Yesterday, American long-distance swimmer 64-year-old Diana Nyad became first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, 110 miles, without a shark cage.
With a shout-out of “Courage!” (pronounced in French), Diana Nyad jumped into the water to begin her fifth attempt at the swim from the shore a near Marina Hemingway in Cuba at 8:59:02 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. She was 28 years old the first time she tried to swim the Florida Straits, when winds knocked her far off course.
During this, her epic 53-hour swim, the full bodysuit, mask and gloves she wore at night to protect against jellyfish stings slowed her pace from an average of 50 to 47 strokes per minute. Ms. Nyad stopped only to feed and never left the water. Her flotilla surrounded and monitored her, but never had to intervene. Massive cruise ships moved out of her way.
We first wrote about Diana Nyad in August 2012, during her fourth attempt at the swim. As we wrote then, Ms. Nyad spoke to AARP about her motivation. "When I walk up on that shore in Florida, I want millions of those AARP sisters and brothers to look at me and say, 'I'm going to go write that novel I thought it was too late to do. I'm going to go work in Africa on that farm that those people need help at. I'm going to adopt a child. It's not too late, I can still live my dreams.'" That attempt was cut short after 40 hours because of life-threatening jellyfish stings.
However, the fifth time appeared to be the charm as her arrival in Florida was announced on her blog, Nyad Extreme Dream on 9/2 at 3:14PM EDT with a simple “She freaking made it.”
Watch as she makes her way onto the Florida shores.
Thanks, Diana, for inspiring us and proving that getting older is not viable excuse to give up, and that tenacity and and wisdom are the gifts of advancing age. As she herself put it, "You're never too old to live your dreams."