Caribbean Cup Day 5: The Battle Is Not Just Among The Divers

When equalization gets you down (but not to the depths you want) switch gears and master no fins like Ken Kiriyama (DEN).

It’s hard to say that a freediving day boasting four national records was uneventful but the tone has changed here at the 2016 Caribbean Cup.  There were less spectators and it was quieter out on the lines.  The playful mood was exchanged for a more serious attitude.  Each diver focused solely on nailing the next couple of dives to set their place on the podium in stone, clench the last minute national record, or get a new personal best depth.  There’s nothing like a competition, quickly closing, to separate those who will fold under pressure (no pun intended) from those who will rise to the occasion.

Remember though that the battle is not just among the divers.  The real battle, especially at this stage in the game is against fatigue, ear issues (of which I am intimately aware), and maybe a little last minute anxiety.  Against these adversaries we will know about this time tomorrow who was able to hold it together and who is resigned to redeem themselves on the dance floor instead.

Kurt Chambers bested Nick Mevoli’s CWT record in a joyous but bittersweet moment today.

The most noteworthy dive of the day goes to USA’s Kurt Chambers who, in a bittersweet moment, broke the late Nick Mevoli’s 100m Constant Weight (CWT) record at 101m.  Kurt surfaced strong, convincing us all that there’s more in the tank.

“This record means more to me than my previous in Free Immersion (FIM) because it was harder to earn, the culmination of more work on different skills both in the ocean and pool. It also remained out of reach for so long that it feels like it took me years of pursuit to accomplish. To have earned it before the end of the comp, along with hopefully placing well in the overall standing, makes me feel like I got a bit lucky here. It’s a testament to how favorable the circumstances are at the Caribbean Cup!

I’d like to thank C4, Merman Custom Gear, Molchanovs, Maverick America, and Oceanic for their support. I am also in debt to all the dive partners I’ve troubled to watch me in the ocean and join me at the pool, especially my girlfriend Katie, without whom I could not have nailed my preparation for this event!”

Alejandro Andres (ARG) and Sebastian Lira (CHL) are no strangers to national record success during this comp.  They both received their second records today with an 84m Free Immersion (FIM) and 60m Constant Weight No Fins (CNF) dive respectively.  Sebastian relates,

“Reaching big numbers in freediving is the popular goal in this sport, but after reaching the 100mts in training I realized everything was the same as before. I am the same person with the same fears and passions. I mean It’s good to have a goal to aim at, but you have to forget about the numbers, the ocean don’t know anything about them. I’m trying to stay present and making my dives pure joy.”

Ghilain giving the “Ok”, elated after his dive.

Gauthier Ghilain of Belgium set a record today with a dive to 54m Constant Weight No Fins (CNF).  With a failed attempt at the record early on in the comp Gauthier had the “eye of the tiger” going into his dive today.

“After a first Constant Weight No Fins (CNF) national record attempt failed on the 1st day of the competition due to a lack of relaxation, I decided to take it easy and spend the 2nd and 3rd day at easy depths for me in the two other disciplines. After a couple of days of rest, today was THE day! I was feeling super good in the morning, the water was beautiful as always here and I tried to focus on relaxation during the whole dive. It was a perfect day and a perfect dive to set a new CNF Belgian record with a dive at 54m.”

Sebastian Lira having the comp of his life!

Let’s just say the point totals for the womens’ bracket are tight!  Tomorrow’s dives will very literally determine which lady, Sophia Gomez-Uribe, Ashley Futral Chapman or Tomoka Fakuda, will take which place on the podium.  Doesn’t get much more exciting that.  As for the men, it’s looking like the king will reign, but not without a fight from Kurt Chambers.  Pepe Salcedo is still in the running but never count out Mexican team mate Alejandro Lemus and of course the Chilean monster, Sebastian Lira.

Mexican depth master, Alejandro Lemus interviewing with Ren Chapman for CC’s LIVE feed: https://twitter.com/roatanfreedive

Writing this reminds me of one of the reasons I do this.  Competition is exciting!