Introducing: Sheena McNally, Freediver

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Hello! I’m Sheena. Nice to meet you. I’m a freediver and continental record holder from Canada, but my freediving home base is the Caribbean Sea. I love diving deep, helping others learn how to enjoy their time underwater…and coffee!

Sheena McNally
Photo Credit: Matthieu Duvault

Although she hails from a part of Canada over 1,000 km from the ocean, Sheena has always loved being in the water. Growing up, she spent summers on the lake and winters in the pool, becoming certified in lifesaving, rescue, and swimming instruction. As an adult, Sheena dabbled in many activities, including martial arts, circus, and running, but none of them stuck. She eventually took up scuba diving and fell in love with the sea, which led her to leave the chilly prairies and a career in design and communications behind. Her search for sunny weather and good diving brought her to Utila, Honduras, where she enrolled in a beginner freediving course—and got completely hooked!

In 2015, I quit my job to travel for six months. Long story short, I discovered freediving, and I’m still going! Since then, I’ve lived in five countries, become an instructor, safety dived at the World Championships in Roatan, and dived down and back up a loooong line myself to set national and continental records in Free Immersion and Constant Weight with a monofin, and a national record in Constant Weight with bi-fins.

Sheena McNally
Photo Credit: Alex St-Jean

Now I’m splitting my time between contract work and depth training so that I can keep going with this amazing sport. It’s hard work and more than a bit scary not knowing what comes next, but I’m up for the challenge.

A few years (and a couple of skipped flights) later, Sheena is an Apnea Total Master Instructor and AIDA Instructor who has helped hundreds of students of all levels discover their aquatic potential. Strong and tireless in the water, she has also served as a primary safety diver during the 2017 AIDA World Depth Championships.

The 2018 Caribbean Cup International Freediving Competition was Sheena’s first foray into competitive freediving. During the Cup, she broke the long-standing Canadian national record in Free Immersion—twice! With big smiles and a lot of laughter, Sheena became the Female Overall Winner of the Cup.

This experience motivated Sheena to continue competing. To date, she has set five national records and one continental record in Free Immersion (FIM), two continental records in Constant Weight with a monofin (CWT), and one national record in Constant Weight with bi-fins (CWTB).

While she loves the challenge of diving deep, Sheena believes that freediving is firstly about enjoying your time underwater, be it on the line, in the pool, or on the reef, and she strives to share this mindset—and plenty of smiles—with fellow divers.

When not in the Caribbean Sea, you can probably find Sheena in the kitchen, baking brownies and brewing coffee in her beloved AeroPress.

For me, freediving is about finding joy, be it on the line, in the pool or on the reef, and I believe it’s possible to keep that joy while pushing your limits.

Learn more at: https://sheenamcnally.com/

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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