Nina is 51 years of age, Dublin born, but spent her teenage years on the harbour in Balbriggan swimming lengths and playing on the abandoned wrecks there, developing her passion for the sea from an early age.

During the course of her life Nina achieved a masters degree in fine art, became a PADI Divemaster, a movie Art Director, played bass guitar in rock bands, became a yogi, DJ'd at dance parties, and even performed on stage appearing with friends on Britain's Got Talent. But she never quite shook off a kind of sadness that had led her to take all kinds of antidepressants over the years.

In her 40s she gave up cigarettes and alcohol, refined her diet and with that, her depression and anxiety began to melt away.  Her art practice strengthened. and her work was covered by the New York Times, Wired Magazine and extensively in the Irish and international media. Despite this success Nina was becoming more and more isolated and sadness and darkness enveloped her again.

In the autumn of 2020 she sought help. On the advice of a friend she began hormone replacement therapy in December 2020. She booked a 3 week trip to Egypt and added a few days in a town called Dahab, where most activity revolved around the sport of Freediving... Overtaken with curiosity, she decided to do a 5-day beginners course. The freedom Nina found underwater on those short moments during that course stayed with her all through 2020.

During the Europe wide Covid Lockdown in 2021 Nina discovered that one of the only cohorts allowed to travel were 'International Competing Athletes'. Her mission became clear, she signed up for the Freediving World Cup in Sharm el Sheikh in May, got a coach and  trained hard. But the sea had other plans and she sffered a burst eardrum. She began practicing the athletic discipline of 'No-Fins' which relies entirely on the athlete's body moving by its own momentum through the water, without the use of any fins.  As it turned out, Nina's no-fins technique was very strong!

Nina found herself back in Ireland and missing the water. Her coach called one day and suggested that she could, at age 50, aim to set a new world record in the Masters Womens division at the CMAS World Championships. Nina thought it was the most outrageous proposal she'd ever heard. A WORLD RECORD.

It was Nina's first major international competition, The World Championships, organised by the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS), the World Underwater Federation founded in 1959 by Jacques Cousteau.  She set a new World Record in her age category and won a gold medal for Ireland.

She is aiming for 4 new World Records in Fresh Water Freediving in 2024.

Nina McGowan

Professional Freediver, Artist and Climate Change Activist

Nina took home Gold for Ireland and a world record at the Freediving World Championships in 2022. Reaching new heights, and depths, in 2022, freediver Nina made national headlines for her record-breaking achievements by diving to 43m in two minutes and 10 seconds. Making this remarkable feat even more impressive is the fact that she only took up the sport in 2019.
 


Nina is 51 years of age, Dublin born, but spent her teenage years on the harbour in Balbriggan swimming lengths and playing on the abandoned wrecks there, developing her passion for the sea from an early age.

During the course of her life Nina achieved a masters degree in fine art, became a PADI Divemaster, a movie Art Director, played bass guitar in rock bands, became a yogi, DJ'd at dance parties, and even performed on stage appearing with friends on Britain's Got Talent. But she never quite shook off a kind of sadness that had led her to take all kinds of antidepressants over the years.

In her 40s she gave up cigarettes and alcohol, refined her diet and with that, her depression and anxiety began to melt away.  Her art practice strengthened. and her work was covered by the New York Times, Wired Magazine and extensively in the Irish and international media. Despite this success Nina was becoming more and more isolated and sadness and darkness enveloped her again.

In the autumn of 2020 she sought help. On the advice of a friend she began hormone replacement therapy in December 2020. She booked a 3 week trip to Egypt and added a few days in a town called Dahab, where most activity revolved around the sport of Freediving... Overtaken with curiosity, she decided to do a 5-day beginners course. The freedom Nina found underwater on those short moments during that course stayed with her all through 2020.

During the Europe wide Covid Lockdown in 2021 Nina discovered that one of the only cohorts allowed to travel were 'International Competing Athletes'. Her mission became clear, she signed up for the Freediving World Cup in Sharm el Sheikh in May, got a coach and  trained hard. But the sea had other plans and she sffered a burst eardrum. She began practicing the athletic discipline of 'No-Fins' which relies entirely on the athlete's body moving by its own momentum through the water, without the use of any fins.  As it turned out, Nina's no-fins technique was very strong!

Nina found herself back in Ireland and missing the water. Her coach called one day and suggested that she could, at age 50, aim to set a new world record in the Masters Womens division at the CMAS World Championships. Nina thought it was the most outrageous proposal she'd ever heard. A WORLD RECORD.

It was Nina's first major international competition, The World Championships, organised by the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS), the World Underwater Federation founded in 1959 by Jacques Cousteau.  She set a new World Record in her age category and won a gold medal for Ireland.

She is aiming for 4 new World Records in Fresh Water Freediving in 2024.

Topics and Themes:

  • The body as an instrument
  • Following your passions
  • Benefits of eating well, sleeping well and clearing your mind to focus on your breath to ground you in the here and now.
  • The female hormone journey, menopause and seeking out the right support.
  • Don’t fear the unknown. If you take the step, the bridge will appear.
  • Directing breath, using meditation and yoga as stress relieving techniques.
  • Nina combines her climate activist, artist and athlete roles to make work to help change public behaviour towards global warming.
     

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