Kyle Gion: Youngest American to Earn Freediving National Record, First American to 200 meters

Kyle Gion: Youngest American to Earn Freediving National Record, First American to 200 meters

O’ahu, Hawaii.  The United States Freediving Association (USFA) is proud to announce that Kyle Gion of Honolulu, Hawaii set two new United States Men’s Freediving national records in the discipline of dynamic apnea, swimming with just one breath of air across a pool, back and forth for a maximum distances of 184 meters (604 feet) then 200 meters (656 feet) the next day with a monofin.  His performance took place at the University of Hawaii Manoa, Duke Kahanamoku Pool.

Not only has Kyle succeeded in breaking two national records in two days, personally his first national records, but he managed to be both the youngest freediver in US history to earn a record and the first American to 200 meters in dynamic apnea.  Saturday, June 22, Kyle swam a record setting distance of 184 meters using his monofin.  This distance covers almost 4 lengths in a 50 meter pool or almost 8 lengths in a standard short course.  The swim took 2 minutes and 22 seconds and beat the previous national record held by Ron Smith, fellow US Freediving team mate, by 9 meters, a huge spread by freediving standards.

Kyle smiling wide with his proud father, David Gion on the right and his coach, Craig Gentry of Freedive Hawaii on the left.

Kyle smiling wide with his proud father, David Gion on the right and his coach, Craig Gentry of Hawaii Freedivers on the left.

Making history as the youngest America record holder was not enough for Kyle, he rested and swam again Sunday, June 23 breaking his previous record to a distance of 200 meters also making him the first American to 200 meters, taking him 2 minutes and 31 seconds.  A milestone not be taken lightly as the qualifying distance at the currently running World Pool Championships in Belgrade appears to be 200 meters.  Kyle is ushering the Americans into the competitive international freediving scene.

During the performance.  The only sound Kyle hears is his heart beating.

During the performance. The only sound Kyle hears is his heart beating.

Not only is Kyle a young, record setting, history making freediver with undoubtedly latent talents yet to be tapped into, he is also unassuming, smart and funny.  Kyle gives credit for his success to coach, Hawaii Freedivers founder and Performance Freediving International (PFI) Instructor, Craig Gentry and PFI founder, Kirk Krack, “I want to express my sincere gratitude for everything that Craig, Kirk, and Performance Freediving has taught me. I would not be here without you guys.” 

Gion enrolled in his first freediving course through PFI July 2010 at the age of 15.  Later, at the age of 16, becoming the youngest athlete to compete at the freediving competition, Freedive Paradise.  At age 17, Kyle also became the youngest ever member of Team USA when he traveled with fellow teammates to Nice, France to compete in the Team World Freediving Competition as an alternate athlete.  Kyle did not post scores as an alternate but offered endless laughs and support to his teammates.  With his new record setting 200 meter swim, he has given the Men’s US Team something to smile about as they now have an emerging athlete swimming distances that will compete with the rest of the world.  Team Co-Captain and fellow team member, Ashley Chapman says, “The Americans have never been the strongest team.  We do not have the same history of freediving as the European teams, however, we have American spirit.  Kyle exemplifies this spirit.  He’s young but exudes a confidence, without cockiness, that is paramount to success in the sport.  He is also proving himself a methodical diver, which is more important than being the best diver when it comes to the freediving team.  Lucky for us, Kyle is both.”

Exhausted and exalted, the youngest American record holder and first to 200 meters.

Exhausted and exalted, the youngest American record holder and first to 200 meters.

Hawaii is becoming a mecca for freediving in the United States.  With a competition every year, Freedive Paradise, and conditions conducive to freediving, people travel from all over the world to dive Hawaii.  There are also multiple organizations offering freediving courses throughout the year mostly in O’ahu and Kona.

Post by Ashley Chapman of Evolve Freediving

Photo credit Darin Miyashiro

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