It was a very slow news day yesterday at #VB2017 — NOT!!! Day six of Vertical Blue 2017 was an epic and dramatic day replete with seven new national records and one massive new world record by Alessia Zecchini of Italy.

#VB2017 Day Six results
#VB2017 Day Six results

The day started off with two handy white-card dives from Morgan Bourc’his and Walid Boudhiaf. Next up at an unusually early hour for the event organizer, William Trubridge was determined to offer a clean performance in his preferred discipline as his two previous attempts at 90m Constant Weight No Fins (CNF) had only yielded him red cards (and skepticism from some parts of the internet).

“It’s a relief to have this dive done,” said Trubridge “As I lay there preparing mentally for my dive, negative thoughts kept creeping in that something would go wrong. That one thing would go wrong. And then my brother announced 10 seconds at the 20-second mark and I thought “That’s it, that’s the one thing!” and was freed up to do my dive to 91m and get a white card. So thank you, Sam!”

"Finally the no-fins white card I needed..."(photo © Daan Verhoeven)
“Finally the no-fins white card I needed…”(photo © Daan Verhoeven)

Shortly thereafter Alex Davis of Barbados set another national record to bring his total to four, and then came Alexey Molchanov. At the top of the second session, Alexey stood out in gold as the skies darkened and the rain came down. Nevertheless, he successfully completed a free immersion dive to 118 meters which is not only a Russian national record but also a personal best. This PB moves Alexey to the top of the FIM leaderboard and takes points away from Trubridge & Boudhiaf who were both leading only the day before.

Alexey tunes out the world to prepare for his record-setting dive (photo © Ruben Quido)
Alexey tunes out the world to prepare for his record-setting dive (photo © Ruben Quido)

Despite the wind and the rain and the cold temperature, the water clarity in the blue hole remained crystal clear and so was the focus of Davide Carrera, who garnered his first national record of the comp with a constant weight dive to 114m; and the first of the day’s three triumphs for Italy.

Davide on his way to a new Italian national record of 114m (photo © Daan Verhoeven)
Davide on his way to a new Italian national record of 114m (photo © Daan Verhoeven)

After Davide, Aolin Wang of China and Stephane Tourreau of France suffered at the hands of time by elongating their surface protocols by two seconds too much, to sadly receive red cards. And then it was Alessia’s turn. Her slight frame coupled with the increasingly bad weather made it seem like the day would not turn in her favor.

Concerned with the inclement weather, Sayuri Kinoshita, Linda Trubridge and event organizer William Trubridge watch in anticipation of Alessia's world record attempt. (photo © Ruben Quido)
Concerned with the inclement weather, Sayuri Kinoshita, Linda Trubridge and event organizer William Trubridge watch in anticipation of Alessia’s world record attempt. (photo © Ruben Quido)

But then the clouds broke, the rain stopped, the wind subsided and Alessia entered the arena. Everyone watching was literally holding their breath, and with an enormous sigh, exploded into cheers as the Italian phenom broke the surface. Alessia had corrected her mistakes from before, she kept her hand and her eyes on the line and delivered a timely protocol to ultimately receive the biggest white card of her diving career.

“It is like a dream come true!” shared Zecchini “I have wanted this record since I was a little girl watching Natalia Molchanova. To have reached my goal after so many mistakes is very rewarding. The happiness I feel is so great!”

Triumphant and joyful Alessia celebrates at the surface (photo © Ruben Quido)
Triumphant and joyful Alessia celebrates at the surface (photo © Ruben Quido)

As the celebrations continued for many minutes, Stig Pryds was trying to tune them out to concentrate for his dive.

The noise and elation were hard to ignore but I needed to zone into my dive. Since I missed my two previous dives I really wanted to just enjoy this free immersion.”

And enjoy it he did as he came up smiling and ready to finally receive a white card. Mike Board came next in a series of consecutive national records, to take back his title for Great Britain in the volley that he’s been having with Dean Chaouche.

“It’s great to have other Brits to compete with here at Vertical Blue,” said Board, “but it’s also great to feel strong in my dives this year since I missed out on VB2016 entirely due to a ruptured eardrum.”

Mike Board reaching to signal in front of judges "I am okay!' (photo © Daan Verhoeven)
Mike Board reaching to signal in front of judges “I am okay!’ (photo © Daan Verhoeven)

To close the consecutive series and give Italy a hat-trick of a day, Homar Leuci disregarded the foul weather conditions and came through with an impressive dive to 100m  Free Immersion (FIM). Finishing out the record day was Luke Maillis of the Bahamas; the soft-spoken local took home yet another title in constant weight with a speedy and clean dive to 54m.

Neither the wind nor the rain would deter Homar from his dive (photo © Ruben Quido)
Neither the wind nor the rain would deter Homar from his dive (photo © Ruben Quido)

There is one more Act to #VB2017 and the twists and turns in the leader-board are sure to continue so stay tuned!

All photos © Daan Verhoeven

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