Diana Nyad (born 22 August 1949) is an endurance swimmer, professional marathon swimmer, author, journalist, and motivational speaker.
- 1 Nyad
- 2 Honors
- 3 Professional Marathon Swimming Career
- 4 Journalism Career
- 5 Cuba to Florida Swims
- 6 Controversy
- 7 The Diana Nyad Cuba-Florida Swim Report
- 8 Early Marathon Swims
- 9 The Other Shore
- 10 Motivation
- 11 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nominations
- 12 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nominees
- 13 2015 WOWSA Award Nomination
- 14 Videos
- 15 EverWalk
- 16 How to Swim from Cuba to Florida
- 17 Dancing With The Stars
- 18 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women
- 19 FINIS Duo Underwater MP3 Player Advertisement
- 20 Publications
- 21 The Swimmer: The Diana Nyad Story
- 22 References
- 23 External links
- She was inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1978.
- She received the Al Schoenfield Media Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2002.
- She received the Greta Andersen Trophy in 1970, given by the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation.
- She received the 1978 International Swimming Hall of Fame Buck Dawson Authors Award for her book Distant Shores.
Professional Marathon Swimming Career
- Nyad completed three 32 km Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean professional marathon swims in 1973 (9 hours 5 minutes 17 seconds), 1974 (9 hours 27 minutes 57 seconds), and 1975 (11 hours 23 minutes 35 seconds), and withdrew from the 1972 race (after 5 hours 47 minutes).
- She won the 1974 World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation championship title.
Nyad formerly hosted 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 also formerly hosted the public radio program "The Savvy Traveler" and was a sports broadcaster for National Public Radio, ABC's Wide World of Sports, Fox Sports, and The New York Times.
Cuba to Florida Swims
Since the late 1970s, it was Nyad's Xtreme Dream to swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida.
First Attempt: August 1978
Nyad first attempted to swim from Havana to Key West in 1978, at age 28, aided by a shark cage. After 41 hours, 49 minutes and 79 miles, she was pulled from the water by team personnel.
Second Attempt: August 2011
Nyad attempted her second Cuba-Florida swim 33 years after her first attempt on August 7, 2011 at 7:45pm and ended on August 9, 2011 at 12:28am. She utilized shark shields but not a shark cage. After being pushed off course by strong cross-currents, she called off the attempt after 28 hours, 43 minutes, at N 23 degrees 43.975' W 81 degrees 58.143' or 56.16 statute miles (48.8 nautical miles, 90.3776 km).
Third Attempt: September 2011
The third attempt was approximately six weeks later on September 23, 2011 at 6:05pm and ended on September 25, 2011 at 2:35pm. She was pulled from the water after 44 hours, 30 minutes and 92 miles due to box jellyfish stings and strong cross-currents.
Fourth Attempt: August 2012
The fourth attempt was on August 17, 2012 at 3:43pm and ended on August 19 6:48pm. There was a mid-swim declaration of a possible stage swim but because of weather, a tropical storm and box jellies the swim was aborted at 51 hours, 5 minutes and 55.4 miles.
Fifth Attempt: 2013
Diana Nyad entered the water at 8:58.46 AM CDT (UTC -4) on August 31, 2013 from Marina Hemingway (23°05’06.4″N 82°30’14.5″W) on the shore of Havana, Cuba and exited the water at 1:54:18.6 PM EDT (UTC -4) on September 2, 2013 at Smathers Beach (24°33’03.6″N 81°46’24.6″W) on the shore of Key West, Florida.
Nyad's swim is widely contested within the marathon swimming community.
The questions raised by the members of the Marathon Swim Community Forum were about feeding, currents, timing, observers and assistance. These forum discussions included analysis of the swim time and speeds which indicated a faster than world record pace occurring over thirty hours into the swim.
A "review panel" teleconference which included well-known individual marathon swimmers and the members of the Diana Nyad team was held on September 10, 2013.
