In trend with the overall competition, Day 9 of Suunto Vertical Blue 2017 did not disappoint!

The last day of the event on Long Island would prove to be life-changing for a few athletes and historic for the entire sport of competitive freediving. On the ultimate day of #VB2017 two fearless women set two astonishing new world records, charting an iridescent course of the future for women’s freediving.

#VB2017 Day 9 results
#VB2017 Day 9 results

Hanako Hirose rose to the occasion and etched her mark into history by setting a new World Record to 103m under constant weight in a quick time of 3min 32sec. It was a stellar (albeit expected) performance by the strong yet petite Japanese freediver, who has shown pitch-perfect progression and risen uniformly on the radar in the past few years.  One short diver later, after Morgan Bourc’his set a new national record in free immersion for France, a feisty newcomer to the AIDA scene, Alessia Zecchini returned to the dive line.

“It was nerve-wracking to be in between those two dives!”

Shared Morgan, but the steady Frenchman succeeded in making his dive and leaving a nice white card wake for the fearless young Italian freediver who would come next. Having just set her first world record two days ago, all eyes were on Zecchini. She darted off on her dive with a whale of a splash from her mono-fin. Then it was as if the universe wanted to add to the heightened suspense of whether she would make it or not when the sonar readings were disrupted and neither the judges nor the viewing public knew if she had touched down at the plate at 104 meters or not. Chief of Safety, Stephen Keenan accompanied Alessia on her way up.

“Zecchini is a determined diver with a unique and unpredictable style, so you have to let her performance unfold; chances are she will surprise you.”

And surprise some naysayers she did as she surfaced with vigor, proudly displayed her tag, and fiercely climbed up the line to grab her place in the world record books with a clean and super speedy dive to 104m in a dive time of 3min 25sec. Alessia’s meteoric rise was complete. And so the on

And so the on final day of the 10th edition of Vertical Blue a new legend was born. An unimaginable day of back-to-back triumphs for both Hanako and Alessia.

World Class women and champions Alessia and Hanako (photo © Ruben Quido)
World Class women and champions Alessia and Hanako (photo © Ruben Quidu)

It was a story-book ending to a fantastic competition that yielded a total of three world records and an incredible 47 national records in total.

The overall winners of #VB2017 for the women included:

  • Sayuri Kinoshita taking home gold,
  • Kate Middleton taking home silver,
  • and Estrella Navarro Holm taking the bronze.
Overall ladies winners 1st place Sayuri Kinoshita, 2nd place Kate Middleton, 3rd place Estrella Navarro Holm (photo © Howard Holtzman)
Overall ladies winners 1st place Sayuri Kinoshita, 2nd place Kate Middleton, 3rd place Estrella Navarro Holm (photo © Howard Holtzman)

The overall winners for the men included:

  • Alexey Molchanov taking home gold (for the first time),
  • William Trubridge taking home silver,
  • and Morgan Bourc’his taking bronze.

At the closing ceremonies event organizer, Trubridge heartily thanked his hard-working crew, the gracious residents of Long Island for their hospitality, and Suunto for being such a reliable sponsor for Vertical Blue and the burgeoning sport of freediving.

Overall winners for the men 1st Alexey Molchanov, 2nd William Trubridge, 3rd Morgan Bourc'his (photo © Howard Holtzman)
Overall winners for the men 1st Alexey Molchanov, 2nd William Trubridge, 3rd Morgan Bourc’his (photo © Howard Holtzman)

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