The height of astonishment: Diana Nyad's triumphant journey

Diana Nyad is a remarkable woman who has achieved incredible feats of endurance and courage in her long-distance swimming career. She is also an author, journalist, motivational speaker, and inspiration to many people around the world.

One of her most amazing accomplishments was swimming from Cuba to Key West, Florida, in 2013, at the age of 64. She became the first person to complete this swim without the protection of a shark cage, a feat that had eluded her four previous attempts. She swam for 52 hours and 54 minutes, covering a distance of 110 miles (177 km), in treacherous waters infested with sharks, jellyfish, and strong currents. She wore a protective suit and mask to prevent jellyfish stings, and used electronic devices to repel sharks. She also had a team of divers, kayakers, navigators, doctors, and supporters who accompanied her along the way.

Nyad's swim from Cuba to Florida was not only a physical challenge, but also a symbolic one. She wanted to show that it was possible to overcome the political and cultural barriers that separated the two countries for decades. She also wanted to prove that age is not a limit for pursuing one's dreams. She said after completing the swim: "I have three messages. One is we should never ever give up. Two is you are never too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport but it's a team."

Nyad's passion for swimming started when she was a teenager in Florida, where she trained under Olympic coach Jack Nelson. She won several state championships and dreamed of competing in the Olympics, but her plans were derailed by a heart infection that kept her out of the pool for three months. She later attended Emory University, but was expelled for parachuting from a dorm window. She then transferred to Lake Forest College, where she resumed swimming and set several national records.

Nyad's first major achievement was swimming around Manhattan Island in 1975, in a record time of 7 hours and 57 minutes. She repeated this feat two more times, in 1978 and 1979. In 1979, she also swam from North Bimini Island in the Bahamas to Juno Beach in Florida, setting a world record for the longest ocean swim of 102 miles (164 km). She retired from competitive swimming after that, but continued to work as a sports journalist and broadcaster for ABC, NPR, CBS, and other outlets.

Nyad came out of retirement in 2010, when she decided to attempt the Cuba-Florida swim again, after failing to do so in 1978 due to strong winds and currents. She made four more attempts between 2010 and 2012, but each time she faced obstacles such as jellyfish stings, asthma attacks, dehydration, hypothermia, and storms. She finally succeeded on her fifth try in 2013, making history and fulfilling her lifelong dream.

Nyad's story of perseverance and courage is the subject of a Netflix film called Nyad, which was released in 2023. The film stars Annette Bening as Nyad and Jodie Foster as her longtime friend and trainer Bonnie Stoll. The film chronicles Nyad's journey from her childhood to her final swim, highlighting the challenges and triumphs she faced along the way. The film has received critical acclaim and has been nominated for several awards.

Nyad is also an author of several books, including Find a Way (2015), which recounts her Cuba-Florida swim; The Other Shore (2011), which details her first four attempts; and Diana Nyad: Basic Training for Life (1981), which offers advice on fitness and motivation. She is also a co-founder of EverWalk , a movement that encourages people to walk for health and wellness. She has walked across America twice with Stoll and thousands of participants.

Nyad is a living legend who has shown us what it means to never give up on our dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. She has also shown us how to live with passion, purpose, and joy. She is an example of what human beings can achieve with determination, grit, and teamwork.


Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published