Diana Nyad has become the first PERSON (not woman) to cross the Florida Straits Cuba without a shark cage. She swam for roughly 53 hours straight and was given sustenance, but was mostly unable to keep it down. She is also 64 years old.
Words can't really express the wonder of this feat. This was her third attempt to do the crossing; she had been stymied by many factors in the past during her previous attempts to make the 110-mile swim.
1.) Her last attempt was nearly stymied by jellyfish: Her face was so swollen, but she kept picking those stings out while treading water and kept going. It was finally an asthma attack that made her stop after 29 hours.
2.) The Florida Straits are notoriously dangerous: The water is generally teeming with sharks, jellyfish, storms, and then, of course, there's the Gulf Stream. People have done the swim, but they have done so with the aid of a shark cage. Can you even imagine?
3.) She spoke afterward: Her words after the swim are so inspiring:
I have three messages. One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.
4.) She failed FIVE times before making it: Her first attempt was in 1978, when she was 28, and the most recent was at age 62. After each attempt, she learned, changed her technique, and fought on. Wow. Just awe-inspiring.
5.) She did protect herself: Box jellyfish were the primary danger Nyad faced in the past, and this time around, she came prepared with a special suit she wore at night. Additionally, she used "sting stopper" gel to help keep the poison from penetrating her skin. The first night, she donned a special mask that covered her face, but it impeded her breathing so she opted against it the next night.
6.) She had a team of help: There were divers who swam ahead to disperse shark dangers to her and some who gave her sustenance in the way of sports fuel and drinks, which she took through a tube. Still, the salt water made her very sick and she threw up almost as much as she took in.
7.) Music helps propel her forward: Nyad has said she swims to the Beatles' music. "Ticket to Ride" on one stretch and "Paperback Writer" on another.
8.) She almost gave up: In 2011, after her last failed attempt, she said: "It was a fairy tale, but the fairy tale didn’t come true."
9.) Even Hillary Clinton was impressed: The political superstar tweeted:
Flying to 112 countries is a lot until you consider swimming between 2. Feels like I swim with sharks - but you actually did it! Congrats!
It seems she was wrong and her amazing feat should really inspire us all. What a phenomenal woman.
Does this amaze you?
Image via Splash News