Diana Nyad is sixty-two years old and says she is fitter than ever. She is trying again to swim from Cuba to Florida, and if successful will cover the 103 miles in about sixty hours. That’s two and half days worth of swimming. In August she attempted the same swim, only to quit after an asthma attack that lasted eleven hours, in addition to sustaining a shoulder injury. “I think at the age of 62 I honestly believe I’m in the best shape of my whole life, not just of the last two years,” said Nyad. (Source: WESH.com)
Finishing the entire length of the journey will depend upon on good weather and calm water. If she completes the challenge, she will win the record for longest ocean swim without a shark cage. The August attempt she said was not a complete failure, because it wound up becoming sort of a training run for her second effort. She also learned to take more breaks for food and drink. She will wear a device to keep sharks away, and be followed by a support team, which includes a medical professional. Part of her motivation is inspiring others, “Because I’d like to prove to the other 60-year-olds that it is never too late to start your dreams.” (Source: Wikipedia.org)
In 1979 Nyad swam from Bimini to Florida, establishing a long-distance record. Four years prior, she set the record for swimming around Manhattan. In her youth, what partly fueled endurance swimming was anger from sexual abuse. In high school she won three state championships, but then developed a heart infection and lost her speed. In college she started distance swimming.
Her first swim over ten miles was in Italy, where she set a women’s record for covering twenty-two miles. In 1978 she tried to swim from Cuba to Florida using a large shark cage but only made it 76 miles. She was forced to quit when larger waves slammed her into the cage.
In this video she reflects upon her August swim that ended due to the asthma attack.
Image Credit: diananyad.com