70m/230ft. Additionally, in 2019 in Roatán, Honduras, Alessia set her 3rd CNF world record by diving one meter deeper (73m/240ft) according to CMAS rules in the CMAS World Championship. Therefore, in 2019, the AIDA and CMAS world records in CNF set by Alessia became one and the same. Only two years later, on July 15, 2021, did Alessia improve the world record in CNF by one meter, setting a new world record of 74m/243ft, according to CMAS rules.

As we can see, CNF is really a very demanding discipline, therefore, world records are still improving slowly, meter by meter, year by year.

Good luck, Alessia, on your way down in CNF!

New CMAS World Record in CNF - 87m/285ft (male)

Hurray, Alexey, you did it again! An amazing dive to 87m/285ft! Congratulations!

Today, on July 15 in the Bahamas, Alexey Molchanov set his second CMAS world record in CNF and the 22nd world record of his freediving career.

The previous CMAS world record in CNF (85m/279ft) also belongs to Alexey. It was set during the 2019 CMAS World Championship in Roatán, Honduras, where Alexey won the gold medal from his rival in the discipline, William Trubridge. In that championship, William attempted to dive to 91m/299ft, but blacked out and left the race.

Despite the fact this new CMAS world record is 2m/7ft deeper than his previous record, it is still not Alexey's best personal record.

Alexey's deepest dive in CNF was to 96m/315ft, which he reached in the Caribbean Cup in 2014. Then, in Vertical Blue 2018, Alexey successfully completed a dive to 92m/302ft. Additionally, in much rougher sea conditions at the Molchanova Grand Prix competition, Alexey dived to 87m/285ft.

But even Alexey's best personal record is still not the deepest performance in this discipline. The deepest dive with no fins, according to AIDA rules, was completed by William Trubridge of New Zealand in 2016 to 102m/335ft. William made this record during a personal world record attempt, which occurs outside of competition when judges come to witness only the athlete's attempt. Athletes are given three chances to reach the desired depth, and William successfully completed the dive on his second attempt, after which he never again repeated during an official AIDA or CMAS competition.

Although William Trubridge’s record continues to remain unbeatable after 5 years, we believe that one day, Alexey will manage to conquer this depth as well.

To celebrate Alexey's exceptional performance and the new CMAS world record in CNF, we are offering a 10% discount on our full selection of wetsuits, our A6063 nose clip, and our competition lanyard. Use the code ALEXEYCNF87 to celebrate with us and to get the newest addition to your freediving gear bag. Watch out, this discount is ONLY VALID FOR 48 HOURS!

This is Vertical Blue 2021 and new world records are coming, so stay tuned and don't miss your chance to get a discount on world record-breaking freediving equipment!

Overal day 3 results (July 15)

Day 3 of Vertical Blue 2021 was a day of multi-colored cards; 12 out of 26 dives were completed with yellow or red cards. It seemed that athletes were quite tired and did not manage to objectively estimate their capabilities for the day. As a result, 6 yellow cards for early turns were given (including William Trubridge, who aimed for 111m/364ft in CWT, but turned at 107m/351ft), along with 6 reds cards that resulted in disqualification, four of which were due to blackouts.

The deepest announced dive to 120m/394ft belonged to Davide Carerra of Italy, which was his second attempt at that particular depth during this competition. Unfortunately, he emerged in an unconscious state once more. The same happened to Thibault Guignes of France, who reached his target depth of 110m/361ft on his second attempt of the competition, but blacked out at the surface.

Therefore, the deepest successful dive of the third day among the men was 105m/344ft in CWT, which belonged to French athlete Stéphane Tourreau. Among the women, the deepest dive belonged to Japanese athlete Hanako Hirose, who made a smooth and beautiful dive to 100m/328ft in CWT and devoted her performance to the memory of Japanese athlete Sayuri Kinoshita. Sayuri passed away on July 15, 2019, due to a tragic accident.

As we reported yesterday, both world record attempts of the third day in CNF were also successful. Alessia Zecchini of Italy had a clean and seemingly easily dive to 74m/243ft, breaking her own previous CMAS world record in CNF by 1m/3ft. Alexey Molchanov of Russia also improved his previous CMAS world record by 2m/7ft with dive to 87m/285ft. Congratulations, superhumans!

We also congratulate the following athletes on their continuously setting new CMAS national records:

  • New South African CMAS national record in CWTB - Talya Davidoff - 66m/217ft
  • New Peruvian CMAS national record in CWT - Juani Valdivia - 65m/213ft
  • New Bahamian CMAS national record in FIM - Isabelle Winner - 34m/112ft
  • New Chinese CMAS national record in FIM - Kehan Pan - 77m/253ft
  • New Turkish CMAS national record in FIM - Şahika Ercümen - 77m/253ft
  • New Turkish CMAS national record in CWTB - Birgül Erken - 77m/253ft

July 16 in the Bahamas is a day off from competition. We wish for all of the athletes to get some rest and restore their strength for the second part of Vertical Blue 2021. We hope excellent personal and world record achievements are coming!

Day 4 of competition (July 17)

Start list

Ladies and gentlemen, we need a moment of your attention to announce perhaps the greatest news of Vertical Blue 2021...a new men’s world record in CWT is coming! Alexey Molchanov of Russia has announced an exceptional 131m/430ft depth for his dive with a monofin on July 17, 2021. It is one meter deeper than Alexey's world record in this discipline (which still stands today), set at Vertical Blue 2018 according to AIDA rules and 6m/20ft deeper than Alexey's current CMAS world record in CWT. If successful, it will be the deepest competition CWT dive ever in the history of freediving.

We are in awe and are holding our breaths, and our thoughts and prayers are with the brave athlete! May the force be with you, Alexey!!!

