On July 15th, the third day of the Vertical Blue 2021 competition history was made and revisited. The unstoppable Alessia Zecchini of Italy set a new World Record in Constant-No-Fins in a dive time of three minutes and 2 seconds to an incredible self-propelled depth of 74m. Not only was this Zecchini’s second World Record at this year’s event, but it was also a dive she dedicated to Sayuri Kinoshita of Japan – who previously held the world record, left us too soon, and was a dear friend to Alessia and the entire freediving community. Sayuri and Alessia would volley back and forth in their achievement of records in the CNF discipline as well as in FIM. There was no rivalry, just admiration and respect.
The CNF discipline is arguably the hardest of all the types of freediving, and it is what most refer to as the purest form. For Zecchini to execute a world record dive that was challenging enough on a regular day, and to do so flawlessly on a day charged with emotion is nothing short of spectacular. An additional tribute dive was offered by Hanako Hirose of Japan, who “felt Sayuri” in the water around her as she mustered up the strength to complete a clean 100m dive as a gesture to her now deceased best friend. Hanako Hirose is the second woman in history to ever reach 100m in competition and has been propelling the field of women forward ever since.
The third day of competition also saw six additional national records from Talya Davidoff of South Africa, Juani Valdivia of Peru, Isabelle Winner of the Bahamas with her third NR in as many days (and more importantly a personal best!), Kehan Pan of China, Sahika Ecumen of Turkey and Birgul Erken of Turkey also garnering her first NR of the comp.
The day ended with a beautiful in-memoriam dive where all of the crew and athletes descended to 15m with flowers to honor their friend.
Photo Credits: Daan Verhoeven