This swim is more formidable then climbing Mount Everest. In fact, to convert this task into a more pedestrian activity, it would be like going on a 400-mile run. If it were on bicycle it would be like going on a 2,000 mile bike ride without sleep.*
After four attempts at this remarkable and most likely unobtainable goal, Diana Nyad, is pulled out of the water by her team.
In a new post on Nyad's website, her team reports she was "fully alert and articulate" when she got into the escort boat and wanted to get back in the water to finish the swim. But "with lightning, thunder, and roiling winds tossing her tiny escort vessel up and down on the waves like a paper cup" it was decided that "for the sake of the safety of her team and herself" they needed to motor on to Key West.
[Link]One reader in an email suggested that this swim reminded him of Herman Melville's classic, Moby Dick, and I think the comparison is appropriate. For those who may have never heard of the book, let alone seen the movies, it's about an arm-less captain named Ahab who lost his arm to a white whale during a whale hunt and he is out to get revenge. His relentless chase of the whale is much like Diana Nyad's relentless pursuit on all four of her Cuba to Florida swims. However, to her credit, she listened to her crew whereas Ahab would have none of that and all but one of his crew members sank to the bottom of the ocean.
" …to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee...." -- Captain Ahab, Moby-Dick - 1851
It was hate, arrogance and revenge that killed Ahab but it was Diana's respect, smart choices, and desire that left this whale for another day or another swimmer.
[*I am judging these calculations based upon pool-times-versus-track times-versus-cycling-times. For instance, the 400-meter dash world record (WR) is timed at :43.7 whereas a 100-meter free WR is times :46.9 and finally the 1-kilometer cycling time trial WR is logged at: :58.875]