In 2013 Diana Nyad’s successfully swam from Cuba to Florida. She did it without flippers. She did it without taking a rest on a boat. And she did it without a shark cage. Although, to be clear, the box jellyfish posed a much much greater risk to her life.1
Her swim was roughly 110 miles. That’s 177 km. It took 53 hours. At night, she couldn’t use light, because light attracts sharks and also other fish that sharks eat.
She was in the water for 53 hours. She was 64. Humans are extraordinary. Nyad tells us that contrary to the received wisdom, sometimes the destination “is sweeter than the journey.” She has lots of interesting things to say, actually:2
“One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you’re never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team.”Diana Nyad, TED
Even sports that look solitary are actually team sports. I think this is true of lots of things. I also think that Nyad must be really high in stress management, self-actualization, and optimism.
Oh yeah, here’s her playlist.
“None of us get through this life without heartache, without turmoil.”
- She was, in accordance with her own rules and also those borrowed from so called English Channel open water swim rules, not allowed rest on a boat or have the benefit of a shark cage. ↩
- See https://www.ted.com/talks/diana_nyad_never_ever_give_up and also http://www.ted.com/playlists/359/extreme_sports ↩