Diana Nyad makes the swim from Cuba to Key West, breaks all kinds of records


Diana Nyad broke world records this weekend when she swam 102 miles from Cuba to Key West without stopping. When it was finished, she had  swam 52 hours and 54 minutes through the Devil’s Triangle without any protective gear or shark cages. The out swimmer emerged from the ocean and spoke to the press and her cheering supporters, saying she had three things she wanted to tell everyone:

“One is, we should never ever give up. Two is, you’re never too old to chase your dreams. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team.”

It was likely these things were going through her head, keeping her going strong on her fifth attempt to make the swim. The 64-year-old athlete had not accomplished on other tries because of injuries and dangers caused by jellyfish and sunburns. Today when she spoke she slurred through swollen lips, her tongue heavy, face dry and body barely able to hold itself up as she leaned on friends for support.

Diana Nyad swims from Cuba to Florida

Diana has been competitive in swimming since she was a youngster, not able to compete in the Olympics as she suffered a heart infection in her youth. Eventually she built up her strength and endurance again and broke records beginning in the 1970s for swimming the 28 mile radius around Manhattan. In 1978, she made her first attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida in a shark cage, but was thwarted by strong winds.

American Swimmer Diana Nyad Tries to Cross the Florida Strait

Throughout her entire career, Diana has been an out lesbian. Besides her competitive swimming, she’s known as a journalist, a motivational speaker and a health and fitness guru who aims to show women over 40 they can (and should) remain active. While she was hailed as being an inspiration before, she certainly has solidified her status after her heroic completion of the swim, her dream for more than 40 years.

Diana Nyad to Try Once Again to Swim From Cuba to Florida

A documentary about Diana’s journey, called The Other Shore, will be on Video on Demand Sept. 26. The great news is you already know it has a happy ending.

If you’re dying for more Diana, let me direct you to photographer Catherine Opie’s work with and of the swimmer (the two are friends), as well as Diana’s TED talk from 2012. She’s also fun to follow on Twitter.

Congratulations Diana! We knew you could do it!

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