On Saturday April 30, 2016 at 11:20 AM (eastern time zone) there was silence. A united stillness rippled through the air and the water as 15x World Record holder William Trubridge lay on his back inside of Deans Blue Hole, meditating on what he hoped would be his 16th world record. As both of his parents and his brother Sam looked on, William packed as much air as he could into his lungs and turned his body and face downward into the greenish yet clear & calm water to begin his descent to 122 meters.
Dozens and dozens of well wishers around the comp zone, athletes and guests alike, held their own breath as Sam, the platform coordinator, called out the measured meters that William was passing through “30 meters, 40 meters, 50 meters” deeper and deeper, Sam’s voice echoing steady and strong. Would William make it? Would this time be different than the last? Would his parents (Linda & David) be able to witness their youngest son making history? We would not know for five minutes; five minutes that would feel like an eternity; five minutes of which four minutes and :30 seconds would be William’s time underwater and :30 seconds for the judges to evaluate Trubridge’s condition and surface protocol, should he successfully make the return trip.
The audience of anxious spectators cheered excitedly as Sam announced William’s arrival at the bottom plate 122m down at precisely two minutes and :15 seconds. Trubridge was on time. And then we all had to wait for the agonizingly long trek back up.
At four minutes and :10 seconds into the dive, William’s form appeared in the water below — his arm pulls surging upwards vigorously. And when William broke the surface his coach, Shiv Madhu, bellowed out clear commands for him to complete the prerequisite protocol. “Hook William Hook!” the entire audience willing William to remain upright in the water. After a bit of a shaky start, William completed his “OK” signal and verbal okay within :11 seconds, and then the painstakingly long :30 seconds for a final judgement.
A glorious white card – it was a successful dive! After receiving thunderous applause and a splash-out celebration William perched himself on the platform to receive hugs and congratulations from family and friends.
“I’m very happy with the result”, William said “but the ascent from that dive was terrible. At the bottom I was fumbling with where to place the tag on my leg, and eventually had to start upwards with my tag in my hand. A few seconds into my ascent I knew I could not hold that tag in my hand and so I spent a few more seconds trying to place it securely. With my focus off, I was not in the right head space, not in the place I like to be, to complete my dive with ease or confidence, in fact as I neared the surface I thought I might have a big black out at the top.”
But Trubridge did not falter, he did not black out, he pulled on and glided up to what is now his 16th World Record (pending doping tests) and to a crowd of smiles and exuberance, all there to celebrate his special moment.
“There’s been so much support at the Blue Hole and on Long Island, from so many people,. A warm big thank you to all the superlative crew, co-athletes, my sponsors Orca, Suunto, Steinlager, and the people of Long Island. And to my mother, father and brother who have all watched me attempt a world record, but until this day not successfully.”