Diana Nyad

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Diana Nyad swimming from Cuba by Christi Barli
Diana Nyad, former professional marathon swimmer
Diana Nyad's box jellyfish stings from her Cuba swim in 2011 by Christi Barli
Diana Nyad's box jellyfish stings from her Cuba swim in 2011 by Christi Barli
Diana Nyad is an 1978 inductee as an Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and was nominated for the 2011 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year for her two attempts at swimming 103 miles from Cuba to Florida across the Straits of Florida at the age of 62 where she was ravaged by Box jellyfish.

The author and former television commentator is extraordinarily eloquent both in word and voice. She currently provides a weekly five-minute radio piece on sports for KCRW called 'The Score' (heard during KCRW's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered"), as well as for the Marketplace radio program. She formerly hosted the public radio program "The Savvy Traveler."

She was the keynote speaker and honored at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference and the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on the RMS Queen Mary on 22 September 2012 in Long Beach, California.

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Marathon Swims

In her twenties, she raced on the professional marathon swimming circuit and did her own adventurous solo swims.

She swam around the world for ten years, swimming 40 km (25-mile) in the Suez Canal in Egypt, 35.4 km (22-mile) in the Nile River, 51.4 km (32-mile) along the Mexican coast, 41.8 km (26-mile) in the Parana River in Argentina, 32 km (20-mile) in the Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in Italy, 49.8 km (31-mile) from St. Thomas to Virgin Gorda in the Caribbean Sea, 80.4 km (50-mile) along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and 51.4 km (32-mile) in Lake Ontario. She also participated in the 24 Heures La Tuque, a non-stop 24-hour professional marathon relay in Quebec, Canada, and is a member of the 24-hour club.

On 31 August 1974, Nyad became the first person to cross Lake Ontario from north to south in 18 hours 20 minutes, during her attempt to complete the first two-way crossing as she was accompanied by Cliff Lumsdon. The swim was documented in her book, Other Shores.

Xtreme Dream

Nyad is an American marathon swimmer who hit her peak in the 1970's when she attempted to swim 103 miles between Cuba and Florida, U.S.A. in 1978, but was pulled out after 42 hours. The Xtreme Dream remains her current goal of the 62-year-old - to achieve her lifelong dream of swimming 103 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. In her June 2011 attempt, she swam for over 29 hours from Cuba to a point in the Caribbean Sea at N 23 degrees 43.975' W 81 degrees 58.143' or 56.16 miles (48.8 nautical miles or 90.3776 km). She attempted again in 2011 and swam for nearly 37 hours but was defeated by a mass of Box jellyfish stings.

Motivation

When asked her motivation for the Xtreme Dream, Diana explained, "Because I'd like to prove to the other 60-year-olds that it is never too late to start your dreams."

Nyad’s second attempt to complete this swim has gained the attention of thousands of supporters, including the official sponsorship by Secret Deodorant, which has created an entire social platform on Facebook for fans to share encouraging messages and support.

2012 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nomination

Nyad was nominated for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year award. Her World Open Water Swimming Association nomination reads,

Charismatic and colorful. Engaging and eloquent. Persistent and popular. There are many adjectives to describe the well-known swimmer who has been attempting to swim from Cuba to Florida since 1978, but her love of the challenge and a deeply felt commitment to living her dream are in her DNA. While her attempts are reported widely in the press, it is her long hours of training that form the basis of her athleticism. Her inner drive to swim 5, 10, 15, and 20+ non-stop hours – repeatedly – as a 63-year-old enables her to keep her dream alive. Outside the swimming community, she is able to explain open water swimming and all its challenge in an educational and entertaining manner to the public. The popular motivation speaker wows non-swimming audiences with the allure of her Cuba Swim, the esoteric world of open water swimming, and its relationship to their own life goals. For her uncanny ability to connect with millions of non-swimmers, for her ability to live large, step on the accelerator and continue to seek her dreams at an age where most are slowing down, Diana Nyad is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimmer of the Year.

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