But that is not the only surprise the athletes have in store for us. Incredible Alenka Artnik of Slovenia, who just 4 days ago set a phenomenal world record in CWT diving to 118m/387ft, is now aiming for a deeper depth! 120m/394ft!!! Is it even real?! We hope it is! Alenka, we wish you all the luck in the world in performing a safe and clean dive!

Mirroring the first day of the competition, Arnaud Jerald of France is also going to improve the CMAS world record he set four days ago with a dive to 117m/384ft in CWTB. Go, Arnaud! We believe in you!

That isn't even all! Alessia Zecchini of Italy...is attempting 101m/331ft of depth in FIM! If successful, the new record will be one meter deeper than Alessia's current CMAS world record in FIM and 3m/10ft deeper than her AIDA world record in this discipline. Judging by Alessia's beautiful performance in the previous competition days, you can be sure that this powerful woman will conquer the depth with a smile! Good luck, Alessia! We will be watching!

Among the other impressive dives, we would like to draw your attention to:

  • William Trubridge, who announced an 83m/272ft dive in CNF
  • Vincenzo Ferri and Stéphane Tourreau, both who announced 109m/358ft dives in CWT

We also welcome back Walid Boudhiaf, who fortunately recovered after a deep blackout. His bid for today is 102m/335ft in CWT.

In addition, 11 new national records according to CMAS rules are planned for today!

The live broadcast will start at 9am local time on VB Freediving channel.

The Bahamas time zone is GMT-4, so here are the official Top Times for the world record performances in local and Moscow times (GMT+3). Check your time zone carefully and don't miss out on seeing the history of freediving unfold with your own eyes!

  • 10:50am/5:50pm - Alexey Molchanov - 130m/427ft CWT
  • 11:03am/6:03pm - Alenka Artnik - 120m/394ft CWT
  • 11:16am/6:16pm - Arnaud Jerald - 117m/384ft CWTB
  • 12:19am/7:19pm - Alessia Zecchini - 101m/331ft FIM

Good luck to all of the athletes; we can't wait to see you compete!

New CMAS World Record in CWT - 131m/430ft

Ladies and gentlemen, we are honored to inform you that on July 17 at Vertical Blue 2021 in the Bahamas, a meaningful and historic event has occurred. Alexey Molchanov set a new CMAS World Record in CWT, performing an exceptional dive to 131m/430ft!

Photo by Alex St-Jean

He did it on one breath.
It took him 4 minutes 43 seconds.
He experienced the pressure of 14 atmospheres.

We know that it is difficult to believe, but let us try to help you picture it. To visualize Alexey's dive, imagine a 40 story building. That is how Alexey's dive looked, but down beneath the surface of water.

The depth itself is quite comfortable for Alexey. He has already dive to this depth several times in training and now, in a relaxed and confident manner, Alexey reached this depth in an official CMAS competitions.

For three long years since Vertical Blue 2018, the deepest dive successfully performed in an official competition was Alexey's AIDA world record in CWT to 130m/427ft.

Alexey’s first world record in CWT was set in June 2012 with a dive to 125m/410ft in Sharm-el Sheikh, Egypt. Since then, for nine long years, all world records in CWT have belonged only to him. Alexey's closest rival in this discipline is Dave Mullins of New Zealand. In 2017, Dave reached 127m/417ft of depth, but since then, the athlete almost never participates in official competitions. Does it mean that Alexey has to continue to compete only with himself to push the human limit?

Photo by Alex St-Jean

To celebrate Alexey's exceptional performance and the new CMAS world record in CWT, we are offering a 10% discount on all of our fiberglass fins (monofins and bifins) and our full collection of fin accessories. Use the code WORLDRECORDS to celebrate with us and to get the newest addition to your freediving gear bag. Watch out, this discount is ONLY VALID FOR 24 HOURS!

This is Vertical Blue 2021 and new world records are coming, so stay tuned and don't miss your chance to get a discount on world record-breaking freediving equipment!

New CMAS World Record in CWT - 120m/394ft

Wonder woman Alenka Artnik of Slovenia is writing her part in the history of freediving at Vertical Blue 2021. On July 17, she performed an incredible dive to 120m/394ft in CWT, a new CMAS world record in this discipline. Congratulations, Alenka! You are unbelievable and your dive was simply beyond extraordinary!

Photo by Daan Verhoeven

Just for your information, the Vertical Blue competition is known as the most prestigious freediving competition in the world with the most favorable conditions for athletes; it is like the Wimbledon Championships, but for freedivers. And during the first 5 days of Vertical Blue 2021, only one person dived deeper than this powerful woman: Alexey Molchanov with his dives to 126m/413ft in FIM and 131m/430ft in CWT.

The deepest dive of Alenka's main rival in CWT, Alessia Zecchini, was 115m/377ft in competition. Alenka is currently 5m/16ft ahead.

Overall, among all of the officially registered competitive CWT performances, there are no more than 7 men who have ever managed to dive deeper than 120m/394ft. We recall the following names and dives:

  • Alexey Molchanov - 131m/430ft
  • David Mullins - 126m/413ft
  • Guillaume Néry - 126m/413ft
  • Herbert Nitsch - 124m/407ft
  • Martin Štěpánek- 122m/400ft
  • William Trubridge - 122m/400ft
  • Homar Leuci - 121m/397ft

The question is if Alenka should now start competing among the men...or will the men start training as hard as the women of Vertical Blue? Let us celebrate the rise of women in freediving with Alenka’s momentous performance!

New CMAS World Record in CWTB - 117m/384ft

Molchanovs athlete Arnaud Jerald of France continues the sparkling line of records with a dive to 117m/384ft, adding one more meter to his previous CMAS world record in CWTB set several days earlier on July 13 in Vertical Blue 2021.

Arnaud is focusing only on the bifins discipline during this competition, and considering that there are still 5 competition days left, we may still expect to see deeper world records in CWTB.

