Content warning: This article contains references to eating disorders, depression, addiction and suicide.

You’ll always catch Amber Fillary (South Africa) where the water flows.

Amber, who is a motivational speaker, professional swimmer and artist, has broken her previous record for the longest swim under ice - breath held (no fins, no diving suit) female, two years after achieving it for the first time.

She achieved the new title by swimming for 90 metres (295 ft 3 in) in Kongsberg, Viken, Norway, on 5 March 2022.

Amber Fillary in the ice

In 2020, she had successfully attempted the record for the first time in Oppsjø, Norway, smashing it with a distance of 70 m metres (229.659 ft).

Amber also holds the record for the longest underwater walk with one breath (female), achieved with 109.60 m (359 ft 6 in) in Dahab, South Sinai, Egypt.

To prepare for this specific record, Amber went through breath-hold training at her local swimming pool, worked out in the gym and did a little running.

She then relocated to Berlin for five days, so her body could gradually get used to the cold. 

Amber Fillary swimming with snow

Next Amber moved to Norway, where she started practising by swimming in the same lake where she would later break the record. 

Although intense, this training allowed her to feel comfortable in the environment, slowly adjusting to the temperature of the water and to the equipment that would be used during the attempt.

Despite the challenges, Amber later said that she enjoyed the training – even the most challenging parts!

She never gave up, and managed to better her previous record by 20 metres.

Given the physical and psychological challenges, Amber confessed to being very nervous during the day of the attempt. 

However, all went according to plan and resulted in a success. Therefore, after proving once again that she has talent and fortitude in spades, Amber enjoyed some well-earned time in the sauna to defrost and celebrate her newly conquered title. 

Amber’s passion is water, and she expresses her love of it through sports and art. 

“Water calms me amidst my life struggles,” she says on her website.

Amber Fillary Swimming

Her continuous successes, now crowned by yet another Guinness World Records title, however, go hand-in-hand with a lifelong battle against addictions and depression. 

Amber's story is a strong reminder that pursuing your vocation can be a motivator to overcome difficulties.

"Free-diving gave me a goal to look forward to and a reason for living every day!" - Amber Fillary

She never let life get in the way of her dreams, and continuously pushed through to achieve her goals despite difficulties.

"Since the age of fifteen, I’ve battled with anorexia, bulimia and depression," she shares on her website.

 "In my early twenties, spent mostly in rehab, I started to drink, overdose on medication and tried to commit suicide on several occasions."

She lost her late husband, Leonard, due to excessive drinking and later kidney failure.

Amber has now been sober for over 13 years.

Old demons are, however, difficult to fight off.  

Through the pandemic, she went through hard times and had to face new and old challenges. 

Water, once again, helped her regain her balance.

Amber battled against relapse and fear by focusing on her next goal: beating yet another world record to become a positive inspiration for others. 

Amber Fillary post attempt

She also works as an artist to create custom commissions to share and, through this medium, she expresses her adoration for water: an element that has become a fundamental part of her life.

We can't wait to see what breath-taking (quite literally) records Amber will tackle next.