DAY NINE - How to build a record, by Leo Muraoka

One of the great fairy tales of Vertical Blue 2008 reached its happy ending today. Over the last week Leo Muraoka, Japanese born but now a genuine Hawaiian, has been steadily climbing downhill towards the American record in Free Immersion. Each dive looked difficult, but each day he came back for _ _ more, adding another 3m to his announced depth. 66... 69... 72 and a small

samba (but a white card) left most people thinking he had reached the end of ‘JI the road. But Leo is persistent, he is one of those divers who, when he has run out of oxygen, will complete the dive on determination alone.

Huge contractions rocked his body when Natalia Avseenko, who was deep safety today, met him during the ascent. Still Leo kept pulling, and he surfaced after an almost3 minute dive to claim his third national record.

In the photo you can see (left to right): Natalia Avseenko (deep safety freediver), Peter Scott (safety freediver), Joy Hibbs (medic & platform supervisor), Fran Rose (AIDA judge), Leo Muraoka, Kerian Hibbs, Nic Rowan (surface camera), Grant Graves (AIDA judge), Megumi Matsumoto, Michael Trousdell (safety freediver).

Kathryn McPhee was also attempting a milestone today. She has already established herself as the NZ champion, with national records in all the disciplines, but todays dive was a goal that she had set herself for this event: 50m no fins. Today she finally made the depth, in a time of 2:17, and the fact that it looked easier than her recent 48m means that there's more in the tank. Most of the rest of the dives were successful: Tomoko and Megumi inched out to 56 and 59 meters respectively in CWT, while Kerian had a 'super easy' dive to 64m. Ryuzo was trying for 105m, but turned at 99m, while Dave Mullins cancelled his CWT WR attempt fortoday.


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