We would like to introduce our today’s guest Amber Bourke, ex-World Champion, and multi-time Australian National record holder!
Amber, thank you for finding time to reply some of our questions.
1. Amber, I know that you were a professional synchronized swimmer and even represent Australia at FINA World Championship in 2007. How you ended up in Freediving?
I actually injured my hip which kind or ended my synchro days. I tried out for the 2008 Olympics but missed out on a spot on the team and after that decided that it was time to move on.
2. You achieved a lot both in swimming and now in Freediving. Can you compare training approach in both sports?
Training is actually very similar. I definitely trained much longer hours as a synchronized swimmer but with freediving I believe it’s more about quality over quantity.
3. Our huge congratulations on your great performance this year in CNF. Are you concentrating mainly on this discipline in your depth training?
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for CNF. I’m not sure why because breaststroke has always been my worst stroke. I think at the moment though I’m mostly focusing on it because my equalization is terrible and I haven’t been able to equalize deep enough to do decent CWT or FIM dives.
4. In 2015 you did 48 meters, 2016 – 58, 2017 – 68 (which is the new National Record!!!). Looks like you like number “8”. So, what to expect from you in 2018? 78 meters?
I actually didn’t realize that until you pointed it out. I really have to work on being less predictable! I think a lot of us freedivers subconsciously steer towards certain numbers. I don’t think of myself as a superstitious person but maybe I am! The number 8 just sounds so much better than 7 or 9…
5. What is a typical daily training routine for you? What kind of short/long term goals do you have now?
Up until this year, I’ve been working full time around training so I usually train in the pool 3-4 times after work during the week and then try to squeeze maybe some gym or yoga in during the week too. Then it is a matter of arriving at a destination with enough time before the competition to let your body adapt to the pressure and work on equalization. This year I took a gap year from work to travel and focus on freediving so that makes things a lot easier.
6. You also doing very well in a pool disciplines, actually you are 2017 Pool National Female Champion! So, what do you like to train more, pool or depth?
If it’s a choice between being in the ocean or being in a swimming pool every day I will always choose the ocean. However, I do enjoy training in the pool and sometimes it’s just more practical. In Brisbane where I live we don’t have easy access to depth like a lot of freedivers.
7. I saw a video on the YouTube (I think it is 2014), where you do DNF with no packing. Are you changed your approach since then or you still don’t pack?
I still don’t pack. Maybe one day I will but I always wanted to see how far I could get without packing and show new freedivers that there is a lot more you can learn to improve your freediving before you start packing.
8. Last year we all saw your amazing photo session with Ben Von Wong. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
The Von Wong shoot was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve had in freediving. We were in these underwater caverns with sharks and I was wearing this crazy dress that was almost impossible to swim in. On top that the water wasn’t that warm and I was relying on a scuba diver for air. It was not easy but I’ve always enjoyed a challenge. I’d really like to participate in more of these projects in the future.
9. Freediving becoming more popular nowadays. What is your opinion about freediving development in the future?
I hope it becomes as popular if not more popular than scuba diving. The more people who freedive the easier it will be to find people to freedive with! I also hope that as freediving becomes more popular people will become more aware of the risks involved with holding your breath underwater and what to do in case of a hypoxic or shallow water blackout.
10. And at the end, what advice can you give to someone who just finished their first freediving course?
Find people to train with. The main reason I’ve stayed in the sport for so long is that I have a great group of people back home that I train with and that keeps me looking forward to training each week.