We sat down for a quick chat with Professional Freediver & BOLDR Ambassador Lim Anqi to learn about her passions, inspirations, and her love of the ocean. Anqi represented Singapore in the CMAS World Championships in Honduras where she made 4 new national records and is the currently holds the deepest dive of 70m with bifins, but acclamations aside she truly enjoys taking a casual dive whenever she pleases and being immersed in the silent deep blue.
Q: Can you please share a little bit about yourself?
I’m a Singaporean and I’ve been based here almost all my life. I studied in NTU, and I graduated with a degree in accountancy. I then worked in a bank for about 5 years and decided to take a break.
During this time, I started scuba diving a lot and within those 6 years, I travelled all around the world scuba diving and that was also how I started freediving. My goal then was just to travel, and to dive in all the different oceans in the world.
I have now focused more on freediving which is diving without the (air) tanks, I’ve been competing in freediving and I realized it is something that makes me learn a lot about myself, about pushing my limits and understanding myself better. I also enjoy most outdoor activities, involving nature like running, yoga and anything in the sun which allows my body to be moving.
Q: Congratulations on your recent 3rd place finish (No Fins) at the Caribbean Cup freediving competition, how do you feel about it?
The Caribbean Cup was the pre-competition to the Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques (CMAS) 2019 World Freediving Championships, and in the no fins category, which I placed 3rd, I made 47m which was a new national record.
It was an amazing experience to be able to share the podium with the world record holder Alessia (Zecchini, Italy) and with Jessea Lu from china who finished second. They are incredible athletes whom I look up to so much!
It was a great experience for me as it was the 1st time I was able to be in a place where all the world-class freedivers were competing in and there was so much to learn from all of them.
The feeling was euphoric for me to be able to win a medal because for every competition I go to, the focus has always been about doing my best and trying to improve on the depth I have done previously.
It has never been much about beating the competition, so it came as a big surprise that I was able to get a medal. This win is very motivating, and it is a nice reward for all my efforts which I’ve put into diving.
Q: I’ve heard you’ve dived with a school of sardines, can you share a little about how that was like?
Competing in freediving is about going down with the line and pushing the limits and see how deep I can go. But the real joy for me in freediving is like swimming with the school of sardines, being able to enjoy the marine life in an eco-friendliest way. Being part of the oceans, which covers 70% of our world, to be able to get close to nature and immerse myself in the oceans, being part of that is the real joy for me. So that is what I really enjoy, swimming around with different types of marine life, turtles, sardines even sharks. The oceanic world feels like where I should belong, so that’s my true love and passion for freediving, being able to experience all that.
Q: I’ve read that freediving gets you into ‘zen’ mode, can you share about that, and also how would you apply it to everyday life?
Freediving is a kind of meditation, because when you hold your breath and plunge deep into the ocean, and when your body feels like it out of air, you will have to deal with the uncomfortable sensation and remain relaxed and calm and know that after you turn around, you are able to reach the surface and trust that your body will be able to do that for you.
Rather than think about how deep you are going to go or whether you can reach the surface. You must keep your mind and body very relax and very present in the moment.
I think this can be applied in life because we are always busy thinking about what we are going to do an hour from now, in the future or reminiscing about the past.
We are not focused on just enjoying the very present moment, we are more concerned about looking forward to the future or having a fear or regret about the past, but what we should really do is to enjoy every moment of our life and I believe that all of us struggle with that.
Freediving helps me to do just that, it is during that time where I don’t need to be distracted by phone calls or people talking, just the silence of the ocean alongside my mind and my body. So, to me, freediving is the purest form of meditation.
Q: What’s your best and worst experiences/memories you have about freediving?
The best memories I have is probably swimming with marine life. In my most recent trip to Mexico, I was swimming in the sea of Cortez, which is known as the world aquarium and I got to play with sea lions which were an incredible experience for me.
They felt like the real mermaids and I felt like I was a part of them, they were playing with me. I think these moments are usually the best moments for me, in freediving.
The worst moment for me was when I had my one and only blackout, during the training for the world championship. I tried a no fins dive to 51m and I blacked out for the first time. For me that is a learning experience, it is significant to me because it was my one and only blackout and I got to understand why that happened and how I can try to prevent it.
Q: What are your goals in this sport?
The goal for this sports and most freedivers would be for freediving to be featured in the Olympics because that will give great credibility and boost to the sport internationally and which will intern help the sport locally. For me personally would be to achieve a top 10 world ranking, and someday to reach 100m deep!
Q: BOLDR ideals are: Being Confidence, toughness, having perseverance in whatever you do, and ready for adventure. Can you share how free diving has cultivated these values in you?
Freediving for me is a huge adventure. An adventure not only in terms of plunging into the depths of the unknown and an adventure of discovering yourself.
It is also about asking yourself what your limits are and how you can have the courage to overcome them and to go further every time, it is also to have the motivation to do more and, to know that you are able to do it.
Q: Can you give our BOLDR fans some advice on pursuing their adventures?
I think everyone should dare to live their dreams and not be disheartened when things do not go smoothly. Dreams are meant to be pursued and when you live your dream, enjoy it.
Q: How can people reach out to you to understand more, or even learn freediving?
You can find me on social media Instagram, @anqiunderwater, will be the best way