One panelist questioned Nyad about her observers' lack of qualifications. She claimed that, despite decades of experience in the sport, she was unaware of the requirements. The speed was explained by navigator John Bartlett as an irregular current that runs counter to the normal south-west to north-east flow of the Florida Strait currents. Mitchell Roffer, a biological oceanographer who independently checked the currents after the swim when the criticisms mounted, said Nyad was swept along by a moving gyre, a large counterclockwise rotating current that moves from the Gulf of Mexico into the Keys. 
No public statement from the review panel was issued. Individual panel members, all experienced marathon swimmers, have given a wide range of opinions from support to dismissal of her swim and claims. During the review panel repeated requests were made for hard data including charts and observer's logs. Typed observer logs were released on the Diana Nyad website on September 13, 2013. Handwritten logs, Garmin GPS data, video and photos were released nine years later for The Diana Nyad Report in 2022.
The controversy continued because Nyad claimed a marathon swimming world record immediately after her swim without any clarification of what marathon swimming record was being claimed and before an official ratification from a marathon swimming organization. Even though a Guinness World Record was given for "First person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage or fins" on September 2, 2013, GWR's are not the same as marathon swimming records. In an AMA interview on Reddit in January of 2014, Diana Nyad continued to claim a world record and falsely asserted that she and her team answered all panel questions.  Steven Munatones who in 2013 was the founder of the World Open Water Swimming Association claimed he wrote the rules governing the attempts and approved the onboard observers. Munatones also claimed he ratified/verified/recognized the swim in 2013 but this was only announced publically when he made an Openwaterpedia entry on August 15, 2019. This claim is analyzed in detail in the Diana Nyad report in 2022.
Nyad's 2013 swim had many technical deviations from the standards in marathon swimming at the time (stinger suit, directional streamer and face mask etc.). On September 17, 2013 on the Marathon Swimmers Community Forum a poll was created in order to assert their right to vote if the swim was "assisted" or "unassisted". The forum voted in favor of "assisted".  No vote was held on the question of the legitimacy of her swim.
The issue of assisted or unassisted was important to the community because two swimmers, Susie Maroney and Walter Poenisch both of whom used a shark cage had previously completed swims from Cuba to Florida. Nyad claimed her swim was unassisted and her rules of engagement allowed her technical exceptions because they did not give the forward advantage or propulsion of a shark cage. The rules of engagement though were not clearly declared before the swim. The controversy surrounding the rules and why she did not accept pre-swim offers of assistance in setting up a Cuba to Florida swim association by IMSHOF member and honor administrator Ned Denison in order to establish the rules of the Florida Straits is still unanswered.
The Diana Nyad Cuba-Florida Swim Report
In 2022 an independent report was published which retrieved, presented and analyzed the historical data of Diana Nyad’s Cuba to Florida swim in 2013. To retrieve this data, 650+ email exchanges, 36 Zoom calls, fifteen interviews were conducted and over 2000+ photos, over 100 videos, crew statements and over 50 documents were recovered. Part 1 of this report examines the swim.
The evidence from the observer and navigator logs, archival photos, and video, present at least one log entry or more and/or photo or video for each hour for all 53 hours of the swim. Gaps in observer log reporting is cross checked and supplemented with photo and/or video evidence.
All equipment used was identified. All crew members and their roles were identified. All fleet vessels identified. The GPX file for the route of the swim was analyzed and confirmed to be a valid SPOT tracker export from the SPOT tracker website. The GPX and logged speeds reported coincided with weather data maps presenting a gyre and eddies and GPS speeds cross checked against the navigator’s logs (waypoints, course changes, wind speeds, stroke count etc.), maps and vectoring equations.
Deeper analysis was given to swim hours with above average speeds and below average speeds. All feeding hours were analyzed against observer log entries and statements by crew members to clarify gaps and/or miscommunication. Incidental touching was noted.
The evidence supports the conclusion that Diana Nyad entered the water at 8:58.46 AM CDT (UTC -4) on August 31, 2013 from Marina Hemingway (23°05’06.4″N 82°30’14.5″W) on the shore of Havana, Cuba and exited the water at 1:54:18.6 PM EDT (UTC -4) on September 2, 2013 from Smathers Beach (24°33’03.6″N 81°46’24.6″W) on the shore of Key West, Florida. There is no known evidence that she exited the water or gained forward momentum from a support vessel or other object or person during the swim. 
