Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Diana Nyad Succeeds - Cuba to Florida Swim

The fifth time's a charm for Diana Nyad

At 64 years old, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage. It was her fifth attempt.

Her first attempt was in 1978.

From CNN:

On Monday, Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage, willing her way to a Key West beach just before 2 p.m. ET, nearly 53 hours after jumping into the ocean in Havana for her fifth try in 35 years.

Shortly after conquering the Straits of Florida, the 64-year-old endurance swimmer sat down with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

"It's all authentic. It's a great story. You have a dream 35 years ago -- doesn't come to fruition, but you move on with life. But it's somewhere back there. Then you turn 60, and your mom just dies, and you're looking for something. And the dream comes waking out of your imagination," Nyad said.

The swim wasn't easy.

"With all the experience I have, especially in this ocean, I never knew I would suffer the way I did," she said. "For 49 hours the wind just blew like heck, and it was rough."

At one point, she was vomiting because she had so much salt water in her system and was shivering. She sang lullabies to help her relax.

"It was really rough that first day, Saturday, after the start and I just said: 'Forget about the surface up. Get your hands in somehow, and with your left hand, say, push Cuba back, and push Florida towards you,'" Nyad said.

Through it all, she held her mantra close: "You don't like it. It's not doing well. Find a way."

..."I got three messages," an exhausted and happy Nyad told reporters. Her face was sunburned and swollen.

"One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it's a team," she said.

...Nyad, who was 29 when she first tried the swim, said last week that she wanted to show that "you can dream at any age."
The swim would be an incredible accomplishment for a 29-year-old. For a 64-year-old, it's absolutely amazing.

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