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

Photo by Daan Verhoeven

To celebrate Arnaud's exceptional performance and the new CMAS world record in CWTB, we are offering a 10% discount on all of our fiberglass fins (monofins and bifins) and our full collection of fin accessories. Use the code WORLDRECORDS to celebrate with us and to get the newest addition to your freediving gear bag. Watch out, this discount is ONLY VALID FOR 24 HOURS!

This is Vertical Blue 2021 and new world records are coming, so stay tuned and don't miss your chance to get a discount on world record-breaking freediving equipment!

New CMAS World Record in FIM - 101m/331ft

On July 17 at Vertical Blue 2021, Alessia Zecchini set a new CMAS world record in FIM with a dive to 101m/331ft. She improved her previous CMAS world record in this discipline by one meter.
Photo by Daan Verhoeven

It was Alessia's third performance at Vertical Blue 2021 and her third world record. On the first competition day on July 13, Alessia dived to 115m/377ft in CWT, breaking the world record by 1m/3ft according to AIDA records and by 2m/7ft according to CMAS records. And although several minutes later, Alenka Artnik performed an even deeper dive in CWT, Alessia's performance is still recognized as a world record.

On day 2 of competition, July 15, Alessia also set a new CMAS world record in CNF, improving her previous world record in this discipline by one meter.

Two days later on July 17, Alessia once more set another new world record in FIM.

It is what makes Alessia so special. Unlike most of the athletes at Vertical Blue, who tend to choose one discipline to train and compete in, Alessia is showing world record performances in all the disciplines of depth freediving. At the moment, it seems unlikely that any other female athlete will be able to compete with Alessia for the title of overall winner of Vertical Blue 2021.

Congratulations, Alessia! It is such a pleasure to watch your beautiful dives and your smile at the surface protocols. Enjoy your upcoming dives and good luck at becoming the overall winner!

Overal day 4 results (July 17)

The fourth day of competition was completed with 4 phenomenal world records performed by Alexey Molchanov to 131m/430ft CWT, Alenka Artnik to 120m/394ft CWT, Arnaud Jerald to 117m/384ft CWTB, and Alessia Zecchini to 101m/331ft FIM.

For other athletes, the previous day off on July 16 also proved useful; there were only two red cards and one yellow card on the fourth day of competition.

One of the red cards was given to the host of the competition, William Trubridge. William performed a CNF dive to 83m/272ft, but on the ascent at about 30m/98ft of depth, he started to ascend using the rope. Consequently, the athlete received a red card and the dive was disqualified.

Another red card was given for the only blackout of the fourth competition day; Kehan Pan of China performed a FIM dive to 80m/262ft, but lost consciousness at the surface.

All the other athletes managed to complete their dives as planned. Besides world record holders, significant depths were achieved by Vincenzo Ferri of Italy and Stéphane Tourreau of France, both to 109m/358ft in CWT. Two athletes who experienced blackouts in previous days, Walid Boudhiaf of Tunisia and Thibault Guignes of France, fortunately recovered, and both managed to reach 102m/335ft of depth in CWT and FIM, respectively.

Among the women, very deep and beautiful dives were also performed by Şahika Ercümen of Turkey to 90m/623ft in CWT (new CMAS national record for Turkey) and by Sheena McNally of Canada to 88m/289ft in CWTB (new CMAS national record for Canada).

Photo by Daan Verhoeven

There were 6 more CMAS national records:

  • New Mexican CMAS national record in CWT - Alejandro Lemus - 101m/331ft
  • New Korean CMAS national record in CWTB - Jung A Kim - 84m/276ft
  • New Taiwanese CMAS national record in CWT - Yun-Chieh Ku - 102m/335ft
  • New Swiss CMAS national record in CWT - Florian Burghardt - 82m/269ft
  • New Barbadian national record in FIM - Alex Davis - 82m/269ft
  • New Bahamian CMAS national record in FIM - Isabelle Winner - 36m/118ft

We congratulate all of the athletes on their fantastic personal and world record achievements! It was the fourth day of Vertical Blue 2021 and we still have five more days to go!

Day 5 of competition (July 18)

Start list

After an incredible fourth day, most of the athletes decided to take a rest, so there are only 21 competitors competing on day 5. However, freedivers can't seem to leave us without at least one world record, even today. Alice Modolo of France, as we predicted, announced 95m/312ft in CWTB. It is 3m/10ft deeper than her previous dive on July 14, and 1m/3ft deeper than the current CMAS world record in CWTB belonging to Alenka Artnik of Slovenia.

The deepest announced dive of the day belongs to Japanese athlete Hanako Hirose, who will perform a dive to 103m/338ft in CWT. The deepest bid among the men belongs to Pepe Salcedo of Mexico, aiming for 96m/315ft in FIM. If successful, it will become the new Mexican national record in FIM.

In total, 10 athletes plan to set new national records on behalf of their countries.

The live broadcast will start at 9am local time (GMT-4) on VB Freediving channel:

Good luck to everyone and enjoy your dives!

New CMAS World Record IN CWTB - 95m/312ft

On July 18 at Vertical Blue 2021, we celebrate a new name added to the glittering list of world record holders. Please give a hearty welcome to Alice Modolo of France, who performed a beautiful dive to 95m/312ft and set a new CMAS World record in CWTB. Congratulations, Alice, and well done!

Photo by Daan Verhoeven

Although Alice has been taking part in freediving competitions for over 12 years, this is her first world record. In May 2021, in Sharm-el Sheik, Egypt, Alice and her competitor, Jennifer Wendland of Germany, both attempted a new AIDA world record in CWTB and both suffered blackouts. But several days ago on July 3, Jennifer managed to reach her targeted depth with bifins, so the current AIDA world record in CWTB is set to 93m/305ft.

On the second day of Vertical Blue 2021 (July 14), Alice made a smooth dive to 92m/302ft with bifins. However, for a new CMAS world record in CWTB, Alice still needed to gain at least 3m/10ft to win the title from the previous world record holder in this discipline, Alenka Artnik. It is what Alice successfully did on the fifth competition day! We wish Alice many future world records, easy trainings, and successful dives!

