Diana Nyad Tries Cuba To Florida Swim

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad is trying to complete a 100 mile swim from Cuba to Florida again today. Nyad is currently 61 she first tried the swim when she was 28 but failed. If she makes it to the Florida Keys after an estimated 60-hour swim, Nyad would become the first person to traverse the strait without the aid of a shark cage.

At age 28 she first attempted to swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West. Diving into the ocean at 2PM on Sunday 13 August from Ortegosa Beach (50 miles west of Havana), she swam inside a 20 X 40 foot steel shark cage for nearly 42 hours, before team doctors removed her during the 7 o’clock hour on the morning of Tuesday 15 August due to strong Westerly winds and 8-foot swells that were slamming her against the cage and pushing her off-course towards Texas. She had covered about 76 miles, but not in a straight line.

This time, she expressed confidence before starting off just before sunset Sunday. She said the still air and shimmering water flat as a plate were perfect conditions for her attempt to make a 103-mile (166-kilometer) swim. “The adrenaline’s flowing now,” Nyad said at a jetty in western Havana as she looked at the water. “… This is what I dreamed of: a silver platter.”

Nyad said it has been a lifelong dream, and she hopes her feat, if successful, will inspire people to live vigorously during their golden years. “Thirty-three years ago I stood on a beach close by here and looked out at a giant sea. … Now I’m almost 62 years old and I’m standing here at the prime of my life,” she said.

Several experts who attended the 2011 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in New York City on 17-19 June 2011 expressed their strong belief that Nyad had both the physical ability and, more importantly, the positive mental stamina to be able to complete the Cuba-to-Florida swim. Sports physiology studies have shown that in “extreme” marathon-type activities mental determination is a more important factor than the physical energy of youth. Research published by the Mayo Clinic in 2008 indicates there are beneficial effects of endurance training on age-related cellular dysfunction.

By: Jennifer Hong
Published: Aug 8, 2021
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