Miloš Sretenović is 29 years old and he currently lives in Belgrade. He has been a recreational swimmer for 5 years, and he heard about the Mostar bridge diving last year during his visit, when he witnessed the most important event of the spring-to-fall diving season – the traditional late July dives.
“I was fascinated by the mass of people that came to witness this championship of sorts. There was a lot of positive energy in the air, and just imagine the atmosphere when the divers started their performances. I couldn’t resist. I had to express my excitement, even if was only cheering.” But Miloš did not stop at cheering. “I’m planning to apply for the dives this year, so I’m preparing intensively. I shifted my vacations to fit this event, so I’ll come to visit my friends in Mostar a bit earlier in order to get adjusted to the cold water of the Neretva and train with the local divers. It all looks so nice when you observe from the side, but when you really step onto the bridge and look down you can’t but feel admiration toward the people that really do dive.”
In the short phone conversation Miloš also told us his impressions of Mostar: “It’s a continental town with a Mediterranean soul and an oriental feeling, no more than an hour’s drive from the sea coast, and I think that this mixture of influences was crucial in forming the locals into people open to everything new, even a sport such as bridge diving.”
In 2008 the town held its 442nd traditional dives, attracting around 10.000 visitors. Despite the global crisis, many visitors are expected this year as well, or at least that’s the feeling around town. Like the past three times, last year’s winner was Lorens Listo, a favourite of local audience. Other distinguished divers include Haris Džemat, the legendary Emir Balić in the jury and the young Arman Puzić, whose time is yet to come.
In recent years people have been practicing the very attractive night diving with torches, performed by experienced divers during the show diving or during the party at the foot of the old bridge.
All those that want to see the 443rd dives should know that the manifestation always takes part in late July (last weekend), so they should bring hats and protect themselves from the sun, which is relentless in this region at that time of the year. Last year the tickets were at 5 Convertible Marks (BAM) or around 2.5 Euros, so it’s not too high a fee for a minimum of two hours of quality entertainment and adrenaline. Those who want more than the dives will surely find something more for themselves in Mostar. Visitors can choose from among numerous concerts, parties, exhibitions, performances and the many restaurants and cafes of this friendly town. But you better watch out, because you can get the adrenaline fever, one much more contagious than any other disease. As our Miloš says, “Once you see those people diving so elegantly and with such courage from that height, you will want to try it yourself at least once.”