Results - DAY 9

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Results - DAY 8

It was another funky day in the Blue Hole - three no-shows, a handful of early turns and two surface blackouts meant that with two divers to go the judges still hadn't shown a white card today. Luckily Igor Liberti, who has been dependable throughout this competition, brought home another national record for Switzerland, extending his mark in Free Immersion to 82 meters. William Trubridge followed with a white card on a CNF dive to 91m. He has been plagued by an equalisation issue at depth since the 121m FIM dive on the third day of the event, so today was a chance to enjoy a dive to a more conservative depth.

One last day remains in Vertical Blue 2011. Announcements will be placed in 3 hours, so stay tuned to see what the last day's action will bring!

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results - DAY 7

NATALIA MOLCHANOVA FREEDIVES 100m!! We knew she can do this depth in Constant Weight (and she has done it before a year ago, but lost the record due to a judging technicality), but after 3 black outs in Dean's Blue Hole, some people might have wondered if Natalia would leave Vertical Blue empty-handed. Today Natalia donned her lucky yellow suit (the new red one was too thin it seems) and finally made it official for the books, with a dive time of 3:42. The indomitable Russian once again has all the female records in competitive freediving. This was the 28th freediving world record set in Dean's Blue Hole.

Other than this historic dive, it was a day for early turns at Vertical Blue. The only exceptions were another pair of national records for Chile's Simon and Macarena, and a confident dive to 106m CWT from Walter Steyn, which means he now ranks 9th in the world in both this discipline and CNF.

You can see more photos and dive profiles from the event at the Vertical Blue Facebook page here.

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Results - DAY 6

Act Two concluded today with four more national records, and another close miss for Natalia Molchanova. Again she descended to 100m, and ascended all the way to the surface under her own power, but she had blacked out just below the surface and arrived already unconscious. The weather was overcast this morning, meaning that coldness became an issue for some divers, and Natalia was shivering just before her official top.

Chile (Simon & Macarena), Australia (Walter) and Switzerland (Igor) were the countries to earn national records - all of them improvements on their existing records.

In her first national record attempt Carla-Sue Hanson came as close as you can get without being successful: a long samba meant she went overtime on her surface protocol, but she will definitely be back for another attempt, and certainly has this depth in her.

Jyri and Eric both registered their first FIM dives in competition to 60 and 84 respectively. Dave, Alfredo Roën and Junko were all early turners, while Niki, Carolina and William took the day off.

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Results - DAY 5

At the half way point of VB 2011 several athletes took rest days - some planned them and didn't announce a dive, others decided on the day, and did not start (DNS). Those who did compete had a productive day in the aquatic office, with another 4 national records added to this year's loot. Alfredo Roën completed the second no fins dive of his life, with a 50 meter effort that just happened to be a Spanish national record also. Walter Steyn cemented his place as one of the great all-rounders of the sport, with a solid CNF dive to 70m, making it look easy for the safety divers and placing him at 10th equal for all time in this discipline. Simon Bennett and Igor Liberti both improved on their national records, registering 37m CNF and 77m FIM respectively. Junko and Carolina both bought home white cards, while Jyri and William turned early in their dives.

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Results - DAY 4

Anyone who has followed the past 3 editions of Vertical Blue will know that blue equals record – when the result is highlighted in this colour then it denotes either a national or world record. Today the first half of the scoreboard is blocked out in blue, and it was these personal victories that punctuated the first day of Act Two of VB2011.

Macarena Benitez and Alfredo Roën improved on their national records for Chile and Spain, while Simon Bennett claimed his second discipline for Chile, with a 34m CNF dive. Lena Jovanovic set the Serbian record for CWT with a dive to 62m in a scorching time of 1:52. Walter Steyn improved on his Australian national record, diving to 102 meters in a time of 3:34, cementing his post as the greatest athlete down under in the 'land of the down under.' This depth also ranked Walter as 9th deepest of all time in Constant Weight. However that particular title only lasted an hour, as Eric Fattah was to attempt 104 meters. He had been complaining that the water was too warm (27oC), but that didn't seem to perturb him, as he completed the dive with a solid surface protocol and a time of 3:21.

Amongst the other divers, Carla-Sue Hanson finally nailed her 46m CNF announcement, a depth she has been pursuing for some time. Junko Kitahama had a narrow miss, with a surface blackout, and Carolina and Jyri completed good dives other than an extra pull at the bottom, for which they were penalised.

