We???re talking World Record here — Part II

June 27

11:51 PM. Port list. A lean to the left, at least on this side of the table. On the other it goes to the right. Go figure. Bob Croft calls this hotel room rustic. Tilted might be a better expression but who am I to disagree with one of the greatest pioneers in Freediving.

Robert A. Croft, Navy (Retired) the originator of ‘packing’ set three incredible breath-hold diving World Records at a time when many of us were still holding onto our umbilical cords. 64m/212ft. in 1967, 66m/217ft. in 1968, and 73m/240ft. in 1969. Bob’s here this weekend to share some of his experiences and tomorrow night, following the Constant Ballast event, will be presenting some of the original footage from his record-breaking dives.

Right now however its all about tall tales and swapping stories as Bob, Doug Peterson, Kirk Krack, Tony Marcuccino and I recount an exciting day of Beluga Wales and a successful day one of the Canadian Freedive Nationals.

It went something like this:

After breakfast at Sophie’s, a breakfast institution in Kitsalano ( Vancouver’s west end), we made our way to the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. Nestled into picturesque Stanley park, the Vancouver Aquarium boasts one of the finest Beluga Whale exhibits in the world and today they have given Mandy-Rae Cruickshank the rare privilege to actually enter the tank and swim with the whales.

Pre-empting the usual tourist shtick, Bob, Kirk, Doug and Mandy-Rae entered the Beluga exhibit at exactly 12:00 PM and, as Mandy-Rae donned her fins and mask, Kirk began to explain to the unsuspecting crowd what they were about to see.

Naturally curious a young pup makes its way over the little island where Mandy-Rae is perched only to quickly scamper away as she enters the water. Slowly and carefully she makes a series of gentle dives in the eight-degree water hoping to attract the attention of the tanks shy residents.

Down below a curved glass wall offer spectators an incredible panoramic of the entire tank. A dreamscape of blue water and plump pale angles. And Mandy-Rae. Watching her spin and dance underwater I once again enter her dreams.

From the aquarium the boys and I make our way to Granville Island for lunch and get ready for the competitors meeting at Rowan’s Reef dive shop. It being an off year (no upcoming international team world cup event) this year’s Nationals will not be determining a new Team Canada. As a result registration is a lean seven competitors giving the event a fun, almost club feel.

The mood continues on to poolside at UBC Athletic Centre and right through the zero-time mark at 9:00 PM. Soon after the first competitor enters the water and we were underway.

In the end it was a great event with some exciting moments as Greg Fee, Alex Good and Tom Lightfoot set personal bests and Glen Garrett, who came all the way from Wyoming, literarily awed the entire crowd with his perfect flip turns and alternating right-side up and upside-down underwater lengths, all without nose clip or weight of any kind. The man is a true swimmer.

Unfortunately Glen registered the only disqualification of the event, blacking out upon surfacing at 93.8 meters. Nevertheless it was an incredible performance and, had he come up just a little sooner, would have taken the honours of the evening.

Final Dynamic results:

Athlete

AP

RP

Greg Fee

60 meters

87.9 meters, Clean

Alex Good

50 meters

87.3 meters, Clean

Jade Leutenegger

50 meters

79 meters, Clean

Luc Gosselin

65 meters 

76.2 meters, Clean

Tom Lightfoot

60 meters- no fins 

75 meters- no fins, Clean

Brent Pascall  

60 meters- no fins 

75 meters- no fins, Clean

Glen Garrett

80 meters- no fins  

93.8 meters- no fins, Black Out

AP – Announced Performance
RP
– Realised Performance

1:53 AM. Left Bob and Doug at the hotel to get some rest. Its time to file this report and get a few minutes sleep myself as tomorrow promises to be a very exciting day. Hasta Manana.

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