Drowning means dying from asphyxiation brought on from water in the lungs. So I am not sure why you chose to use the phrase "nothing more"--waterboarding is nothing more than a simulation of killing someone. IDK. It just sound like a weird place for the phrase, imho. ymmv.
In the US anyway, the definition of torture includes psychological torture.
Daniel Pearl would have preferred to come home unharmed to his wife and unborn child over being water boarded. He also may have preferred chocolate ice cream to vanilla ice cream.
Is there a point in your post somewhere? Just curious.