Part 2 of the report examined the 9-year pending ratification process of the 2013 Cuba-Florida swim. The report concludes that Diana Nyad’s Cuba-Florida crossing was never ratified.
Early 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 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.
- On 21 August 1979, she swam 60 miles (96.5 km) from North Bimini Island in the Bahamas to Juno Beach, Florida in 27 hours 38 minutes on 29 August 1979 on her second attempt at the age of 30. Her first attempt ended after 12 hours due to Portuguese man o war stings. Two weeks previous, Portuguese man-o-war stings ended her first Bahamas‐to‐Florida swim after 12½ hours.
- In 2013 NYCSwim Director Morty Berger NYCSwim Bio Link indicated on the New York Times website that since the 1970's NYCSwim had been trying to stop Diana Nyad falsely claiming a Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS) record NYT link.
- She competed in the 1975 24 Heures La Tuque, a 24-hour 2-person professional marathon swim with Sahar Mansour, finishing 7th.
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.
World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nominations
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.
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.
2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nominees
1. Axis Buoy by FINIS (U.S.A.)
2. Best Places To Swim by Orca (New Zealand)
3. Chillswim Coniston by Chillswim (Great Britain)
4. Find A Way by Diana Nyad (U.S.A.)
5. IOLITE by Stephen Holm, Raymond Rogers, Justin Peck (U.S.A.)
6. Lake Geneva Swimming Association by Ben Barham (Switzerland)
7. Madswimmers Charity Swims by Jean Craven (South Africa)
8. Samsung Boğaziçi Kıtalararası Yüzme Yarışı (Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim) by the National Olympic Committee of Turkey (Turkey)
9. Sting No More™ by Dr. Angel Yanagihara (U.S.A.)
10. Swim Across America (U.S.A.)
11. SwimCross (Switzerland)
12. SwimEars® by Hans Henrik Heming (Denmark)
13. Swimmit by Ivan Peralta (Spain)
14. SwimTrack by Evan Morrison (U.S.A.)
15. WEST (Water World Swimming Therapy) (Israel)
16. World Ice Swimming Championships (Russia)
2015 WOWSA Award Nomination
Find A Way by Diana Nyad
Diana Nyad wrote her memoirs about her tenacious 52 hour 54 minute swim from Havana, Cuba to the shores of Florida across the Gulf Stream and the Straits of Florida. Although her Cuba swim is the focus of the 304-page book, all kinds of lifetime experiences and recollections keep readers engaged throughout. Her eloquence comes through loud and clear as readers can derive a number of inspirational messages on how they can reach their own shores – no matter what the age or goals of the reader. For triumphantly completing her dream to dramatically swim from Cuba to Florida at the age of 64, for sharing her difficult, multi-decade path to realize this dream and infusing her story with all kinds of heart-felt advice, and for always encouraging and showing others how to chase their dreams no matter what their age, Diana Nyad’s Find A Way is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
Nyad talks about The Walk.
How to Swim from Cuba to Florida
Dancing With The Stars
Nyad danced with Henry Byalikov on the 18th season of Dancing With The Stars.
World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women
FINIS Duo Underwater MP3 Player Advertisement
Nyad has written four books:
- Find A Way won the International Autobiography of the Year in Sports Writing & Publishing from the Cross Sports Book Awards in June 2017.
- Other Shores is the story of a woman who fulfilled her psychological and emotional goals by pushing her body to its physical limits, published in 1978.
- Diana Nyad's Basic Training For Women includes a detailed physical fitness program which emphasizes aerobic activity, stretching exercises, and weight training and provides understanding and emotional support for pursuing physical fitness goals, published in September 1981 by Rh Value Publishing.
- Boss Of Me, The Keyshawn Johnson Story recounts how football player Keyshawn Johnson overcame homelessness, petty crime, troubles with the law that led to imprisonment in youth correctional facilities, and other problems, to become the highest-paid rookie in the National Football League.
