On Tuesday, April 26th at 12:00 noon sharp (eastern time zone) Sayuri Kinoshita of Japan took hold of her destiny when she successfully completed a constant no-fins (CNF) dive to an astounding 72 meters in a three minutes and :14 seconds at Vertical Blue 2016. Sayuri is the first and only Japanese freediver to ever hold a World Record, male or female. And Sayuri is also the first woman to ultimately pick-up the the no-fins world record mantle left by Natalia Molchanova, (who was the most decorated freediver in history).

Marco Cosentino and Regan Hall accompany Sayuri to the surface where she will be greeted by cheers (photo by Daan Verhoeven)

“Saiko! I’m so happy!” squealed Ms. Kinoshita after completing her dive in front of throngs of onlookers, including friends, freedivers and even a class of local school-children from Mangrove Bush Primary School who could not resist coming out to meet the hugely athletic & vivacious Sayuri at Deans Blue Hole (on Long Island, in the Bahamas).

Mangrove Bush Primary School and the new World Record Holder (photo by Howard Holtzman)

“I want to thank everyone, my friends, especially Misuzu and Hanako, my family, my coaches and my sponsor Karino Japan — for supporting me in this sport. Three years ago I saw Hanako Hirose on the cover of a magazine,  it was a beautiful freediving photo and I thought to myself “I want to do that!” So I went to her freediving shop and that’s when Hanako became my first mentor.”

Now Hanako Hirose is a constant friend and freediving co-conspirator of Sayuri’s — the two are so animated and kind that no one can resist their sweetly infectious charm; if you are near them you are smiling.

You can’t help but smile! Hanako, Francesca & Sayuri (photo by Daan Verhoeven)

Sayuri’s petite frame belies the monster strength she has in her physicality and her mental focus, which is manfiest in her commitment to training. Back in 2014 Sayuri made her first appearance at Vertical Blue under the tutelage of Ryuzo Shinomiya, as somewhat of an unknown dark horse and nabbed her first national record in constant no-fins (CNF) with a dive to 53 meters. She then caught more attention by placing second overall at the end of that competition. The following year at #VB2015 Ms. Kinoshita was the outright overall Vertical Blue winner taking home gold and leaving no doubt that she had progressed to being a prize-winning thoroughbred.

Sayuri’s strokes are strong (photo by Daan Verhoeven)

The playful Sayuri remains humble even with a World Record as her crowning achievement, soaking it all in slowly for herself but always ready to celebrate the accomplishments of her fellow competitors. After the initial cheering had subsided in the competition zone around the platform, a very emotional Misuzu “Mimi” Okamoto embraced the younger freediver, and while the words she spoke were in Japanese it was clear to everyone that she was expressing her tremendous pride & joy for the outstanding effort Sayuri had put forward, and how important it was for the entire freediving community and their home country of Japan. The moment was overwhelming for Sayuri who could not hold back the tears.

Mimi and Hanako share a moment with Sayuri (photo by Daan Verhoeven)

“I’ve been training specifically for this world record, with Stefan Randig from Germany, to make sure I was fully prepared physically. I’m grateful that Stefan created a program for me to follow to ensure I was fit.”

DeeperBlue.com heartily congratulates the mighty Sayuri on this breathtaking triumph.

Sayuri’s perfect Pi! Or dive time and surface protocol as it were (photo by Francesca Koe)