Diana Nyad

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Diana Nyad swimming from Cuba by Christi Barli and subject of the documentary film, The Other Shore
The Other Shore, a documentary film of Diana Nyad's quest to cross the Straits of Florida from Cuba to Florida, directed by Timothy Wheeler
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 endurance swimmer and a 1978 inductee as an Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. 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 and subject of the documentary film, The Other Shore.


Cuba to Florida

Nyad 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.

She began her Xtreme Dream 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 remained her goal for 4 decades. 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 and again in 2012 when she was thwarted by box jellyfish and storms. She finally realized her Xtreme Dream of swimming 103 miles on her fifth attempt from Havana, Cuba to Streamer's Beach, Florida on 2 September 2013 after 52 hours 54 minutes in the Straits of Florida.

2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nomination

Nyad was also nominated for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.

Nyad's nomination reads:

Few people in the world fail at something four times, and try again. Even fewer people fail at something for 35 years, and keep trying. But Diana Nyad kept her athletic dream alive for decades and finally achieved it at the age of 64. The charismatic media magnet and a former professional marathon swimmer from the 1970s dreamed, plotted, planned, and willed her way across 110 miles in the Straits of Florida from Cuba to Florida. 52 hours after swimming from shore to shore, her Xtreme Dream was finally realized. Faced with non-believers even among her team, she dramatically demonstrated why it is important to never give up on a dream no matter what your age. For her patience, for her belief in herself and her team, and for her relentless pursuit of a lifetime goal in the face of widespread doubt, Diana Nyad is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.



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 (or Le Marathon de 24 Heures de La Tuque), a non-stop 24-hour professional marathon relay in Quebec, Canada together with Gaston Paré, 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. In August 1979, Nyad swam 60 miles from the Bahamas to Florida.

The Other Shore

The Other Shore is a film about Nyad's attempts across the Straits of Florida. Created by Timothy Wheeler, The Other Shore follows Nyad as she comes out of a 35-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil's Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler's documentary brings Nyad's extraordinary adventure to life as she sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.


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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