Northeat TN Diver to Make Second World Record Attempt August 29

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Jerry Hall, current Guinness World Record holder for longest underwater submergence on scuba, will attempt to shatter his previous record by spending 94 hours and 9 minutes in Watauga Lake, Hampton, TN.

Two years after Bluff City, TN resident Jerry Hall landed in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest underwater submergence on scuba, he will take the plunge again on August 29.

Hall announced that he will attempt to break his own world record by spending 94 hours and 9 minutes submerged in the cool waters of Watauga Lake at Fish Springs Marina, Fish Springs, TN. Hall will enter the water at 10:00 am August 29, and won’t emerge until he has secured his second world record.

Hall brought international attention to the region in August 2002 when he spent 71 hours, 39 minutes and 40 seconds submerged 10 feet below the surface of South Holston Lake at Laurel Marina & Yacht Club in Bristol, TN.

Hall was originally set to start his dive on August 9, but those plans were put on hold when days before the dive was scheduled to begin, the dive team discovered another diver, Tony Smith, planned on breaking Hall’s previous record at the Pennyroyal Scuba Center in Hopkinsville, KY on August 28.

After several meetings and discussions with members of the dive team and sponsors, the decision was made to postpone Hall’s dive until the day after Smith entered the water, August 29.

“We didn’t want to tip our hand to the folks planning the other dive, and the possibility of simultaneous dives, virtually on each end of the state was exciting,” said Hall.

On August 19, the Hall team received word that the Pennyroyal Scuba Center had pulled the plug on Smith’s dive after apparent concerns over safety issues and dive logistics. A media release issued by Pennyroyal alludes to the possibility that Smith may proceed with his dive at another location.

“Jerry’s world record is much more than jumping in the lake and spending several days underwater,” said Jim Bean, Hall’s Dive Captain. “As a team, we have undergone intense training and practice on safety procedures, logistics and physical endurance for over a year. The very fact that Jerry’s dive will go on, stands as testimony to that commitment,” he added.

According to Hall, his main goals in attempting another world record dive are to bring attention to the region’s clean lakes, to promote scuba diving as a fun and safe sport and to raise money for the Southern Appalachian Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“Whether you are a scuba diver, a fisherman or a boating enthusiast, we are very fortunate in this region to have some of the cleanest, most beautiful lakes in the country,” he said.

“Jerry’s first dive introduced the world to the beauty and cleanliness of South Holston Lake,” said Thomas White, owner of Fish Springs Marina. “With this dive, the world will also know that Watauga Lake is one of the top three cleanest lakes in the entire nation, and a great travel destination for outdoor recreation enthusiasts,” he added.

Hall will begin his dive at a depth of approximately 30 feet, then will spend the remainder of his time at twelve feet below the surface in water temperatures in the mid 70-degree range.

With one world record already under his dive belt, Hall has the benefit of experience for his second world-record attempt.

“We learned many things from the last dive, and based on what we learned we have developed solutions to some of the obstacles I encountered,” he said.

For over a year, Hall has worked with personal trainer, Ella Helton, owner of Effective Fitness in Kingsport, TN in order to be in optimum physical condition.

“In preparation of the dive, my training routine included light weights, cardiovascular training and stretching to increase flexibility to prevent muscle cramps while underwater,” explained Hall. Additionally, Hall was on a strict diet high in protein, with generous amounts of water, fruits and vegetables.

Changes have been made to Hall’s dive team, which now includes several medical professionals. The team is structured in such a way that four members at time, serving 12-hour rotations will work around the clock to ensure Hall’s safety and comfort. Of the team of four divers, one member on each crew is a paramedic.

The team will rotate Hall’s tanks every three hours, care for his hands and feet which are subject to the rigors of the cold water, supervise Hall’s sleep, and assign him various tasks designed to help monitor his physical agility and mental skills.

According to Hall, one of the main obstacles he had to overcome from the last dive was sheer boredom.

“I spent three days underwater listening to nothing but the sound of bubbles coming from my regulator,” Hall added.

Boredom shouldn’t be a factor in this dive. Through the sponsorship of Lubell Laboratories and H2O audio, Watauga Lake will come alive with the sound of music ---below the surface, anyway.

“For this dive, I will have the use of powerful underwater speakers and underwater MP3 players,” said Hall. “I can’t describe what it’s like to be able to listen to music underwater. That alone is going to make a tremendous difference,” he added.

Hall’s dive platform will rest on the lake floor, which will also allow him to pass the time by exploring his surroundings.

Additionally, he will occupy himself by reading, relaxing in his La-Z-Boy recliner, playing checkers with his 11-year-old son, Seth, also a certified diver, and visiting with the occasional underwater guest.

While underwater, Jerry will subsist on gallons of water, apples, carrots, apple juice cheese cubes, electrolyte replacement drinks, a liquid supplement designed for gastric bypass patients, Carbo-gels and Snickers candy bars.

Since Hall is used to working 12-hour shifts, he plans to keep himself on schedule by sleeping during the day.

“In the morning, I’m going to swim laps and exercise, but when I get sleepy, I’m going to sleep,” he said.

Hall will break his previous record at around 10:00 am September 1. At 8:00 am on September 2, he will attain his goal of 94.9 hours underwater.

Once Hall and his team have decided to end the dive, they will allow an additional eight hours for him to slowly surface, and days for his body to adjust to life back on firm ground.

“He will be brought up very slowly and his activities on the surface will have to be monitored and controlled for several days after the dive,” said Bean. “The immediate impact of gravity after being underwater for so long is the feeling of having fourteen Cadillacs parked on your back,” he added.

According to Hall, an outpouring of public support during his first dive was instrumental in helping him attain a world record.

“So many sponsors have already come aboard, and without them, this dive would never become a reality,” he said. “With their support, and the support of my family, friends and the community, I am confident that I can break my old record and set a new world record that even I won’t want to break,” he added.

Hall’s world record scuba dive will be used to raise funds for the Southern Appalachian Ronald McDonald House Charities in Johnson City, TN. Media partner radio station Electric 94.9 will solicit pledges on-air during the duration of the dive.

“If just 1000 individuals pledge $1 dollar for every hour I stay underwater, we have the potential to raise $10,000 for the Ronald McDonald House,” said Hall.

Additionally, as a dive sponsor, Sprint will contribute $25 to the Southern Appalachian Ronald McDonald House Charities for every Sprint Solutions or Sprint DSL sale made through calls to a special toll-free number.

By using the special toll-free number, 1-866-514-7395, and mentioning the Jerry Hall dive, Sprint customers purchasing Solutions Bundles or Sprint DSL will trigger the donations, and receive a $25 gift card for themselves by mail.

Hall will also auction off select items used during his dive, with all proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald House. The auction will be held at a post-dive celebration at Fish Springs Marina on Saturday, September 4. The celebration begins at noon, followed by the auction at 2:00 pm. All items will be autographed by Hall and the public is invited to attend.

The public is invited to watch Hall’s world record being set at Fish Springs Marina. Hall’s underwater environment will be fully lighted, and an underwater camera will allow visitors to watch the dive from a topside monitor. Additionally, the dive can be followed on the internet on a special dive section of the Fish Springs Marina website:

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Jennifer Wilson