Cape Town - COME what may, Amber Fillary will brave the icy waters of Norway to raise awareness for those suffering from depression.
Fillary, who grew up in Newlands, will attempt to break her own Guinness World Record for the longest under-ice swim with breath hold, no fins, no weight belt and no diving suit.
The attempt will take place in Norway in February.
For this to be verified as a Guinness World Record, Fillary will need to be at least under 34cm of ice in sub-zero conditions.
Fillary said her goal is to beat her previous record of 70 metres and push this to 100m.
“I’ve been training in Egypt but (will be based) in Germany to start acclimatising to cold water before heading to Norway. I plan to arrive two weeks early to get used to even colder water and have some training sessions,” she said.
She will attempt the record to raise awareness for depression as she has been battling with the mental health condition for a long time.
“It’s a challenge and, as with all athletes, we are always striving to be better. I’ve also struggled with depression for the longest time and I hope that through tackling these challenges I can inspire others who have been going through similar challenges to chase and achieve their goals.
“Mental health will play an important part in my attempt. You need to be in full control of your mind as you literally need to block out those urges to breathe and go up for air. Meditation and learning to ‘quiet the noise’ is a big part of training,” she said.
Last month she broke the record for the longest underwater walk in a swimming pool in Egypt. However, it still needs to be verified by Guinness World Records.
“As of now, it’s a world record. I have sent off all the evidence (video footage, times and signed affidavits) to be officially validated as a Guinness World Record, which should take around three weeks.
“I am really pleased to have achieved the record, especially as I was so nervous leading up to the attempt,” said Fillary.
She also has the South African women's record for breath hold of six minutes and the SA women’s record for a dynamic no fins dive of 135m.
“From a little girl I have always loved water and swam competitively throughout my school career. The water has always been the place where I've felt the most at peace and comfortable,” she added.
Her manager, Tyrone Rawlins, described Fillary as amphibious.
“I’m obviously very proud of what she has achieved and that, despite all her mental struggles over the course of the last 18 months, she stayed focused and achieved what she set out to do. I’m also completely confused by how she is able to stay underwater for so long. For me the ice swim is even more crazy as she will be in sub-zero water temperature in only a bikini,” he said.