The Swimmer: The Diana Nyad Story
She wrote and starred in a stage show at the Audible Theater in the Minetta Lane Theater in New York City on 26-28 September 2019 called The Swimmer: The Diana Nyad Story.
- Tima Vlasto, "The Diana Nyad Cuba-Florida Swim 2013 Report", WOWSA, August 11, 2022.
- Suzanne Sataline,"Some demand more details about the record-setting open-water marathon swim.", National Geographic, September 6, 2013.
- Marathon Swimmers Forum discussion, 2013.
- David Adams,"Questions Linger Over U.S. Swimmer Diana Nyad's Record Swim", Reuters, September 11, 2013.
- ROFFS™, "Roffer responds to the controversy around the Diana Nyad Swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, FL" Sep 16, 2013
- Lone Swimmer,"The Diana Nyad Controversy, a personal reflection – Part 5 – Probity & Integrity", LoneSwimmer October 8, 2013.
- "Observer Report: Janet Hinkle", Diana Nyad September 13, 2013.
- Michael Haskins, "America's Diana Nyad, 64, sets record with Cuba-to-Florida swim", Reuters September 2, 2013.
- "First person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage or fins", Guinness World Records September 2, 2013.
- "I am the world record swimmer Diana Nyad, ask me anything!" Reddit January 27, 2014.
- Hadar Aviram,"Troubled Waters Diana Nyad and the Birth of the Global Rules of Marathon Swimming" University of California 2015.
- "Forum Member Vote: Do You Consider Diana Nyad's Swim Assisted Or Unassisted?" marathonswimmers.org September 17, 2013.
- Daniel Slosberg, "The Cuba Crossing" Diana Nyad Fact Check.
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- Are You Tough? Really Really Tough? Check Out History's Tough Swimming Workouts
- Rowdy Gaines, The Voice Of Swimming, Describes How He Prepares For The Olympics
- Join Diana Nyad And Bonnie Stoll On GoHeja
- Looking Up Into The Sky For Energy At 24 Heures La Tuque
- Egyptians In Capri-Napoli: Marei Hassan Hammed And Ahmed Youssef Amin
- Reading, Not Racing. A Library Of Open Water Swimming Books
- Simon Griffiths Explains ‘Just Doing It’ On WOWSA Live
- Memorials & Monuments Of Open Water Swimming Greats
- A Possible Future For American Female Collegiate Athletic Opportunities
- Old-School Canadian Professional Race Posters
- The State of Female Opportunities In Sport In The U.S.
- Sandra Bucha Talks About Seeking Opportunities On WOWSA Live
- Miss Nyad at Last Swims From Bahamas to Florida
- Swimming In Sharky Waters
- What Was The Most Impactful Open Water Swim In World History?
- Binge Watching Swimming Over The Last Century
- Open Water Heroes Aren't Like In The Movies
- The Perfect Open Water Woman
- The Perfect Open Water Man
- Diana Nyad, Off-Broadway And Soon On Audible
- The Swimmer: The Diana Nyad Story
- The World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women
- Diana Nyad Official Website
- Mr Poenisch successfully sued Ms. Nyad for libel
- marathonswimmers.org Forum discussion of the claimed swim
- Lost At Sea, the story of Walter Poenisch and Diana Nyad and the first assisted Cuba to Florida swim
- NYT article where NYCSwim Director makes public Diana Nyad's past fraudulent claims
- reddit.com AMA
- Official bio on American Public Media
- International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame website
- Diana Nyad Across Lake Ontario
- Solo Swims of Ontario
- The Other Shore Movie
- Diana Nyad's Great Regret
- She Takes A Long Swim Off A Short Pier
- Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean results 1955-2012
- Updated 24-Hour Club
- 30 Open Water Swimmers Known By One Name
- The Shark Diver Controversy In Ocean Swimming
- 24 + 48 = A Lot Of Swimming From Palm Springs To New York
- Publicizing Heroes And Heroines Of Open Water Swimming
- Deep-seated Reasons For Another Cuba-to-Florida Attempt
- The Cuba Swim, Traditional Marathon Swimming It Is Not
- The Perfect Female Open Water Swimmer
- When Jellyfish Replace Sharks
- Disciplined Research On Jellyfish Proposed
- Thrice As Nice, Swimming Across Lake Ontario
- Seeds Sown On Land Results In Dream In Water
- Lessons Learned From Diana Nyad
- Impossible Was Made Possible With An Xtreme Dream
- Sting Stopper Does The Trick For Diana Nyad
- The Audacity Of Hope
- Getting (to) The Other Shore
- Swim Streamers In Open Water Swimming
- Diana Nyad's Face Mask By Aesthetic Prosthetics
- Eloquently Explaining The 'Why' Of Open Water Swimming
- 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman Of The Year Nominees
- Within 50 Years Will It Be Crossed?
