Arnaud Jerald after his 120m world record: “The impression of having touched grace”

“How do you feel after this new world record?
It’s crazy. It’s more than a world record for me, it’s the ultimate barrier. After the 119 meters on Friday, I went through all the states. And in the end, I decided to try 120. I don’t freedive for records, but to have fun. And, from there, I said to myself: “Keep having fun and if you want to take that plunge, go for it.” Suddenly he gave me another view of the world record, he lowered it.

You are not obsessed with records but, paradoxically, you decide to try for 120 meters when you could have stopped at 119. Not to mention the risk factor. Because ?
The risks were certainly huge, but I didn’t want to tell myself, having worked well this winter in Marseille, Courchevel and Nice, that I hadn’t tried. I didn’t want to live with that regret because all the lights were green. It was only another meter, the times were good, I was 100% lucid with my 119. So I told myself that there are things in life that you have no right to regret.

“I went through all the states”

When did you decide to try the 120 meters?
The day after my record 119m (Saturday). I talked to my family, to Charlotte (His wife) and he was determined. But I went through all the states. It’s not trivial to go there. I thought to myself that I was still big. You really had to go there for the right reasons. I let it simmer for a bit, but I was convinced it was the right decision.

Arnaud Jerald this Tuesday at the end of his dive to 120 meters. (D. Verhoeven)

Was there a risk of drunkenness by registering at 119m?
exactly This was the essential point. I am happy for my sport. There was Jacques Mayol with the first 100m, Alexey (Molshanov) who did 130 m in monofin… There, 120 m in bi-fin, is historic. We opened a door. And then he was successful with the control, I came out of the water with a lot of lucidity. I did my protocol, exploded with joy and said: “Who’s the boss?” when it’s not me to say things like that.

Where did this come from?
I had just laughed with my godfather two days before. To congratulate me, of my 119 m he told me this, “Who’s the boss?” And then, like Friday, I hit the water.

“The day before I saw the final between Nadal and Federer at Wimbledon (2008)”

Did your dive go as well as the 119m?
It’s quite similar. Already, the day before, I saw the final between Nadal and Federer at Wimbledon(2008)an anthology party (Victoria Nadal) which had lasted almost 5 hours (4h48). It gave me great energy. I slept well and in the morning I was very focused, a little serious. My heart was beating a little faster, it was noticeably hotter, and there was stress. In the first few meters, I paddled slower than usual, without necessarily realizing it.

At the bottom I went well, I didn’t feel the pressure, I even reached high speed. On the climb, I pushed hard, sprint limit. And during the last meters I was relaxed, not in a hurry. Everything happened very quickly. I had the impression that I had touched grace. As if I had just lived a dream, a very special feeling. I had never experienced this before.

Have you taken the time to achieve your performance?
Yes a little bit. I hold my hand to the cable, then my head against it, then wonder if I’m dreaming. Time stops. It’s my seventh world record, but so there’s only one. This record is very significant. With 120, we break a glass ceiling. Until now, it was unimaginable. It’s like we were supposed to go to the moon and the space shuttle made a mistake and went to Mars. We didn’t see it happen.

And during this time, Molchanov is banned from competition… What inspires you?
He sent me a congratulatory message after my 119m. (He laughs.) I wouldn’t like to be in his place… For him it’s a double penalty. »

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