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Bahamian Luke Maillis sets national records during freediving competition at Dean’s Blue Hole

Bahamian Luke Maillis set three national records in freediving at the ninth annual Vertical Blue Freediving Competition held at Dean’s Blue Hole in Long Island last week.


Maillis dove to a depth of 37 meters or 121 feet in one minute 45 seconds in the constant no fins category and 46 meters or 150 feet in the constant weight dive with a time of one minute 30 seconds on the first day of the competition on April 22.


On day three, Maillis dove to 46 meters again in the free immersion dive with a time of one minute 35 seconds.


Francesca Koe, media officer for Vertical Blue, explained that the event is considered to be one of the “most elite freediving competitions in the world”.


Thirty-five divers from 20 countries participated in this year’s competition.


“For the first time we have almost evenly split female and male representation in terms of the divers,” Koe said.


“There is going to be stiff competition among the women”


She said the athletes had six opportunities to “prove themselves”, in the free immersion, constant weight and constant no fins category.


Maillis set national records in all three of the disciplines.


“So today is the third day of the competition and it’s my third dive,” Maillis said during the competition.


“I’ve been able to establish a record for each discipline so that’s going great. It was a little cold earlier in the week. It made it a little hard to compete but today the weather is perfect.”


Koe said this is the first year that a Bahamian has participated in the competition.


“To have a Bahamian compete and be a really good athlete and set three records in as many days is great,” she said.


“Luke is a very humble person. There is something very special about Luke.


“To now have a Bahamian competing makes it feel like it has come full circle.”


Dean’s Blue Hole has proven to be a worthy site to host the competition, measuring 202 meters, or 663 feet, deep.


One world record and at least a dozen national records have been set during the course of the competition.


Sayuri Kinoshita of Japan set a world record in the constant no fins dive going to 72 meters, or 236 feet in three minutes and four seconds on day five.


She is the first Japanese to set a world record in freediving.


As an added bonus, local students from the Mangrove Bush Primary School came out to watch the competition on April 26.


Vertical Blue photographer Daan Verhoeven said of the competition, “You are part of this community.


“We (freedivers) are all different people but we kind of share this lunacy of holding your breath and going deep.”


The competition, which started on April 22, continues to May 2.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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