- What Goes Around Comes Around
- John Bartlett Unexpectedly Passes Away
- Swimming Through The Night On The Florida Straits
- The Cyclical Nature Of American Media Coverage
- 24-hour Club…Swimming All Day And Night
- Swimming And Finding A Way
- Hang Up The Goggles, Put On The Dancing Shoes
- Top 25 Individuals In Openwaterpedia
- Dancing With The Stars
- Women versus Men In The Open Water World
- Marathon Swimmers Federation To Test Stinger Suits
- When Are Stinger Suits Used?
- The Turbulent Traversée, Jan Van Scheijndel In Lac St-Jean
- The Perfect Ideal Of A Female Swimmer
- Diana Nyad To Deliver Commencement At Middlebury
- Sharp As A Swimmer, The Mervyn Marathon Magic
- What Are Swimmers Known As?
- The Inherent Danger Of It All
- Onward Is An Evening Very Well-Spent
- Swimming Around Manhattan Over The Past 100 Years
- NYC Swim website
- Find a Way - One Wild and Precious Life
- Landmarks, Monuments And Memorials Of Open Water Swimmers
- Memorials & Monuments Of Open Water Swimming Greats
- Remembering Great Open Water Swimmers
- Wandering Samurai In The Open Water
- Absolutely Painful Open Water Swims Of The 21st Century
- World's Top 100 Open Water Swims In History
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- Diana Nyad's Finds A Way
- Labatt's History In Open Water Swimming
- 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering Of The Year Nominees
- Nominees For The 2015 WOWSA Awards
- Find A Way On Tour
- Is There A Doctor On Board?
- Marine Cooperation Between Cuba And America Starts
- Great Britain, The Epicenter Of Open Water Swimming
- If She Can Do It, We Can Do It
- Find A Way Among Top 100 Books
- Angel Yanagihara Heads To Ireland Under Fulbright Program
- Marathon Swimming
- Open Water Swimming
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- The California Open Water Swimming Oasis
- Inequality In The Open Water, Part 1
- Duo Benefits: Being Engaged While Swimming
- Diana Nyad Shifts From Water To Dryland On EverWalk
- You Are Not Alone Walking From Los Angeles To San Diego
- Ida Elionsky Leaves A Legacy In The Open Water
- Trump versus Clinton, Part 3 of 3
- Diana Nyad, Bonnie Stoll To Start EverWalk On Sunday
- Vastly Underestimating Capabilities, Learning How To Fish
- Two Hall Of Famers And Fidel Castro
- Swimming, Boating, Rafting From Cuba To Florida
- International Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame Origins
- World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation History
- Leap In From Dryland To The Open Water
- Diana Nyad Wins International Autobiography of the Year
- Gray Matter: The World's Most Epic Swims
- Updated 24-Hour Club
- 24-hour Club…Swimming All Day And Night
- Swimming For More Than 24 Hours
- Hidden Figures, Not Now, Not Ever
- History's Hardest Swimming Workouts
- David Yudovin's New Memorial - And Other Landmarks
- Open Water Swimming Dual Inductees And Dual Honorees
- Tim Johnson's History of Open-Water Marathon Swimming
- Diana Nyad Finds Her Way To Off-Broadway