Christal ariana Clashing O'Reilly
Author of 'Yemoja's Anansi'
Christal is a pioneer in aquatic spaces in her home country of Antigua and Barbuda. Her mission: to foster positive relationships with aquatic spaces. She has a particular passion for engaging traditionally under-served cultural groups.
In 2004, at the age of 14, she became the first female swimmer to represent her country at the Olympic Games in Athens.
She later joined Team Antigua Island Girls to become the first all-black team and first all-female Caribbean team to row any ocean when they crossed the Atlantic in 2018/2019. In 2020, she joined the international adventure racing team, Team Onyx, whose mission is to change the face of adventure to include more diversity in outdoor sport and recreation.
Christal is an avid freediver that shares her joy of the water on social media and hopes to one day establish a national record in her country.
Being involved in swimming at an early age, she found a passion for sport and studied Sports Development at the University of Portsmouth in the UK under a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. She also secured a studentship at the same university to complete her Masters by Research in Science. She is now pursuing a PhD in Digital Aquatic Play at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
She has held certifications as an ASCA swim coach, an ACA stand-up paddle instructor and a PADI divemaster. She has honed her skills across the five countries she’s lived in - Antigua, The Bahamas, Australia, England and Costa Rica. As a former adventure guide and travel writer, she brings an international perspective to the engagement of outdoor and aquatic adventure sports.
Fostering a positive relationship with aquatic spaces.
I have a particular passion for engaging traditionally under-served cultural groups.
education & WOrk history
One Life To Live
From her participation at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, 2006, Antiguan Olympic swimmer, Christal Clashing, reflects on her history of depression and the impact it has had on her family and friends.
the ocean healed me...
Since my teens, I've struggled with an ongoing battle with depression.
Yet, it is my connection with the ocean be it through open water swimming, diving, rowing or paddling, that has encouraged me to go after my dreams despite the crippling nature of anxiety, shame and depression that plagued me for much of my life.
I’ve lived in five countries across the globe. Followed my passion across oceans. Thrown myself into unfamiliar situations and lived to tell the tale.
Passions I've followed across the oceans:
Engagement with Aquatic Environments
Why: Wherever there is a body of water there exists a fear of the unknown
What I do: Empower persons to find their own adventure by being comfortable in the water and respecting the aquatic environment
Favourite Experience: Teaching under-served primary school children how to swim
Diversity in the Outdoors
Why: There are more black people doing adventurous things than is portrayed in adventure media
What I do: Breaking the stereotypes that black people don't do adventurous and aquatic activities
Favourite Experience: Working as a SUP, Scuba, Kayak and Mountain Bike tour guide in Costa Rica
Breaking Mental Health Barriers
Why: Persons connect with mental health stories because it speaks to the internal struggles much of humanity has to deal with at some point in their life
What I do: Addressing the stigma of mental health by sharing my experiences of PMDD and depression
Favourite Experience: Creating a short documentary on the impact depression has had on me and my family
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Copyright 2017-2022. Images by Paul Calver.