Day 5 results (July 18)

The hero of the fifth competition was Alice Modolo of France, who set a new world record in CWTB performing a 95m/312ft dive (find more details of her record on our blog).

The deepest dive of the day to 103m/338ft of depth in CWT was successfully completed by Hanako Hirose of Japan (fun fact: Hanako used Alessia's Zecchini monofin for the dive; does the monofin bring luck?). The deepest dive among the men was performed by Pepe Salcedo of Mexico. The athlete dived to 96m/315ft in FIM and played a rather dangerous, but ambitious trick by grabbing the tag with his mouth (don't try to repeat this on your own!).

However, it seems that many athletes did not manage to rest well and restore their strength after the intense competition of day 4. There were 8 early turns that resulted in yellow cards, and only 5 attempts at new national records out of 7 were successful. The new CMAS National records are as follows:

  • New Chinese CMAS national record in CWT - Kehan Pan - 72m/236ft
  • New Mexican CMAS national record in FIM - Pepe Salcedo - 96m/315ft
  • New Taiwanese CMAS national record in CWTB - Yun-Chieh Ku - 90m/296ft
  • New Peruvian CMAS national record in CWT - Juani Valdivia - 67m/220ft
  • New South African CMAS national record in CNF - Talya Davidoff - 45m/148ft

Congratulations to all of the athletes! We are now heading into day 6 of competition! What performances will it bring?

Day 6 of competition (July 19)

Start list

More than half of the competition days are behind us, but it seems that athletes still have some surprises up their sleeves. What awaits us today?

Alexey Molchanov has announced a 90m/295ft dive in CNF, 3m/10ft deeper than his previous dive in this discipline on day 3 of competition. If successful, his performance will be recognized as the new CMAS world record in this discipline. However, this year’s Vertical Blue official protocols only allow the competition managers to mark "absolute" world records (the records that exceed both current AIDA and CMAS records) as competition world records. We hope you can recall when we previously described the circumstances in which AIDA validates personal world record attempts, such as the current AIDA CNF world record (102m/335ft) belonging to competition host William Trubridge, compared to how world records are set inside of competition.

However, in this competition, William's dives are significantly shallower than the world records he set several years ago. For the sixth day, the athlete has announced a CNF dive to 81m/266ft. His previous attempt to dive to 83m/272ft in CNF on the fourth competition day was unsuccessful. Hopefully, the athlete will manage with the shallower depth.

Alessia Zecchini of Italy is now attempting to reduce the gap between her official CWT personal best performance in competition (115m/377ft) and the current exceptional CMAS world record of 120m/394ft, set 2 days ago by Alenka Artnik. Alessia's bid for today is 118m/387ft. Good luck, Alessia! We are rooting for you!

We also wish luck to Davide Carrera of Italy, who will also attempt to dive to 118m/387ft in CWT. His two previous performances in this competition unfortunately ended with blackouts.

Besides these performances, 8 athletes will try to set new CMAS national records for their countries.

The live broadcast will start at 9am local time (GMT-4) on VB Freediving channel.

The official Top Time of Alexey's world record attempt is 9:30am local time and 4:30pm Moscow time (GMT+3). Set your alarms and let's cheer on the athlete together!

Good luck to everyone and enjoy your dives!

New CMAS World Record in CNF - 90m/296ft

Hurray, Alexey Molchanov, you did it again! An amazing dive to 90m/296ft! Congratulations!

Do you remember Alexey’s promise to us after his last CNF dive on July 15 at Vertical Blue 2021? He promised to keep improving his record in CNF until it becomes not only the CMAS world record, but also the absolute deepest dive without fins in the world. And just four days later, he made a 3m/10ft improvement. Should we bet on how long it will take for Alexey to keep his promise? I would say that a year is a reasonable amount of time for this particular aim!

In addition, we would like to draw your attention to the special swimming technique that Alexey is currently using for his no fins dives. With his engineering mind, Alexey constantly looks for ways to improve his performance and techniques. Alexey's last invention is the occasional addition of a dolphin kick to his breaststroke. Due to the fact that Alexey is a former professional swimmer and finswimmer and has great physical strength, it gives him a particular advantage. However, for most freedivers who do not have a background and previous training in finswimming, this maneuver will not be as effective due to the extra oxygen consumption from additional muscle activation.

Judging by how clean and smooth was Alexey's dive today, this technique is obviously working for him!

And although it is the CMAS world record in CNF and not (yet!) the deepest record in the world that Alexey has promised, we still have much cause to celebrate and hope in our hearts! We are offering a 10% discount on our full selection of wetsuits, our A6063 nose clip, and our competition lanyard. Use the code ALEXEYCNF90 to celebrate with us and to get the newest addition to your freediving gear bag. Watch out, this discount is ONLY VALID FOR 24 HOURS!

This is Vertical Blue 2021 and new world records are coming, so stay tuned and don't miss your chance to get a discount on world record-breaking freediving equipment!

Day 6 results (July 19)

The sixth day of Vertical Blue 2021 brought highly anticipated white cards to those who could not get them during the previous days, and multi-colored cards to those who had nothing but white cards earlier in the competition.

Alessia Zecchini of Italy planned to minimize the gap between her official CWT personal best performance in competition (115m/377ft) and the current exceptional CMAS world record of 120m/394ft, set 2 days ago by Alenka Artnik. Unfortunately, she was unable to equalize right before the target depth, resulting in a less than smooth turn and a loss of focus. On the ascent, Alessia also lost sight of the rope several times; she attributed this to the fact that this was her first competition where she did not use goggles on her dives. As a result, she lost consciousness several meters before the surface. That was the first red card and disqualification for Alessia in this competition. We wish for Alessia to get well soon!

