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Molchanov, Zecchini Take Top Spots At Molchanova Grand Prix

Alexey Molchanov and Alessia Zecchini took the overall top spots at this past weekend’s invitation-only freediving competition in memory of the late, great Natalia Molchanova.

For the men, Russian athlete Andrey Matveenko took second overall and third place was claimed by little-known Dean Chipolina from Gibraltar.

Among the women, Sayuri Kinoshita from Japan and Jessea Lu from China took second and third place, respectively.

Alexey Molchanov at the Molchanova Grand Prix (Photo credit: Daan Verhoven)
Alexey Molchanov at the Molchanova Grand Prix (Photo credit: Daan Verhoven)

Day One was dedicated to the Constant Weight No Fins (CNF) discipline.

Zecchini dove to first place with a descent to 67 meters/220 feet, while second place went to Kinoshita and Lu came in third with dives of 55 meters/180 feet and 50 meters/164 feet, respectively.

The men’s results on Day One were a bit more interesting, with current CNF world record holder William Trubridge diving to 64 meters/210 feet (his target depth was 89 meters/292 feet), earning him a yellow card and 26-point deduction.

Additionally, Molchanov dove to 87 meters/285 feet but didn’t retrieve his tag, earning him a yellow card and a 1-point deduction, consequently getting 86 points and first place.

Not only that, Goran Colak earned a red card after his 81-meter/266-foot dive (his target depth was 83 meterd) and suffered a surface blackout. Croatian athlete Vitomir Maricic dove to 65 meters/213 feet but got a red card and disqualification due to pulling. Several other athletes also had trouble.

At the end of the day, Matveenko was in second place with a 70-meter/230-foot dive, and Chipolina was in third with a clean dive to 50 meters/164 feet.

Alessia Zecchini at the Molchanova Grand Prix (Photo credit: Daan Veerhoven)
Alessia Zecchini at the Molchanova Grand Prix (Photo credit: Daan Verhoven)

For Day Two, athletes competed in the Constant Weight (CWT) discipline.

Among the women, Zecchini took first place with a clean, 100-meter/328-foot dive. Kinoshita came in second with an 86-meter/282-foot dive, and Lu in third with a 70-meter/230-foot dive and, according to the account on the event’s Facebook page, “even managed to bring a flower for our beautiful and fair judge Ekaterina Romanova.”

Mirela Kardasevic and Hanako Hirose both had unsuccessful dives to 53 meters/174 feet and 58 meters/190 feet (they had set targets of 80 meters/262 feet and 82 meters/269 feet, respectively).

For the men, Molchanov came in first with a 120-meter/394-foot dive.

Trubridge, in contention for second place in the CWT discipline, chose not to compete. Consequently, Croatia’s Goran Colak came in second place despite a 107-meter/351-foot dive (he had announced 111 meters), earning him a yellow card and 5-point deduction.

Third place for the men on Day Two got kinda wacky. French athlete Arnaud Jerald successfully dove to 100 meters/328 feet but “made mistakes in the surface protocol,” earning him a red card and disqualification. Russia’s Andrey Matveenko dove to 92 meters/302 feet and earned a yellow card because he had announced a 100-meter/328-foot dive.

Consequently, Vitomir Maricic from Croatia earned third place with a successful dive to 81 meters/266 feet using bi-fins (everyone else dove with monofins).

For full results see below.  Check out the Molchanova Grand Prix Facebook page for more photos and info.

Molchanova Grand Prix Results 2018
Molchanova Grand Prix Results 2018
John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.


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