Sheena McNally

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freediving training secrets


Although Sheena McNally hails from a part of Canada over 1,000 km from the ocean, she 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, shedabbled 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!

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.

In this episode we discuss:

The Canadian ladies are getting deep!
Sheena is from Edmonton, Alberta in Canada.
Sheena has a background in martial arts.
Sheena discovered freediving while on Utila for scuba diving.
Initial sinus problems and a long road to master equalisation.
Equalisation is the best problem a freediver can have!
The best times in Sheena’s career so far.
A learning experience at the Caribbean Cup with a first samba and blackout.
Great experiences in Dominica.
The potential benefits of a structured training programme.
The true motivation for doing this sport.
Thoughts on nutrition.
Supplementary training for freediving.
Sheena’s discovery and development of BTV (hands-free) equalisation. LINK to blog by Shuyi about how she learned BTV.
Article on hands-free equalisation.
Has Sheena had any experiences with barotrauma?
Sheena’s recommended books are In Oceans Deep by Bill Streever and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
Shout-outs to important people.
Why does Sheena freedive?

Sheena’s Links:



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