However, the next dive of Davide Carrera was successful! Two times at Vertical Blue 2021, Davide tried to reach 120m/394ft of depth, however, both times he blacked out at the surface. On July 19, Davide announced 2m/7ft less and successfully performed a dive to 118m/387ft. Finally, a white card for Davide! Congratulations!

The next deepest dives were performed by two French athletes. Stéphane Tourreau and Thibault Guignes dived to 111m/364ft in CWT and 108m/354ft in FIM, respectively, and were also granted white cards.

The deepest dive among the women, despite her early turn, was performed by Hanako Hirose of Japan. Her bid was 105m/344ft in CWT, but Hanako turned at 100m/328ft, resulting in a yellow card and loss of 6 points.

Photo by Daan Verhoeven

Many of the athletes experienced difficulties with equalization. Due to this, there were 5 yellow cards for early turns and 5 red cards. Among the 5 disqualifications, only one was due to blackout (Alessia Zecchini), and the 4 others were for early turns when athletes did not perform surface protocol or ascended using the rope, saving their strength.

The host of the competition, William Trubridge, once again did not manage his bid of 81m/266ft in CNF. He almost reached the bottom plate, but turned at 78m/256ft. He received a yellow card for his performance.

Only Alexey Molchanov of Russia was calm, strong, and true to himself, performing his dives smoothly and successfully. On the sixth day of Vertical Blue 2021, Alexey performed the deepest CNF dive of this competition to 90m/295ft, setting a new CMAS world record in this discipline.

Photo by Daan Verhoeven

With this, the second part of freediving thriller Vertical Blue 2021 is over! July 20 is a day off in the Bahamas and athletes are resting and recovering their strength for the final act!

Day 7

Sart list

On July 21 in the Bahamas, the final act of freediving thriller Vertical Blue 2021 begins. Out of the 41 participants in the competition, 5 athletes have managed to set 12 new CMAS world records so far. If you are awaiting more world records, today is the day!

Incredible Alenka Artnik of Slovenia, who dived three days ago to an unbelievable 120m/394ft in CWT, is now heading towards deeper depths. Her bid is 122m/400ft! Unprecedented! We believe freediving history has never seen such fast improvement in a single athlete. Alenka, we wish you the best and hope you have a safe dive!

Alexey Molchanov is taking a rest day, therefore, the deepest bid among the men belongs to Davide Carrera of Italy. After his successful dive to 118m/387ft on July 19, Davide will attempt to reach 120m/394ft of depth for the third time in this competition. Good luck, Davide! You can do it!

William Trubridge is also hoping to improve his free immersion record for this competition. His bid for July 21 is 119m/390ft. Go for it and enjoy your dive, William!

Despite her blackout on her attempt to reach 118m/387ft of depth in CWT, Alessia Zecchini will try again to improve her competition record in this discipline. However, her announcement (117m/384ft) is one meter less than her previous attempt. Good luck, Alessia, we are rooting for you!

We also expect 6 new attempts at CMAS national records today.

The live broadcast will start at 9am local time (GMT-4) on VB Freediving channel:

The official Top Time of Alenka's world record attempt is 10:50am local time and 5:50pm Moscow time (GMT+3). Set your alarms and let's cheer on the athlete together!

We wish fantastic dives to all the athletes!

New CMAS World Record in CWT - 122m/400ft

For the first time in my three years reporting on freediving competitions, I am literally speechless! I hope I wasn't the only one who thought that Alenka would stop diving to such depths for a while and rest after her epic dive to 120m/394ft four days ago. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the start list for the seventh competition day with Alenka's bid for 122m/400ft in CWT on it! This wonder woman went even deeper! Congratulations, Alenka, you are simply the best!

We will never get tired of telling you how incredible and wonderful freedivers are. We believe that these amazing people and their achievements, which constantly explore and expand the limits of the human body, should be recognized and appreciated.

Here is the story of the new CMAS world record in CWT set by Alenka Artnik. Alenka started freediving about 10 years ago. She set her first CMAS world record in 2016, diving with bifins to 82m/269ft in the CMAS World Championship in Kaş. At Vertical Blue 2018, Alenka set her first AIDA world record in CWT with a dive to 105m/344ft. In this last year, Alenka has focused on the monofin discipline, and in the midst of several competition days, improved the world record to an incredible 122m/400ft of depth in front of our very eyes.

Already on the first day of Vertical Blue 2021 on July 13, Alenka improved the CMAS world record in CWT by 4m/13ft, performing an effortless dive to 118m/387ft. Three days later, on July 17, Alenka made another easy and beautiful dive to 120m/394ft. It was a huge day for the history of freediving and cause for great celebration! Then, four days later on July 21, Alenka managed to push the record even further to 122m/400ft! Unbelievable! Alenka stated in an interview on the podium that this will be her last competition dive and that she will enjoy a well-deserved holiday afterwards. We hope you rest well, Alenka, and enjoy your time!

Please take a moment to note that only 45 years ago, in the times of freediving legends Jacques Mayol and Enzo Maiorca, was the first time in history that a human reached 100m/328ft of depth, and they did so with a weighted sled. And now, a woman on one breath with only the power of her body and a single fin dives to 122m/400ft. Even if some people still think that freediving is a small and amateur sport, they cannot deny that we have our heroes who push themselves to unimaginable and unprecedented levels and depths.

Day 7 results (July 20)

The number of world records set per day in the Bahamas at Vertical Blue 2021 has reduced from four to one, but the competition has not become any less epic since the first few days.

The deepest dive of the day belongs to Alenka Artnik of Slovenia. Alenka has performed her last incredible dive of this competition and achieved a new world record in CWT with a dive to 122m/400ft. Now the wonder woman will enjoy a well-deserved rest (find more details about her record in our blog).

Photo by Daan Verhoeven

The deepest dive among the men (2m/7ft shallower than the women's deepest dive!) was performed by Davide Carrera of Italy. The athlete has been chasing this depth since the beginning of the competition, but two of his attempts finished with blackouts, followed by one successful dive to 118m/387ft, and then finally to 120m/394ft. Congratulations, Davide!

