Freediver rises to new heights by hitting new depths

Sets new national records

Cayman Islands national freediving record holder Richard Collett, right, holding a white tag he retrieved at depth, completes his surface protocol in Roatan, Honduras last weekend where he set two new national records. Diving on a single breath, Collett hit depths in excess of 65 meters (213 feet) to set new marks in two disciplines. - Photo: Alex Beldi Photography

Cayman Islands national freediving record holder Richard Collett set two new national records in Roatan, Honduras last weekend.

Diving on a single breath, Collett hit depths in excess of 65 metres (213 feet) to set new marks in two different disciplines.

The sport of freediving involves a variety of different disciplines, involving breathhold diving. Collett, one of a growing number of freedivers in the Cayman Islands, has now set 18 national records.

His latest success came in the constant weight (bi-fin) category, where competitors must dive using only a bi-fin kick, setting a record of 60 metres.

He also set a new record of 65 metres for the ‘free immersion’ discipline, which involves pulling down to depth on a rope and returning to the surface on a single breath.

Ashley and Ren Chapman of Evolve Freediving, together with Esteban Darhanpe of Roatan Freediving, collaborated to provide an environment for national record attempts by athletes from different countries including Cayman Islands, USA, Colombia, Australia and Japan at the event last weekend.

To qualify as national records, a dive must be witnessed by two certified judges who ensure the dive satisfies the protocols set out by AIDA, one of the governing bodies for freediving.

“Things were a little touch and go as, unfortunately, I got food poisoning after the first day,” he said. “Luckily, Cayman Airways postponed the flight by two days due to unrest at La Ceiba, and so we were gifted a second chance to go for the records.

Record breakers: Cayman’s Richard Collett, back row, second from left, was among several freedivers to set new national records at an event in Roatan last weekend. – Photo: Submitted

“I am certainly very happy to be performing at this level so early into my training schedule, and now looking ahead to the next four months of training and competing.”

Several other records were broken at the event in Honduras. Ashley Chapman set new national records for the USA in constant weight (mono fin) 85 metres, and bi-fins 76 metres. David Mulheron of Australia also set a new bi-fins record, with Sayuri Kinoshita of Japan setting a new national record and unofficial world record in bi-fins of 85 metres.

“Having the opportunity to dive with elite divers like Ashley, Christian, David and Sayuri is simply amazing,” said Collett.

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