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Diver still underwater after breaking record

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: Aug 01 2013 04:36:30 PM CDT
Meredith dive 10

He did it! Photo by Meredith Machen

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. -

He's on top of the world from 15 feet underwater -- Gate City native Jerry Hall broke the world record for the longest freshwater scuba dive right here in the Tri-Cities Thursday afternoon.

It's a story we've been following since Hall first took the plunge under South Holston Lake on Saturday, but now, after a cheerful countdown and 120 hours and 15 minues in the water, Jerry Hall has reclaimed a world title.

"I'm so happy right now, I can't stand it!" Hall told News 5 through an underwater microphone system.

For the third time in his life, this avid scuba diver holds the world record for the longest freshwater dive.

On deck, the morale couldn't be higher; especially from his proud parents. "I'm tickled for the work he's put in," said his father, Jerry Hall, Sr.

"I'm so proud of him. I'm proud of Jerry," his mother, Nancy Hall, said.

Hall's underwater team, which includes his own son, was with him for the crowning moment. "[We were] giving handshakes, fist pumps, everything like that. [It was] just a big celebration really," said Seth Hall, Jerry Hall's son.

His girlfriend Tina Fuller learned to scuba dive this week just for the occasion. "I appreciate what he's doing. Since I've got my certification I've seen it how hard it is and I don't know how's doing it," she said.

We got a chance to ask just that. "I've watched a bunch of TV and that's helped out so much in the passing of time," Jerry told us.

When asked about his physical and mental condition, he replied, "Oh, I'm great. Of the three times I have [done this], this is by far the easiest."

It's so easy, he's going for another 24 hours more. That means his support system will keep rooting and praying. "I just pray that when he comes up all is well. [I hope] he won't get any disease or whatever from it," Nancy Hall said.

It might be his team members who are the ones who wrap this historic dive up, according to team captain Jim Bean. "Six days, everybody agreed that was a good thing to set on. So we've got the ability to go more, but it's taxing mentally on the support teams, too," he told us.

In the meantime, what's a broken record unless it's smashed? So far the plan is for Hall to stay underneath the water until about 2:00 Friday afternoon. After that, he'll have to readjust to gravity and fresh air.

He told us one of the things he's looking forward to the most once he resurfaces -- a hot dog.