Guinness record holder to make second dive attempt

By Jennifer Lassiter
star staff

  Guinness world record holder, Jerry Hall, 39, of Bluff City, will take the plunge again, this time into the emerald green waters of Watauga Lake. Only two years after making the Guinness Book of World Records for longest underwater submergence with scuba gear, he will attempt to break his own record on Aug. 29.
  Hall aims to submerge himself for 94 hours and 9 minutes, topping his current record on Holston Lake of 71 hours, 39 minutes and 40 seconds, which brought international attention to the region. Sunday, if everything goes as planned, Hall will sink below the surface at 10 a.m. at Fish Springs Marina.
  Completely unteathered to the surface for days, Hall will have all the amenities of home, even a lazy-boy recliner. With one world record under his dive belt, Hall has the benefit of experience in his second world record attempt.
  After working with a personal trainer all year, Ella Helton, owner of Effective Fitness in Kingsport, Hall is 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," Hall said.
  Hall's dive team includes medical professionals, and his time underwater is structured in such a way that four members at a time, serving 12-hour rotations will work around the clock to ensure his safety and comfort.
  "I actually have the easiest part; my team members have it hard; they'll be bringing me everything I need around the clock," said Hall.
  The team members will rotate Hall's tank every three hours, care for his hands and feet which are subject to the rigors of cold water, supervise Hall's sleep and assign him various tasks designed to help monitor his physical agility and mental skills.
  Through the sponsorship of Lubell Laboratories and H20 audio, Watauga Lake will come alive with the sound of music during the dive.
  "For this dive, I will have the use of powerful underwater speakers and an underwater MP3 player," 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."
  Hall's dive platform will rest on the lake floor, allowing him to pass the time by exploring his surroundings by observing fish and wildlife. He will also occupy himself by reading and playing checkers with his son, Seth, who is also a certified diver and will accompany him briefly.
  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.
  Hall will break his previous record around 10 a.m. Sept. 1. At 8 a.m. on Sept. 2, he will attain his goal of 94.9 hours underwater, in support of his sponsor, radio station Electric 94.9.
  "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 Jim Bean, dive team manager. "The immediate impact of gravity after being underwater for so long is the feeling of having fourteen Cadillacs parked on your back," he said.
   All proceeds will go to Southern Appalachian Ronald McDonald House Charities. Hall heard about the radio drive last winter, and thought about his 11-year-old son Seth. "I really wanted to focus on the children," said Hall. Media partner Electric 94.9 will solicit pledges on-air during the duration of the dive.
  "If just 1,000 individuals pledged $1 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 Charities for every Sprint Solutions or Sprint DSL sale made through calls to a toll free number, 1-866-514-7395.
  Hall said he will 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, Sept. 4. The celebration begins at noon, followed by the auction at 2 p.m. All items will be autographed by Hall and the public is invited to attend.
  Rowena Bailey, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House in Johnson City, said, "This is a unique way to raise money; it's not like selling candy on the street."
  The public is invited to watch Hall's world record attempt 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 Web site: and through live broadcasts and remotes on Electric 94.9.