It was no April Fool’s. Martin Stepanek, Mandy-Rae Cruickshank and Dr. George ‘Doc’ Lopez achieved record depths on their first day of ‘Sink Faze Cayman 2006’ in the Cayman Islands. All record performances were witnessed by AIDA International Judges Dimitris Vassilaskis (Greece) and Cedric Palerme (France) who also ensured that safety protocols were followed.
For the third year in a row, members of the Performance Freediving Team, in conjunction with ICU Medical Inc., have spent four weeks training on Grand Cayman Island, all toward a week of record attempts in the sport of freediving/breath-hold diving. Freediving traces its roots back over 4,500 years. The competitive sport has been developing seriously since the late 1990’s.
First up Saturday was Czech freediver Martin Stepanek, a resident of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Martin lost his World Record of 103m/338 ft in the Constant Ballast discipline to Carlos Coste of Venezuela last August, but reclaimed it today with a dive of 106m/348ft. Martin’s dive lasted 3 minutes 52 seconds. Martin Stepanek is twenty- eight years old and is now a now an eight-time world record holder.
Next up was thirty-one year old Mandy-Rae Cruickshank, a resident of Vancouver, Canada and a six-time world record holder.
Mandy-Rae used the event for world record training, but in so doing broke her 2004 Women’s Constant Ballast World Record of 78m/256ft and set a new Canadian National record with an easy 80m/262ft dive in a time of 2 minutes 36 seconds. Mandy-Rae is now positioned to challenge the current Women’s Constant Ballast World Record (held by Natalia Molchanova of Russia at 86m / 282ft) at any time during the Sink Faze event this coming week.
Last on the competition line was Dr. George ‘Doc’ Lopez, Founder/CEO and Chairman of the Board for ICU Medical Inc. Doc has been a team member with Mandy-Rae and Martin since the Cayman 2004 event. He has been training for the discipline of Free Immersion and over the past three weeks had achieved a depth of 49m / 161ft. Today Doc targeted a depth of 51m / 167ft to beat the current United States Free Immersion record of 50m/164ft held by Bill Graham of Kona, Hawaii.
With the day’s successful performance, Doc has now reclaimed his US National Record title in Free Immersion and is looking forward to setting the bar even deeper over the remaining Sink Faze event days.
These priority record goals met today, the first event day, the team members have gained a big morale and confidence boost and with three more record attempt opportunities remaining, greater and deeper feats are expected from the Performance Freediving Team. The next attempt days are Monday April 3rd, Wednesday the 5th and Friday the 6th.
Sink Faze was featured on Monday NBC’s The Today Show and on the ABC network’s Good Morning America.
Mandy-Rae, Martin and Doc work with coach and trainer Kirk Krack, founder of Performance Freediving International Inc. Kirk was formerly Vice-President of the Association for the International Development of Apnea (AIDA), the world governing body for the sport of freediving.
This event is made possible by the financial sponsorship of ICU Medical Inc. and the support of Stingray Watersports of Grand Cayman in providing diving and accommodations. Underwater video services are provided by HD Odyssey of Monterey, CA. Professional equipment is furnished by Oceaner Sporting Goods and Yamamoto Corporation with additional support provided by Doc’s Proplugs. Provding evacuation boat support was Danny Kupkowski of Off The Wall and spectator boat by Divetech Ltd.
The members of Performance Freediving International teach educational clinics around the world and are involved in both team and athlete development. Last year’s attempts in Cayman were broadcast near-live by streaming video and garnered an outstanding response from underwater enthusiasts the world over.