Send Sheena to Vertical Blue 2022

Hello! My name is Sheena, and I'm a competitive freediver and freediving instructor from Canada. I'm seeking funding for the international freediving competition, Vertical Blue 2022. I've just received a message from them stating that I need to pay my entry fee by January 9, or lose my place. I don't want to lose my place in the most prestigious freediving competition in the world - I want to go, dive and represent Canada well, learn, laugh, and share!
After a couple of pandemic years with almost no work, I owe a LOT more money than I have (and do not have the money for the $1,000 USD entry fee), so if you'd like to help, I would love to offer you (the people) something in return: I'll do a dive of YOUR CHOICE at the competition (details to follow, if I can pay my fee)!
All donations will go to cover the $1,000 USD (approx. $1,350 CAD) entry fee.
Read on for a bit about me and why I want to go...

How it started
In 2015, I left a successful career in design and communications to go traveling, and early on this trip, I discovered freediving. Long story short, I skipped my flight home because I couldn't imagine going back to being landlocked and to my old life. With no plan and dwindling resources, I became an instructor - something I soon discovered that I LOVED doing. Going deeper was something I worked on only during rare days off, as a sort of fun puzzle.

Why compete?
In 2018, I made a dive to 75m in Honduras...and wondered if I could repeat it in a competition to make it official - it would be a Canadian national record, if so! I took the ferry to the neighboring island, and started to "train" for an upcoming competition. I had no idea what I was doing, and was totally intimidated by the other divers, but I soon discovered an amazing camaraderie within the small competitive freediving community, which motivated me to continue. I made the dive, and was hooked - I wanted more.
After that, I bounced place to place, looking for gigs to fund my next trainings and competitions. From Panama, to Honduras, to Dominica, to Bali, I met many crazy and cool folks, laughed, cried, and dived my heart out. In training, I dived to 101m, which is a depth not so many women have achieved! In competition I've gone further than I ever imagined: I've made multiple national and continental records across a few disciplines, and I know I can do much more - I'm limited mostly by time and resources these days!


Why Vertical Blue?
Vertical Blue (VB) is the "Wimbledon of Freediving." It's an invite-only competition that (with few exceptions), you need to qualify to attend. This is the second time that I've qualified based on my performances, and would be the second time that I attend. This competition is a chance to perform on the world stage in live-streamed media (one of the few, in this evolving sport) alongside the best of the best. It's huge for experience and exposure, but the nature of the competition site (Dean's Blue Hole in Long Island, Bahamas) also provides an ideal stomping grounds to increase one's personal bests.

I want to attend for all those reasons, and more. My experience at VB in 2021 was very difficult. Although I made a few amazing performances and captured medals, I struggled with physical illness, depression, overtraining, and personal issues. I didn't achieve all of the goals that I set for myself, and while I made safe choices given the situation and avoided bad consequences, I left with unfinished business. A large part of me wants to turn my back on Dean's Blue Hole and write off the experience. A larger part of me wants to go back and re-write things. 

I know I can do better, and I don't want to let it haunt me. I want to go back and own it.


In return?
Obviously my eternal gratitude, but also...I want to offer my supporters one of my six dives. I will solicit ideas on what kind of unique and/or ludicrous dive I can perform for them, and then take a vote. And I'll do it. On livestream. Muhuhaha. 

Thanks for your consideration!
Photos: Howard Holtzman and Daan Verhoeven
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Sheena McNally 
Beaumont, AB
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