Yasemin Dalkilic, one of the most recognizable names in freediving, is coming back to the sport she helped popularize after a six year absence from the ocean depths. Over a span of four years, between 1999 and 2004, Dalkilic set eight Freediving world records, among them the first dives ever to 100 meters in Variable Ballast, to 120 meters in No Limits and the first Unassisted Constant Ballast record. But, at the height of her career, Dalkilic was diagnosed with a rare pancreatic tumor that required surgery and a lenghty recovery, which then turned into retirement. Yet, almost six years later to the date of her last dive, Dalkilic is set to attempt her 9th world record on December 27th in the waters of her native Turkey.
“I went and accomplished many of the things I had dreamt of outside of diving during those years, but the itch to dive was always there, and it only grew stronger with time” said Dalkilic from her residence in Miami, Florida. “Rudi kept on talking about all the dives we were not able to do and how we had unfinished business in diving. He must have been right because here we are again, ready for the deepest dive of my life, and in my favorite category to boot”. Yasemin will attempt a new record in the Variable Ballast category, where she holds the F.R.E.E (Freediving Regulations & Education Entity) record at 105 meters and the AIDA mark is 122 meters, set by Tanya Streeter in 2003. “Well, as always with Yasemin, we will attempt an absolute record, meaning that we will honor all existing performances and go for a depth that surpasses both FREE and AIDA records” said Rudi Castineyra, Dalkilic’s trainer, when asked about the intended depth for the attempt. “So yes, we’re aiming to be the first ones to go past the 400 ft (122 meters) barrier, but of course, how much farther depends on conditions and details we’re still analyzing” added Castineyra, who besides Dalkilic, has trained three other world champions, including Streeter ironically, and is recognized as one of the premier trainers and experts of the sport.
Dalkilic, who has become a tireless cancer activist at the international level says the dive will be used to raise awareness about cancer causes both in her native Turkey as well as through the athletic community, where she has ties with important personalities. She adds: “I have been very lucky in that I’ve secured the support of the Prime Ministry in Turkey, who are helping me in an effort to encourager female achievement in Turkey, as well as Turkcell, the number one cellular communications provider in Turkey and one of the most innovative and forward thinking companies in the country, the very qualities that drive me to excel as an athlete and a person”. We welcome Yasemin Dalkilic back to Freediving, the sport has surely missed her calm and classy demeanor and her mermaid-like diving style. Weekly updates containing articles, photos and videos about her preparations for the record attempt dive can be found on her website www.YaseminDalkilic.com