Natalia Molchanova made another valiant attempt at an over-100 dive, and looked stronger than her previous 103m attempt. However she still ran out of steam towards the end, and although she reached the surface under her own power she had an immediate blackout. She is clearly capable of this depth, and has reached it before on several occasions, so we can definitely look forward to more attempts from her.

William stayed away from depth today, as his ear isn't completely recovered from the strain it received in his 121m FIM. Dave Mullins made some progress with equalisation, turning at 102m this time. It seems Vertical Blue will have to invest in an underwater scooter so the safety divers can keep up with him: this time his ascent from 100m took a minute flat.

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results - DAY 3

Here are the official results from day three - the last of Act One in Vertical Blue 2011.

Three national records fell today, the first to Igor Liberti, who has been freediving for more than a decade, but is competing in his first event. Igor was the photographer at both the AIDA World Champs in 2009 and Project Hector last year. He dove to 76 meters in Free Immersion to set a new record for Switzerland. Alfredo Roën, who lives and trains in the Canary Islands, and is the Spanish national champion in the pool, set his first depth national record with a clean and comfortable 85 meters in Constant Weight. So comfortable in fact that he gave the bottom plate camera a wave, to the delight of the surface crew who were following him on the live monitor. Macarena improved her Chilean national record, with a 45m Constant Weight dive completed in a speedy 1:33. This is her first competition as well, and she has definitely risen to the occasion! There were solid dives from Lena, Jyri and Natalia as well, while Junko, Simon, Walter, Carolina and Dave all made early turns. Carla-Sue completed her CNF dive to 46m, and stayed strong on the surface, but unfortunately went over time on the surface protocol.

Second-to-last, William Trubridge attempted a world record in Free Immersion. William writes: I was fairly calm going into the dive, as I'd done a 120m dive in training in which I hit my head on the plate, and I knew if I managed to equalise it should be fine. The descent was good, but when my second alarm went off at 115 I was already running out of air, and managed one last equalisation, before I had to ride my ears. I heard a strange noise from the left ear, just above the plate, and worried that I had ruptured the eardrum, I quickly grabbed at a tag, but lost the line in the process. From having done countless deep no fins dives, my first instinct was a no-fins stroke, which brought me back in contact with the line, and from there I continued to pull up it. Sometimes problems at depth convert to problems on the surface, but in this one I managed to stay relaxed during the ascent and completed the surface protocol cleanly for a tough but welcome world record.

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Act One will conclude with a record attempt from competition host William Trubridge, who will attempt to secure his third square number record (after 81m CNF in 2007 and 100m CNF in 2010) with a Free Immersion dive to 121 meters. The current world record, held by Austrian Herbert Nitsch, is 120m.

There will be plenty of national record attempts on day three, for Chile (Macarena and Simon), Switzerland (Igor), Spain (Alfredo Roën), Australia (Walter Steyn) and New Zealand (Dave Mullins). The rest of the competitors are inching towards their national records as well, and as the sun burns ever higher in the sky and the waters of Dean's Blue Hole continue to warm we can expect to see some intrepid forays into the depths from all competitors in the coming days of the event.

results - DAY 2

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Results - DAY 1

Preliminary results for Day 1 of Vertical Blue...

It was a great day for Chile, with the first mens and women's national records being set by Simon Bennett and Macarena Benitez. Unfortunately we will have to wait for the first world record of the competition, as Natalia Molchanova suffered a blackout on her 103 meter attempt.

Strong dives from Alfredo Roën, Carolina Schrappe and Junko Kitahama started off the day, before Walter Steyn hit a speed bump, with a surface blackout after ascending from 105m in Constant Weight.

Igor turned early at 64 meters, but was very clean on the surface, so it is just a question of equalisation for him at this point. Eric Fattah and Carla-Sue Hansen started out their campaigns well with conservative dives below their PB.

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The 4th edition of Vertical Blue will begin with a world record attempt from the queen of freediving, Natalia Molchanova, who has been past 100 meters before, but will attempt to do it officially for the first time, with an announcement of 103 meters.

The two debuting Chilean divers, Simon Bennet and Macarena Benitez will attempt to set the first national records for their country, and Walter Steyn will try to become the 9th deepest constant weight diver, with a national record attempt for Australia of 105 meters.

Many of the other divers are warming up with formidable dives also on day one...