Fortune has finally smiled upon the host of the competition; William Trubridge has successfully performed a very deep dive in FIM to 119m/390ft!

Alessia Zecchini of Italy has also successfully beat her own personal best competition performance in CWT by 2m/7ft. On the first day of the competition, several minutes before Alenka's dive to 118m/387ft, Alessia set the CMAS world record in this discipline by diving to 115m/377ft. Then, on sixth competition day, she tried to improve her record to 118m/387ft, but lost the rope due to diving without goggles and blacked out at the surface. On her attempt to 117m/384ft, Alessia wore goggles but still lost the rope on ascent. However, this time Alessia was concentrated and stayed conscious, reached the rope at the surface, and successfully managed the protocol. As a result, she happily received a well-deserved white card!

But not all of the athletes were so lucky on July 21. A series of deep dives were not completed due to athletes experiencing issues with equalization. Consequently, 7 yellow cards were given for early turns, 1 red card for pulling on the rope (the athlete also had an early turn), and only 1 red card for a blackout.

Additionally, five athletes have set new CMAS national records for their countries:

  • New South African CMAS national record in CNF - Talya Davidoff - 48m/157ft
  • New Chilean CMAS national record in CWTB - Simon Bennett - 71m/233ft
  • New Turkish CMAS national record in FIM - Birgül Erken - 78m/256ft
  • New Korean CMAS national record in CWTB - Jung A Kim - 86m/282ft
  • New Italian CMAS national record in CWT - Alessia Zecchini - 117m/384ft

Congratulations to all of the athletes, you are doing an amazing job! We are always watching and cheering you on!

Day 8

Start list

What awaits us in the penultimate day of Vertical Blue 2021 in the Bahamas? As many of you probably have correctly guessed, Alexey Molchanov of Russia will try to win back his world record holder title in CWTB. His bid is 118m/387ft!

The deepest dive among the women today belongs to Hanako Hirose of Japan. Yesterday, Hanako turned early on her dive to 105m/344ft due to equalization issues. However, today she will attempt the even deeper depth of 107m/351ft.

Alejandro Lemus of Mexico will also aim for the same 107m/351ft depth as yesterday, where he made an early turn.

In addition, today’s freedivers have planned the largest number of national records attempts: 10 out of 21 dives will be new CMAS national records if they are all successful.

The live broadcast will start at 9am local time (GMT-4) on VB Freediving channel:

The official Top Time of Alexey's world record attempt is 10:30am local time and 5:30pm Moscow time (GMT+3). Set your alarms and let's cheer on the athlete together!

Furthermore, July 22 is the anniversary of the passing of Stephen Keenan, the famous freediving safety. In 2017, Stephen lost his life in the process of saving Alessia Zecchini’s. On her attempt to swim with no fins through the famous Blue Hole Arch, placed at 60m/197ft of depth in the Red Sea in Egypt, Alessia became disorientated. Stephen Keenan sacrificed his life bringing Alessia to the surface. Today, in Dean's Blue Hole, the safety team and all of the athletes will perform a dive together in memory of this noble man. The dive will be broadcasted with the help of Diveye.

New CMAS World Record in CWTB - 118m/387ft

Congratulations, Alexey Molchanov, on your new world record in the CWTB discipline and on your 24th world record in total! You have proved again that you are the only gold man at depth!

The CWTB discipline is quite new. It was recognized for the first time by CMAS in 2015, and by AIDA as recently as 2019. Therefore, at the moment, it is the only discipline in men’s depth freediving where at least 3 athletes frequently improve the world record by competing with one another for the title. During these past two months, the absolute deepest world record in CWTB was updated three times in a row by three different freedivers.

Until June 2021, the dive of Arnaud Jerald of France to 112m/367ft, which he performed in 2020 in Kalamata, Greece, was the CMAS world record in CWTB. But on June 25, another French athlete, Abdelatif Alouach, dived to 115m/377ft and set the new CMAS world record in CWTB.

However, Abdel's record did not last long as well. Less than a month later, on July 13 at Vertical Blue 2021, Arnaud returned to his title of CMAS World Record Holder in CWTB with a dive to 116m/381ft. On July 17, Arnaud went an additional meter deeper, setting a new CMAS world record in CWTB to 117m/384ft depth.

But it was obvious that Alexey Molchanov, who recently dived to 131m/430ft with a monofin, would use his last days in the Bahamas to earn back his title of World Record Holder in CWTB, which he acquired for the first time in the 2017 European CMAS World Championship in Kaş, Turkey.

And he managed it perfectly! Alexey performed a smooth and effortless dive to 118m/387ft. Congratulations, Alexey, that was beautiful to witness!

To celebrate Alexey's remarkable performance and new world record in CWTB, we are offering a 10% discount on all of our fiberglass bifins and bifin accessories (blade protection, bifin bags, and hard cases), our A6063 nose clip, and our competition lanyard.

Use the code ALEXEYCWTB118 to celebrate with us and to get your next pair of bifins. But watch out, this discount is ONLY VALID FOR 24 HOURS!

Stay tuned and don’t miss your chance to get more discounts on world record-breaking freediving equipment to celebrate Alexey’s potential overall victory of Vertical Blue 2021!

Day 8 results (July 22)

The hero of the 8th day of competition in the Bahamas, as well as the hero of the whole event, was Alexey Molchanov. Alexey successfully dived to 118m/384ft, returning himself the title of CMAS World Record holder in CWTB, not leaving any chances to his competitors to win the overall medal.

Spoiler alert: that’s not all! Stay tuned for more great achievements!

Among the other meaningful dives of the penultimate day of Vertical Blue 2021, there was a successful performance and new CMAS Mexican national record in CWT set by Alejandro Lemus. On his second attempt, Alejandro reached 107m/351ft of depth. Congratulations!

