Persistence, thy name is Diana Nyad.
The 64-year-old long-distance swimmer finally reached her goal of swimming from Cuba to Florida Monday afternoon, a two-day, 112-mile journey filled with strong currents, storms, jellyfish and plenty of other obstacles that have undermined her four previous attempts that occurred over the past 35 years.
Upon finishing, she made a quick statement:
“I have three messages. One is we should never ever give up. Two is you are never too old to chase your dreams. And three is it looks like a solitary sport but it takes a team,” according to ABCnews.com.
One of her strategies for success: Keep the jellyfish off her face. She did this with a specially designed facemask that she says is not comfortable to wear, but has done the job.
“It took us a year; we made mold after mold,” … “It’s a two-edged sword for me. It’s cumbersome, it’s difficult to swim with, but it doesn’t matter. I am safe. There’s no other way,” Nyad had said previously.
The swim has been done before, but inside a shark cage. Nyad’s swim was done without a shark cage and is the first such swim of the Florida Straits.
She had a crew of 35 people to follow her on the journey, but there were rules: She was not allowed to hold on to a boat at any time during the swim. Any time she stopped, she’d have to tread water under her own power. She also did it with no wet suit or flippers.
The swim has had its complications, as you might expect. According to her blog, which gave frequent updates along the way, Nyad’s tongue and lips were becoming swollen, causing her speech to be slurred. A storm passed through when she was about 17 miles out, and a swarm of box jellyfish were seen Monday morning.
But she got past all that, and swam ashore in Florida where a crowd of several hundred greeted her.
Nyad had previously said that this was going to be her last attempt. Her first attempt came in 1978, when she was 28 years old.
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