The Day of the Hectometer

As told by William Trubridge

“Four years ago it took me three attempts before I set my first world record freediving without fins.  Since then I have come a long way, both in depth (from 80 to 100 meters), and in my confidence and capacity to perform under pressure.  I needed all of that experience today when I made my third attempt at the historic depth of 100 meters.”

William on his way

 

“Yesterday I had already touched the mark and come back cleanly, but a technicality (not taking my noseclip off during the surface protocol at the end of the dive) meant that the dive was disqualified.  During this dive I managed to tweak a muscle in my neck, so overnight I took a lot of anti-inflammatories and propped towels under my back and neck while I slept (thanks mum!).  This morning we awoke to a turn in the weather: a cold front moving across brought chilly winds, and blotted out the sun.  I entered the water at 11 in the morning and immediately started shivering.  At the end of my breathe-up, as I turned to start the dive, some of the air in my lungs was forced into my mouth, and from there into my stomach.  For a split-second I contemplated continuing, but it would have been foolhardy, so I aborted and rolled back onto the surface with a groan of dismay.”

“There was still a glimmer of hope to save the day, and I quickly went ashore, climbed into my car and turned the heating up to the maximum setting.  After roasting myself for twenty minutes, I returned to the platform.  This time I spent less time breathing up in the water, and turned carefully to start the dive.” 

 

Will on the platform

 

“There was still a glimmer of hope to save the day, and I quickly went ashore, climbed into my car and turned the heating up to the maximum setting.  After roasting myself for twenty minutes, I returned to the platform.  This time I spent less time breathing up in the water, and turned carefully to start the dive.” 

 

Will and his safety divers

 

“After that moment I have few memories, as my body was operating on autopilot, as it has become accustomed to do in deep dives.  I remember relaxing as I entered the freefall, and telling myself to ‘relax even the potential for contraction.’  I remember my depth alarm going off and pulling the tag from the bottom plate, 100 meters below the surface.  I remember keeping my eyes half-closed and telling myself to ‘relax’ and ‘flow’ as I set off on the long swim back towards the light.  I remember coming to the surface, reminding myself to concentrate on doing the protocol correctly in order to ensure a valid dive.  And I remember erupting into celebration with my team the moment the judges displayed their white cards.”

 

third times a charm for william 100m cnf

“It has been a long road to this magical depth, and I could not have done it without the support of an incredible team: deep divers Brian, Paul & Jason; safety freedivers Alfredo, Brian and Charlie; photographers Igor and Paolo; paramedic Tom; Nic, who traveled for 2 days from NZ to support me; and my loyal and loving wife and coach Brittany.Thank you also to the event sponsors Suunto and Orca – their support for myself and the sport of freediving has been incredible.Thanks also to my other athlete sponsors Ex Drinks and Tenerife Top Training, and to Glorope for supplying the perfect freediving cord.”

 

Will receives first prize

For more news, photos and videos check out Will’s website Vertical Blue and on his facebook page.

All photos courtesy of Igor Liberti.

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