Sullivan County

World record dive attempt underway in South Holston Lake

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - A local man is calling the depths of a lake home for the next five days, hoping to set a world record; and it's not the first time he's done this.

News 5 was there on South Holston Lake as his quest to make history began again.

With a prayer led by his father and a kiss given by his girlfriend, Gate City native Jerry Hall prepared for another daring adventure to set a world record in East Tennessee. "I'm itchin' to go!" laughed Hall.

The 49-year-old plans to spend at least the next 120 hours and 15 minutes underneath South Holston Lake to break the current world record of 120 hours and 14 minutes -- that's about five whole days.

Our crews were there in 2004 when Hall broke the world diving record on Watauga Lake for a second time. "Last time I came out I got a little bit nervous, but after that I was done [being nervous]," Hall told News 5.

In 2011, a Florida man stripped Hall of his world title. "We're going to bring it back to Tennessee. Hopefully, we'll put a good enough distance on it that it stays in Tennessee," said Hall.

Now he's in for the longest underwater haul of his life. "The hardest part is the first 24 hours. Once you get past that 24 hours, then you're in motion," Hall said.

Hall told he will have plenty to do. He has an entertainment system set up where he can listen to music underwater.

A special device even allows him to watch television.

Hall also plans on getting many visitors beneath the water's surface. "We'll just start watching TV, playing around, just having a big time. Everybody [will] try to have fun [and] cut up the whole time," said Hall.

We learned Hall will have an underwater support team to make sure he's healthy and safe at all times.

Jim Bean, the team's dive captain, said they will watch his mental and physical condition.

We're told even though Hall trained extensively and gained 15 pounds for this dive, he could likely lose 30 pounds by the time he resurfaces.

Bean said no matter how far away from the world record, they won't hesitate to keep Hall safe. "If we go down this afternoon, and two hours later something isn't right, we're done," said Bean.

That security is reassuring to family and loved ones like Hall's girlfriend, Tina Fuller. "He's excited, so I'm excited, and I just can't wait for it to be overwith though," Fuller laughed.

With a cheerful goodbye, the journey began, and the numbers on the timer climb toward history.

Hall said he's not just doing this dive to break a world record; he's also raising money for Speedway Children's Charities.

If you want to keep track of his progress, you can check out his website, just click on the link below.

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