Another beautiful dive and new CMAS Turkish national record in CNF was successfully made by Şahika Ercümen. Şahika dived to 54m/177ft with no fins and set her 4th national record for this competition. Well done, Şahika!

However, most of the athletes on July 22 were not so lucky. 12 out of 20 performances on the 8th day ended with multi-colored cards. 8 yellow cards were given for early turns due to issues with equalization, while 4 red cards (including 2 for the blackouts of Turkish and Chinese athletes attempting to set new national records) disqualified performances.

Therefore only 3 out of the 10 national records planned for day 8 of competition were successful:

  • New Turkish CMAS national record in CNF - Şahika Ercümen - 54m/177ft
  • New U.S. CMAS national record in CNF - Lance Davis - 74m/243ft
  • New Mexican CMAS national record in CWT - Alejandro Lemus - 107m/351ft

Congratulations to all of the athletes, you are all awesome!

Day 9

Start list

Ladies and gentlemen - drumroll please!

We are excited to present to you the start list of the last competition day of the incredible freediving marathon, Vertical Blue 2021.

As many of us might be thinking, all of the athletes must already be exhausted from this competitive race, especially by the last day of the event. However, not these incredible freedivers who seem to have descended to Earth from another galaxy!

Two more world records await us today! Unbelievable!

Unstoppable Alexey Molchanov of Russia, who has already secured himself four world records in all of the depth disciplines and the overall victory, will today attempt to go even deeper in CWTB. His bid is an incredible 120m/394ft, which is 2m/7ft deeper than his dive yesterday! May the force be with you, Alexey! We will prepare some heart medication for ourselves so we can watch your dive.

Another alien freediver from outer space who holds three out of four world records in deep freediving, Alessia Zecchini of Italy, will try to improve her own current world record in FIM by one meter. Alessia's bid is 102m/335ft. Good luck, Alessia, we will hold our breaths for you!

It seems that other athletes also decided against playing it safe on the last day. The deepest bid of the day belongs to Davide Carrera of Italy. The athlete decided to increase his personal best record in CWT by 2m/7ft. The next deepest depth belongs to Thibault Guignes of France, attempting 120m/394ft in FIM. Considering that these athletes have blacked out diving to shallower depths several times in these competition, their bids are very bold. Hopefully the athletes will be careful!

Two women together will try to conquer the symbolic depth of 100m/328ft in CWT: Misuzo Okamoto of Japan and Alice Modolo of France.

The host of the competition, William Trubridge, will strive to complete the event with a white card in his favorite discipline of CNF. William’s bid is 82m/269ft. Thank you, William, for organizing such a great freediving event, even in the middle of a pandemic! We know it must have been stressful, but we enjoyed watching your fantastic journey to 119m/390ft in FIM on day 7. We wish you better luck competing against Alexey in the future competitions of this freediving season!

In addition, today’s freedivers have planned a large number of national records attempts: 11 out of 28 dives will be new CMAS national records if they are all successful.

The live broadcast will start at 9am local time (GMT-4) on VB Freedivin channel.

  • The official Top Time of Alexey's world record attempt is 11:11am local time and 6:11pm Moscow time (GMT+3).
  • The official Top Time of Alessia's world record attempt is 11:44am local time and 6:44pm Moscow time (GMT+3).

Set your alarms and let's enjoy the last dives of this marvelous and most epic Vertical Blue 2021 together!

Day 9 results (23 July)

Out of the 9 days of Vertical Blue 2021, the athletes that were setting the highest records did not seem to have much strength left over for the last day of competition. Day 9 concluded with no new world records, however, there were several outstanding performances.

Alexey Molchanov announced 120m/394ft in CWTB in case Arnaud Jerald also attempted a new world record. However, Arnaud surrendered the title to Alexey without a struggle, which is why Alexey dived to 102m/335m instead. But wearing what? Short silicone bifins (the new CORE Silicone Bifins) in place of his usual CB2 Carbon! For few seconds, all of the 2,000 viewers of the livestream were left speechless, thinking that the man was really diving to 120m wearing only silicone fins, and my earlier joke about heart medication didn't seem like a joke at that particular moment.

The deepest dive of the day, 122m/400ft in CWT, belonged to Italian athlete Davide Carrera, whose freediving career has spanned over 20 years. His performance is now a new Italian CMAS national record in CWT.

Two women managed to achieve the symbolic depth of 100m/328ft in CWT. Both of them are experienced freedivers that have been competing for many years: Misuzo Okamoto of Japan and Alice Molodo of France. In addition, 100m in CWT is also a new French CMAS national record in CWT.

Another remarkable dive was performed by Yun-Chieh Ku of Taiwan. Yun-Chieh Ku dived to 102m/335ft in FIM while wearing a mask! And of course, the the performance became a new Taiwanese CMAS national record in FIM.

But unfortunately, most of the athletes were not so lucky on the last day. Alessia Zecchini did not manage to set a new world record in FIM; she dived to 102m/335ft, but blacked out at the surface. There were 5 other athletes who also blacked out and received red cards for their dives. The other 6 athletes turned earlier than their announced depths, which resulted in 5 yellow cards and 1 red card. All in all, there were 13 multi-colored cards out of 27 performances.

Therefore, only 5 new national records out of 11 attempts were successful:

  • New Chilean CMAS national record in CWTB - Simon Bennett - 73m/240ft
  • New Turkish CMAS national record in FIM - Şahika Ercümen - 80m/262ft
  • New French CMAS national record in CWT - Alice Modolo - 100m/328ft
  • New Taiwanese CMAS national record in FIM - Yun-Chieh Ku - 102m/335ft
  • New Italian CMAS national record in CWT - Davide Carrera - 122m/400ft

Congratulations to all of the athletes! You did it!

VERTICAL BLUE 2021 - SUMMARY

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to congratulate the winners of Vertical Blue 2021!

