Local man will try to break own world record

Scuba diver holds 2002 world record

By Greg Miller
STAR STAFF
gmiller@starhq.com

   During Aug. 6-9 2002, Bluff City resident Jerry Hall spent 71 hours, 39 minutes and 40 seconds under water and forged his name in the Guinness Book of World Records.
   For the 2002 effort, Hall was submerged in 10 feet of water in South Holston Lake at Laurel Marina and Yacht Club in Bristol. This August 8-10, he hopes to break that record at Fish Springs Marina in Carter County.
   "We had to pull 20 feet for 20 minutes for Guinness World Records, then the rest of the dive was 10 feet and above," Hall recalled. "The water is warmer above 14 feet in the summer months. I was very excited that all the homework we did for six months was correct. We had a great team in 2002 and again we have assembled another World Record Team. So far, we have eight members on the team." Jim Bean is Hall's dive captain. Other team members include Tony Rutledge, Casey Johnson, Greg Sluss, Kevin Mitchell, Wally Ketron, Jim Carter, and Alan Britton.
   Hall is attempting to break his own record to "bring attention to the wonderful lake systems we have here in East Tennessee. And what better lake than Watauga Lake. Thomas White of Fish Springs Marina has offered an excellent place for such a dive. I have not dove at Fish Springs, but we have endurance dives planned for the summer. They will be 8-10 hour dives just to get ready."
   During the dive on South Holston Lake, Hall said he didn't get as much sleep as he had hoped for, "but this time we will use a full face mask more, which will help a lot."
   During his 2002 dive, Hall learned that with "a great team of divers and sponsors and the support of my family I can complete any task. Keeping in good physical condition and mental preparation will prepare me for the upcoming dive."
   Hall's personal trainer, Ella Helton of Effective Fitness, "has changed my whole workout routine and diet. I do strength five days a week and cardio 5-6 days a week. Also, my diet has changed to a more low-fat, low-carb based diet. All of this is far different than the training I have done in the past 18 years."
   At no time during the event will Hall be allowed out of the water. "If at any time, me or a part of me comes out of the water, the clock stops so we have to be very careful since the majority of the time will be 14 feet and above," he said. For the first 20 minutes, he will be more than 20 feet below the surface before moving up to warmer waters, 14 feet and above.
   Hall's efforts will be closely monitored. "We have to keep very detailed accounts of the dive as well as photos, news articles, news footage," he said.
   For nourishment, Hall will eat soup, carrots, apples, "and maybe a candy bar." He will drink bottled water.
   Summertime storms and the cold waters are among challenges that may present themselves for the upcoming event, and safety plans have been made. Hall was confronted with boredom during the 2002 event, and "Electric 94.9 has became a radio partner to supply music during this attempt."
   For his upcoming effort at Fish Springs Marina, Hall is looking forward to "just getting into the dive and letting the bubbles flow."
   Hall says his career goal is "to keep diving as long as God will allow me to dive. These waters here in East Tennessee are just great. As a matter of fact, I'm on my way to South Holston Dam now to go for a dive in 38 degree water. There isn't too much of a crowd at the lake this time of year."
   Hall says that "without God and the support of my family, team and sponsors, this dive could not happen. I am very grateful to all."