PHOTO: Ron Baers
Talk about not giving up on a dream.
When Diana Nyad was in her late-20s, she attempted to swim 103 miles from Florida to Cuba. Already a record-holding swimmer, Nyad spent more than 41 hours in the water but had to stop after about 76 miles – due to a combination of unpleasant circumstances, including high winds and jellyfish stings. That was 1978.
This month, she plans to try it again. Nyad, a radio reporter who used to host The Savvy Traveler before National Public Radio dropped the show, is 61 years old. She only started swimming laps again last year – after 31 years out of the water.
Nyad has an impressive track record to float on, though. In 1975, she set a record for swimming around the island of Manhattan in just under eight hours. And in 1979, she spent 30 hours swimming 102.5 miles from the Bahamas to Florida, breaking another record.
Besides large waves, the harsh chafing of salt water and jellyfish, the passage between Florida and Cuba is full of sharks. But Nyad plans to swim without protection from a shark cage.
On her profile page at the Southern California radio station KCRW, Nyad explains her motivation for the swim:
PHOTO: Julie Milligan
Nyad is currently in Florida, putting in training days of up to 12 hours in the water. Her official attempt to swim over to Cuba will begin if and when all conditions are just right. Updates will likely be available through Facebook, Twitter and Diana’s website