Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | September 6, 2013

Diana Nyad’s Epic Swim

After four previous attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida, endurance swimmer Diana Nyad finally fulfilled her dream. On Monday of this week, she became the first swimmer to make the trek from Havana to Key West. And, she swam the 110 miles across the treacherous waters of the Florida Strait without the protection of a shark cage. What makes Nyad’s feat even more amazing is that she is 64 years-old.

long distance swimmer Diana Nyad
Fifty-two hours and fifty-four minutes after she jumped from the seawall of the Hemingway Marina into the waters off Havana, Nyad arrived in Key West — exhausted, dazed, and sunburned. Having learned important lessons from her previous attempts, Nyad wore a full bodysuit and mask at night when jellyfish rise to the surface. Although she knew this protective gear would slow her down, she believed it would help her go the distance by protecting her against debilitating jellyfish stings.

When she finally arrived at Key West, Nyad spoke briefly on the beach before being transported to the hospital for a check-up. Her message was simple but weighty because they came from her lips, the woman who had just completed an epic 110-mile swim across shark infested waters. Nyad said, “I have three messages. One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you’re never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team.”

In days when so much of what we hear or read in the news is bad, it’s refreshing to read a story like Nyad’s. Although it took her years to fulfill her dream, she never gave up, she continued training, and she refused to let go of her dream. She also acknowledged that she was successful because she was surrounded by a great team of people who believed she could do something hard, even at 64 years of age.

Thank you, Diana Nyad, for setting such a great example of what it means to dream big, to persevere, to push through the pain, to learn from past failures, to stay afloat, and to keep moving through treacherous waters. You are indeed an inspiration.

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