Arnaud Jerald (after his world record of 119 meters): “A great explosion of joy”

“How did you feel when your diving record was validated at 119 meters?
When I got out of the water, I took a good breath, did my protocol and it was all pretty quick. I hit the water and thought of Christmas when he marks a point and gestures with his arm (laughs). There was a great explosion of joy. And above all a realization of all the training carried out this winter. I thought of my family, there was Charlotte (his partner) by my side. She helped me arrange everything, my training, my dives. Every year, that’s what he does the most.

“I touched the water and thought of Christmas”

Tell us about your dive.
The day before, I was calm, I slept well. This morning (the interview took place on Friday evening), I did my stretches, my visualization. When I reached the platform, there was a surface current, in the first ten meters, which is unusual. It didn’t bother me. There was a marriage proposal right before my dive. Everyone was shouting, it was beautiful to see, there was good energy. Then it was my turn to dive. In my head, I was settled, I knew exactly what to do. Throughout the descent, I had a strong kicking rhythm. When I found myself at the bottom, I was fine, very lucid, no drunkenness of the depths. And on the way up, I sent “the watts” to get me out of that zone. When I saw the safety freedivers about 30 meters away, I was fine. I was already starting to prepare my exit from the water and thinking about the judges.

“The judges told me that they felt I had only done 50 meters because I was so fresh. I wasn’t out of breath”

What are you most proud of?
Develop my sport with this type of diving. I do everything to pave the way. The judges told me that they were under the impression that he had only done 50 meters so cool that he was. I wasn’t out of breath. In my opinion, it shows a beautiful image of the sport, and in depths that we would not have imagined a few years ago.

So much?
So deep in bi-fins, no. Already in single-seaters, very few manage to delve into these depths, even though it is an easier discipline to practise. In particular, there is more power. But in double fins… Three years ago, the record was 108 meters. And ten years ago, the record was 85 meters.

Arnaud Jerald near the exit. (D. Verhoeven)

How do you explain that you managed to overcome these phenomenal limits?
I have already chosen only one discipline (constant weight bi-fins) and gave it my all. Turns out he was easy on the thighs. Physically, I have skills. And the strategy was well framed. We avoided the pitfalls associated with my young age. In the excitement, I could have done silly things with it. Having a good entourage allows you to always keep your head, of course, your shoulders. And this winter I trained very well. Alexey (absent because of his nationality) had better train well to do better (smiles).

“I’m still full of adrenaline”

Considering how fresh you are when you come back from a 119m dive, you still have room for improvement, don’t you?
Yes, I am convinced. This is great. Every year I try to keep that margin between my limit and the dive. And there, in fact, we see that there is still room. (Repeat) There’s still room.

How will you approach the second part of the competition?
I will think about my strategy. We must not forget that the season is still long, there is the World Cup in October (in Turkey) and I have a big goal to keep the title. There, I can decide to do a little monofin dive just for fun, or go deeper than 119 meters with twin fins, or stop there.

What are you leaning towards?
It’s too early to tell. I’m still full of adrenaline. I just called my family, everything is mixed up in my head. Now is not the time to make a decision. At that point, you might say to yourself, “wow, great, I can get off.” Although that may be overkill. So we’ll see. »

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