Yasemin was born on May 2nd 1979, in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, 800 km away from the closest coastline. Which makes her passion for the ocean depths all the more remarkable! By age 4, she had discovered the sea and received her first dive mask and fins from her parents, and by 5, she had joined the local swim team, which came as an attempt to improve her health, as she was very frequently sick.
Sports not only strengthened her, but also gave her the focus, commitment and dedication that would prove crucial to reach the amazing goals she was headed for. By age 14, she had become the youngest member of the Turkish Monofin National team, and at 16, she was widely accepted as the best Turkish freediver ever. In 1996, a milestone of a different nature took place, when she was accepted to the Mathematics department of the prestigious Middle East Technical University. In 1998, she participated in the First Freediving World Cup in Italy, where she easily won the women’s division and grabbed the international arena by storm. One of many impressed spectators was renowned international trainer Rudi Castineyra, coach to several world champions, and whose advice Yasemin sought after the World Cup. Intrigued by her, Rudi prescribed Yasemin terribly difficult training programs, aimed at cracking the aspiring star. But her results were so amazing, that he convinced her to attempt the world record instead! The rest is history as they say. Six months later, Yasemin set her first world record, becoming the youngest freediving record holder ever and Turkey’s first female world champion. With Rudi as her trainer, Yasemin went on to set an additional 7 world records by 2002, and in 2003, the two got married.
Yasemin’s diving career seemed unstoppable, but stop she would, the obstacle coming in the form of a rare pancreas tumor which threatened her life and required immediate surgery. Yasemin retired from freediving to recover, and during that time, she concentrated on other endeavors, becoming a sought after music composer, multimedia designer, motivational and corporate speaker and restaurant owner. But her proudest achievement is to have become an activist, helping raise awareness and funds for cancer research, the WWF, and other causes. But after accomplishing so much away from diving, Yasemin still longed to rekindle her love affair with the ocean’s depths. To make her wish come true, in early 2009, the Turkish Government approached Yasemin with the idea of doing a record to promote Turkey around the world. Needless to say, she accepted and started training while talking to several sponsors, with the goal of using her come back performance to also raise awareness for the newly formed Yasemin Dalkilic Foundation, to help in the fight against cancer through a healthy lifestyle. The world record attempt is scheduled for December 2009.