Right after her world record attempt and before returning to Miami, diver Yasemin Dalkılıç answered our questions and gave tips for people interested in diving.
Last May you were going to try to dive to 125 meters. Risking vital danger, you remained at 106 meters. Whatever disappointments you may have had must have subsided. What are you planning now?
On April 22nd I went down to 106 meters. Later I wanted to increase this depth to 125 meters but I experienced a very unfortunate accident. The most upsetting point for me was the nose bleed at these greater depths, although I felt physically ready to break a record. Due to the damage to my sinuses, I could not chance a second attempt. Thanks to a new safety method, which we are trying to get the entire world to apply, I am still alive. Our safety team, composed entirely of Turkish divers, has successfully implemented this safety method for the first time. This safety system and rescue work made a big global impact. I am quite happy that even though I could not reach the 125 meters. I’m happy to have Turkey recognized for my 106 meter record, if not the 125 meter record, and the safety work that will set an example for all.
What is the measure of success for you? Is it how much you push your limits or whether you continue living healthily?
For me, success is continuously improving myself, to put my name in work that I am proud of, and surpassing the best not only in free diving, but in everything I do. I love living and I believe that I have so much more to do for myself and for others. In this extreme sport, while I push physical limits, the greatest success is preserving one’s life, which is the most valuable thing we have. Pushing the limits is always the secondary priority.
So, what is the objective now? What keeps Yasemin Dalkılıç excited in life?
I have many ambitions, though they’re all equally important to me. It is my wish that I have a life in which I am able accomplish these ambitions. My objectives are to remain healthy and strong by doing a lot of sports, to see new places as much as I can, and to dive in new places.
Which are the best diving places in Turkey?
There are numerous places suitable for diving in Turkey. All Aegean and Mediterranean beaches are good. In terms of underwater structure and underwater life, however, the best place is Kaş in my opinion. They have been rewarded for years of careful fishing policy with continued liveliness.
What should an amateur free diver do? Can you give some advice and tips for diving enthusiasts?
The best thing to do is to be trained. From time to time we organize courses with my husband Rudi Castineyra, who is the trainer of several world record holders. These courses can be followed on my website www.yasemindalkilic.com. Also on the site there are some useful articles for those who may not have the opportunity to participate in the courses. First off, I suggest increasing the depths or period spent under water very slowly and to dive with equipment with which you feel comfortable in a place where you feel at ease. For example, on the South coast in summer.
For diving, is it necessary to swim well? Can those with mediocre swimming skills dive?
Though you do not need to be an expert swimmer, you must to have achieved a level of swimming that will help you to move comfortably because you need to be able to move around freely. For scuba diving, a beginner’s level of swimming is sufficient.
What is the effect of cigarettes?
Smoking is the biggest enemy of this sport. The lungs need to be very healthy and in very good condition, which is not possible when smoking.
I personally cannot be present in a smoking environment even in open air. It affects me very badly since I have brought my lungs up to such a healthy state.
What has diving added to your life? If you didn’t dive, how different would you be from who you are now?
If I didn’t dive, I would have felt incomplete all my life.
I have always been passionate about the silent, magical underwater environment and pushing my physical limits there. Realizing this helped me develop a part of my personality. This way, while feeling calm, peaceful and satisfied, I also became a strong and self-confident person who can reach great depths.
There are eight records. Are those all your records? Are they world records? Are world records still valid? So nobody has beat these figures in the same categories?
All of these are registered world records. My records are 68 meters in 1999 with flippers; 96 meters with Limited Variable Weight in 2000, then 100 meters with Unlimited Variable Weight; 120 meters in Limited Variable Weight in 2001, and 105 meters toward the end of that same year; in Unsupported Constant Weight, which is diving without any equipment, I have 40 meters, 43 meters and 46 meters in 2004. These records were sometimes broken by me, sometimes by others. They will always be remembered as world records in free diving, however only one of them is still valid.
We came across information on six disqualifications. Under which conditions do you get disqualified?
Besides these eight records, I was disqualified in six different world record attempts. For the record to be valid, there are some protocols that need to be fulfilled, such as picking up a ticket deep down and handing it over to the judges. When you push the limits too much, you may not have sufficient energy to complete the necessary protocols correctly. This is the main reason for getting disqualified. Other than that, I got disqualified for touching the rope when I really shouldn’t have.