Have you ever spent thirty-five years tirelessly trying to do something extraordinary? Swimmer and motivational speaker Diana Nyad has. For over three decades, she has braved treacherous waters, swollen lips, and painful jellyfish stings with one goal in mind: to swim from Cuba to Florida. And yesterday, on her fifth and final try, SHE DID IT.
Nyad is now the first person ever to complete this journey without a shark cage. This is, of course, a super dangerous choice, but she had the help of a team of scientists who sent out electrical currents to keep the sharks at bay. Nyad has been attacked by box jellyfish in the past, receiving stings that if left untreated, could have been fatal; this time she wore a suit and a mask to protect herself. She was in the water for fifty-two hours, stopping only to recharge with food and water, fed to her through a tube.
Did I mention that she’s sixty-four years old? That’s right, and her age is a key part of her story: she tells CNN, “you are never too old to chase your dreams.” Her story is one of teamwork, and she thanked her team when they were two miles away from arriving in Key West, her mouth swollen from the salt water and abrasions from her mask. Nyad never gave up, and she is officially a legend.
Her story is also one of peace: “She wants to send a message of peace, love, friendship, and happiness... between the people of the United States and Cuba,” says her friend Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich. When she got into the ambulance after her journey, Nyad held up her hand, making a peace sign.
Way to go, Diana!
Photo via The Huffington Post/Associated Press