Arnaud Gerald (after his world record at 119 metres): ‘A great explosion of joy’

“How did you feel when your record in diving to 119 metres was validated?
When I got out of the water, I breathed really well, did the protocol and everything was very fast. I hit the water and thought of Nadal when he scores a point and points his arm (laughs). There was a great explosion of joy. And above all, be aware of all the workouts that have been done this winter. I thought about my family, there was Charlotte (his partner) next to me. She helped me fix everything, my training, my dives. Every year, that’s what gets the most out of it.

“I hit the water and thought about Nadal”

Tell us about your diving.
The day before, I was calm, and slept well. This morning (The interview was conducted on Friday evening.), I have extended my perception. When I got to the platform, there was a shallow current, over the first ten metres, which was unusual. It didn’t bother me. There was a marriage proposal just before the dive. Everyone shouted, it was nice to see, there was good energy. Then it was my turn to dive. It got stuck in my head, and I knew exactly what to do. Throughout the descent, I had a strong kicking cadence. When I found myself at the bottom, I was fine, very clear, no sugar from the depths. And when going up, I sent “watts” to get me out of this area. When I saw the safety release devices about 30 meters away, I was fine. I was already starting to prepare to get out of the water and think about the referees.

“The judges told me they felt like I only got up for 50 meters because I was so refreshed. I wasn’t breathing”

What are you most proud of?
To develop my sport with this type of diving. I do everything to set the path. The judges told me they had the impression that I had only run 50 metres again. I wasn’t breathing. In my opinion, it shows a beautiful picture of the sport, at depths we would not have imagined just a few years ago.

at this point ?
As in the two-fin depths, no. Already in the single seat, very few manage to get into these depths although it is easier to exercise discipline. In particular, there is more power. But in double fins … Three years ago, the record was 108 meters. Ten years ago, the record was 85 meters.

Arnaud Gerald is close to the director. (D. Verhoeven)

How do you explain that you managed to cross these huge limits?
I’ve already chosen one major (fixed weight binaries) and I’ve given it my all. Turns out I was comfortable with the thighs. Physically, I have abilities. The strategy was well framed. We have avoided the pitfalls of my young age. With excitement, I could make silly things out of it. Having a good hem allows you to always keep your head on your shoulders. And this winter, I trained well. Alexey (absent due to his nationality) would have been better trained to do better (smile).

“I’m still full of adrenaline”

Looking at your freshness when you come back after diving at 119 metres, you still have room for improvement, right?
Yes I am convinced of that. That’s what’s great. Every year I try to maintain that margin between my limit and my dive. And there, we see that there is still room. (Repeats) There is still a place.

How will you deal with the second part of the competition?
I will think of my strategy. We must not forget that the season is still long, there is the world championship in October (in Turkey) and I have a big goal to keep my title. There, I can decide to either do some mono diving just for fun, go more than 119m deep in double fins or just stop there.

What do you lean towards?
It is 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 time, you might be saying to yourself “Wow that’s cool, I can go a little lower”. While this may be an exaggeration. So we’ll see. »

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