Yesterday, in a stretch of sea half-way between Cuba and Key West, 61-year old marathon swimmer Diana Nyad abandoned a dream.
Ms. Nyad's quest was to complete the 60-hour, 103-mile journey without a shark cage. For two years she had been in training, swimming 12 hours every other day and lifting weights in between. Years before, at the age of 29, she had set a record for the longest ocean swim: 102.5 miles from Bimini to Jupiter, FL. Now she was determined to set another. She wanted to show people that life isn’t over at 60. “People my age must try to live vital, energetic lives,” she told Don Van Natta of the NYT. "We're still young. We're not our mothers' generation at 60."
Understandably, Ms. Nyad is disappointed that she didn't cross the finish line. "There's no way 30 hours should have brought me to my knees," she said. Yet she acknowledges that she did her best. When her shoulder seized up with pain, she kept on swimming. When she was struck by her first-ever asthma attack, she kept on swimming. Only when she began vomiting did she stop.
“I was my most courageous self,” she said. “I can hold my head up high.”
Is she planning to try again? "No," she said. "I think I'm going to live a life when I did not swim from Cuba to Florida.... I think I can live with that."
Diana Nyad sure sounds like a winner to me.
Photo Credit: Reuters