Quebec athletes Lysanne Richard and Yves Milord are making a splash in the world of high diving, and have set a new world record.
The duo performed a synchronized dive last week, launching themselves from two hot-air balloons in flight into the waters of the Richelieu River.
According to a release, the divers set the new world record by jumping from small platforms rigged on the edge of the balloons’ baskets with Richard front flipping from a height of 25 metres, and Milord from a height of 23 metres.
Richard, a mother of three, has already made a name for herself in the world of high diving, with 14 podiums including three victories in the Red Bull Cliff Diving circuit. She was also named Top Diving Athlete of the Year in 2016 after a World Cup victory in Abu Dhabi.
Milord, for his part, boasts over 35 years of experience in acrobatics and extreme diving.
The idea for the record-making dive first came to Richard in 2016, a release said, but her dream really came to life through a partnership with the International de montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, organizers of an annual international ballooning festival southeast of Montreal.
Last week’s dive required a team of 40 professionals including experienced balloon pilots to bring the project to fruition.
Some of the challenges included establishing a hot-air balloon safety committee to determine the ideal flying conditions, analyzing the water in the river and building custom platforms.
Organizers said unlike other aircrafts, you can’t steer a hot-air balloon.
“The pilot and their team have to accurately judge wind direction and speed, which greatly varies with altitude and weather, in order to maneuver the balloon towards the target location and the required water depth for the dive.”
Preparations included practicing jumps into an air mattress from a balloon anchored to the ground and diving into water at the Flintkote quarry in Thetford Mines.
And while the stunt was months in the making, the actual dives were only three seconds long as Richard and Milord twisted through the air at speeds more than 70 kilometres per hour.
It’s an accomplishment Richard is proud of.
“Deciding to take on such a challenge takes a lifetime of experience in acrobatics as well as specific training and powerful mental visualization of the dive, ” Richard said in a press release. “I am extremely proud to have succeeded, along with Yves, in achieving this feat, which I have been dreaming about for several years.”
The dive was first scheduled for Aug. 16 but had to be pushed back due to unsafe wind conditions.
“It is really a unique feeling to experience this exhilaration after months of preparation,” Richard said.