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French Freediver Arnaud Jerald Set A New World Record At Vertical Blue By Diving To 122m (400 Feet) With Fins

Freediver Arnaud Jerald

The French freediver has broken a new world record on July 20th in Dean’s Blue Hole, Long Island, Bahamas, by diving to a depth of 122m without an oxygen tank.

The performance took place on the first day of the Vertical Blue, the “Wimbledon of freediving,” and puts him in the virtual first overall standing for this competition, as no one has dived deeper than him today.

The man was equipped with a custom-made neoprene wetsuit, ultra-light carbon fins, and his beloved Richard Mille watch when he descended to 122 meters (400 feet), grabbed the tag attached to the bottom plate, brought it back up to the surface, and executed the surface protocol within the regulation 15 seconds after exiting the water.

It took him 105 seconds to reach the bottom and 109 seconds to swim back up, totalling 3 minutes and 34 seconds to improve by one meter the previous record of this discipline held by the Russian Alexey Molchanov since May 2023.

Aged 27, Arnaud Jerald has now broken the world record eight times, each time by one meter, and three times in 2022 alone.

The young athlete continues to make history in his sport and becomes the man who holds the most world records in this bi-fins category. The legendary Umberto Pelizzari, the disciple of Jacques Mayol, had achieved six world records back in the 90s.

The public who witnessed this vertiginous descent vibrated and applauded at the precise moment when Arnaud touched the bottom, followed in real-time video by the judges and the safety team who announced the diver’s position every ten meters.

As he ascended at around 1 meter per second, the tension was palpable around the competition area until the explosion of joy when the judge produced the white card that validated the performance.

French Freediver Arnaud Jerald
© Daan Verhoeven

The Vertical Blue considered the “Wimbledon of freediving,” brings together the best freedivers in the world every year.

For this 2023 edition, 44 athletes from all around the world have come together to offer a show of deep diving in the Dean’s Blue Hole, a natural hole located on the edge of the beach, a dream configuration for this sport that is best practised in calm, warm, and sheltered waters.

The two-time world champion lived up to expectations by pulling out all the stops from the first day of Vertical Blue, demonstrating the ease that is specific to him and suggesting that he still has a small margin.

The Vertical Blue is the Frenchman’s first competition this season; he will also be present at the CMAS Freediving World Championships from August 20 to 27 in Honduras to defend his title.