Meet the first winner, Alessia Zecchini of Italy! Congratulations to the cosmic Alessia! We welcome her back to the earth's surface from an underwater galaxy with a total of 295.9 points overall! She made many incredible performances during this competition! In the last two weeks of Vertical Blue 2021, Alessia managed to set three new CMAS world records, winning her two gold medals and a silver medal:

  • July 13 - CWT - 115m/377ft - WR
  • July 15 - CNF - 74m/243ft - WR - Gold medal
  • July 17 - FIM - 101m/331ft - WR - Gold medal
  • July 21 - CWT - 117/384ft - Silver medal

Alessia started freediving when she was 13 years old, setting her first world record at the age of 23 when she dived 165m/541ft of distance in DNF at the 2015 CMAS Indoor Championship in Mulhouse, France. Later, at the 2015 Outdoor World Championship in Ischia, Italy, Alessia set her first CMAS world record in depth with her 93m/305ft performance in CWT.

At the moment, Alessia is the only athlete among currently competitive freedivers who has held world records in almost all of the freediving competitive disciplines, both in pool and in depth (7 out of 9 disciplines according to CMAS and AIDA regulations).

In this post, we would like to express our admiration and appreciation for the greatest athlete and most powerful woman of modern freediving!

We did not manage to count how many world records Alessia has set during her entire freediving career, so please, let us know in the comments! Let's celebrate Alessia's achievements together!

In second place overall, with two bronze medals and 226 points, is Şahika Ercümen of Turkey. This is Şahika’s first time participating in Vertical Blue and it turned out to be extremely successful for her. 5 out of 6 of Şahika's dives at the competitions became new Turkish CMAS national records in CWT, FIM, and CNF. Congratulations, Şahika! We are looking forward to seeing your performance at the CMAS World Championship in Kaş!

In third place is Sheena McNally of Canada. Sheena has been taking part in international freediving competitions since 2018, but this was her first time participating in Vertical Blue. Sheena managed to win the silver medal in FIM (with dive at 83m/272ft) and set a new Canadian CMAS national record in CWTB to 88m/289ft. Her overall score is 220.5 points. Well done, Sheena!

We are ready to announce another winner! The one athlete we never doubt, but who always manages to surprise us...the gold man of depth freediving, Alexey Molchanov of Russia!

Alexey has finished the competition with 5 new CMAS world records and 4 gold medals in all the depth disciplines of freediving:

  • July 13 - FIM - 126m/413ft - Gold medal
  • July 15 - CNF - 87m/285ft
  • July 17 - CWT - 131m/430ft - Gold medal
  • July 19 - CNF - 90m/295ft - Gold medal
  • July 22 - CWTB - 118m/387ft - Gold medal

Alexey’s overall score is 300 points! All in all, throughout his freediving career, Alexey has set 24 world records according to AIDA, CMAS, and even Guinness World Record rules.

To celebrate Alexey's remarkable performance and his absolute victory over Vertical Blue 2021, we are offering a 10% discount on all equipment in our online store. Use the code ALEXEYVB2021 to celebrate with us and to get the newest addition to your freediving gear bag. Watch out, this discount is ONLY VALID FOR 72 HOURS!

In second place is the host of the competition, William Trubridge himself, with an overall score of 261.9. In this competition, William fought hard for every medal, and eventually managed to win two silver medals in the CNF and FIM disciplines.

We also would like to express our gratitude to William for the incredible organizational effort he put in place. Despite all of the difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with your perseverance and dedication, you made it happen!

In third place, with one bronze medal in CNF and 244.1 points, is Walid Boudhiaf of Tunisia. Walid has participated in Vertical Blue competitions since 2009, and this was his sixth time there. Additionally, in 2021, Walid successfully set an individual world record attempt in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in the non-competitive discipline of VWT; he descended 150m/492ft using a sled and ascended with a monofin. Congratulations, Walid! Good to see you back!

All in all, Vertical Blue 2021 became the deepest competition in freediving history so far and proved that, despite all the difficulties of this past year, athletes found opportunities to train and get ready for the most intense freediving competition to date.

Over a period of nine days, 42 athletes from 21 countries managed to set 14 CMAS world records out of 16 world records attempts. Moreover, athletes managed to set 52 CMAS national records out of 79 announced attempts. The average depth of dives athletes made 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.

Unbelievable, and very inspiring! This is the main evidence that freediving continues to develop, with athletes conquering deeper depths and pushing the word "impossible" out of our vocabularies.

On this positive note, we announce that Vertical Blue 2021 is over! Hurray!

But there are still a few words that I, Asya, have to add. First of all, I would like to thank you all for being attentive and thankful readers. Your feedback was the main motivation for us to come up with this idea of reporting on freediving competitions, finally bringing it to its successful conclusion! If you have any suggestions or recommendations, please send them to me at asya@molchanovs.com or write them here in the comments. I will consider your opinion for my next reports.

Secondly, I want to say a huge thank you to the entire Molchanovs team, and especially to our editor, Kristina Zvaritch, who despite the big time difference, always had my back, corrected my imperfect English, and softened my jokes. Kristina, you are my hero, and I could never have managed it without your support!

And just to finish off what I started - yes! I won the 100USD that I bet on Alexey's new world record in CWT. I declare it the first bet in freediving history! Will anyone dare to bet against me at the next competition? I hope you do! See you all in Cyprus at the 2021 AIDA World Championship!


3 comments


  • monika castells estella

    amazing free diving all over the world!!!
    i can see a green light beside alexei same i captured outside floating in aereal form just near the surface in sinaí
    go for some meters in kas, turkey!!!
    incredible depht masters!!!
    hugs and congratulations for all!!!


  • Richard

    Where can we find the actual schedule? It’s not the VB website and the above post is more an outline than a concise schedule. Thanks.


  • Kohei Ueno

    Great article! Thank you for sharing, looking forward to tuning in!


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