Thailand – Australia – United Kingdom

Record still stands, divers vow they’ll return

They came, they saw, they didn’t quite break the record.

About 13 Lorain County residents were part of a massive effort Saturday at Gilboa Quarry near Findlay to break the Guinness world record for most divers submerged at one time. Only 794 people participated, short of the 958 people who submerged themselves for 20 minutes underwater in 2006 off the cost of the Maldives islands in the Indian Ocean.

The event drew people from all over the country and Canada, and even though the record wasn’t broken this time, plans to bring the record to the United States and Ohio are in the works for next year.

“We’re bound and determined to break this,” said Jim Blauvelt, of Elyria, who was one of about 100 people who already signed up to dive next year at the quarry. “Even though we didn’t this year, we tried, and it will fall.”

794 divers participated in a world-record attempt Saturday at Gilboa Quarry. (Photos courtesy of Jim Blauvelt.)

Blauvelt said about 150 people registered for the dive but did not show up Saturday, which would have put them within striking distance of the record. The number of people this year was better than the previous record of 722 people, also set off the Maldives, in 2005.

“They have a definitive advantage,” Blauvelt said. “Most people like warmer water to dive in, but we already had more than they had (in 2005). so we have a very good chance of breaking it next year.”

A recreational diver for the past three years, Blauvelt, 39, said the event was a blast despite not getting enough people. It included a DJ, barbeque pulled pork, homemade ice cream, chain saw wood carvings and a social event to rival any other.

“Everyone was so personal,” said Wendy Vayda, another Elyria resident, who has been diving since 2004. “It was so much fun.”

Divers get ready Saturday at Gilboa Quarry.

Lanes were set up in the 14-acre quarry using nylon rope and down lines were there for divers to hold onto while they stayed underwater.

Blauvelt said the whole process only took about 90 minutes, from the time the divers went in the quarry, to the time they got out.

Those interested in attempting to break the record next year should visit the Gilboa Quarry Web site at www.divegilboa.com.

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