Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Diana Nyad: forced to abandon 103-mile swim from Cuba to Florida

It was a courageous effort, no doubt. Diana swam for more than 24-hours straight and appeared to be swimming a better than 2-miles-per-hour pace. That is kick ass!

I don't think that there has ever been a 60-year-old woman, or man, who has ever accomplished such a feat. I don't think I could and I am an experienced open water swimmer.

Diana was not "chasing windmills here." Like Don Quixote, she was more of an inspiration than a "crazy swimmer;" that is if you can call a 55-mile swim a failure. If anything I am more inspired by this "failed attempt" to get more healthy and chase some windmills of my own.

Here is where she ended her swim, just a little more than half way: [Link]

(CNN) -- Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, who attempted to become the first person to swim between Cuba and Florida without a shark cage, was forced to abandon her effort early Tuesday morning -- roughly halfway through her journey.

Nyad was vomiting when she was brought aboard a boat at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday -- 29 hours after she jumped into the water Sunday.

"I am not sad. It was absolutely the right call," she said.



Daniel Slosberg said...


I had to look up "quixotic," but that's exactly what Diana Nyad's swim was; there was no way that she could finish.

Here's how I know. I was part of the crew for Cindy Cleveland's swim around Catalina a few years back. She was young -- 24 -- and in amazing marathon-swim condition. Even so, as she neared Avalon after 32 hours in the water, she could barely stay awake. She'd take a few strokes, then close her eyes and slip down under the surface, then thankfully pop up again and take a few more strokes.

Diana Nyad swam for 29 hours. That's amazing in itself, but there's no way a 61-year-old person (or probably any-aged person for that matter) can swim for 60 hours straight. I'd love for someone to prove me wrong, but I just don't believe it can happen.

Tony Austin said...

After reading it in those terms and being schooled by your personal experience, I am actually astonished that I thought she could do it.


Anonymous said...

Except that in 1997, the 22-year-old Australian Susan Maroney did it albeit with a shark cage.. so it IS possible.

However, I have no clue myself how it's done and had doubts about Nyad being able to do it.

Daniel Slosberg said...

She may have swum the distance, but she didn't swim the time. According to the New York Times, Maroney's crossing took 24 1/2 hours. And she did it "inside a 28-by-8-foot cage," which must have been like drafting off of a herd of elephants.

Right after the swim, she fainted while talking to reporters.

Sorry, but 60 hours can't be done.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that. In that case, it does seem crazy and unrealistic.