Diana Nyad

The first person to swim from Florida to Cuba without a shark cage.
It took Diana Nyad 4 attempts to swim from Florida to Cuba before she completed the epic swim, 110 miles (180 km), on her fifth attempt. She finished the epic swim on September 2nd, at the age of 64, with a time of 52 hours and 54 minutes 18.6 seconds. Also, she swam from Florida to the Bahamas and swam around Manhattan. Read the email today to learn more about the other records she has set because she truly is the outcome of the saying “never give up.”

Article: Diana Nyad was born on August 22, 1949 in New York City, New York. She grew up mainly in southern Florida and began swimming competitively at the age of 10. After graduating (1973) from Lake Forest College in Illinois, she set several marathon swimming records. In 1974 she finished the 22-mile (35-km) Bay of Naples race in Italy, establishing a new women’s mark of 8 hours 11 minutes. The following year Nyad completed a 28-mile (45-km) swim around New York City’s Manhattan Island in 7 hours 57 minutes, breaking the previous record (set unofficially in 1927) by nearly an hour. In 1979 she swam 102 miles (164 km) from the Bahamian island of North Bimini to Juno Beach, Florida, in 27 hours 30 minutes—at that time the longest ocean swim in history. In 1978 Nyad first attempted a Cuba-to-Florida crossing, which was some 110 miles (180 km) across the Straits of Florida. She faced a lot of obstacles that led her to have hiatuses, but with a lot of persistence she completed the crossing. On her first attempt, she swam with the aid of a shark cage, but rough seas forced her to abandon the effort. After turning 30, she gave up swimming to focus on a career in broadcast journalism, which she also succeeded in: Nyad was the author of several books, including the memoirs Other Shores (1978) and Find a Way (2015), the latter of which focuses on her historic swim. 

After becoming a journalist, she still wanted to take another shot at the goal that had eluded her. She failed twice in 2011, both times without a shark cage: in August she was forced to quit after some 29 hours because of an asthma attack, and in late September her swim was cut short after 40 hours when she sustained painful jellyfish stings. A lightning storm and other obstacles foiled her fourth attempt, in August 2012, after she had spent 60 hours in the water. The following year, at the age of 64, she made yet another attempt, aided by a 35-person support team. After 52 hours 54 minutes 18.6 seconds, she completed the epic swim on September 2. She was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1978 and the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. Diana excels in what she does and has inspired so many people to keep trying, even with so many setbacks and obstacles. 

Hollar, S.. "Diana Nyad." Encyclopedia Britannica, August 18, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Diana-Nyad.


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