Saturday, September 7, 2013

Diana Nyad

H and I do a fair bit of swimming - probably more than 98% of the population out there. But we aren't marathon swimmers; a typical open-water swim for us is only about a mile or so, and is over an done with in 30-60 minutes. Marathon swimmers, like marathon runners, are a different bunch, and put in a lot of time training and executing.

And then there's Diana Nyad. I think it is fair to say she's in her own category. This past week, she finally succeeded, on her fifth attempt, in her goal of becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida* - a distance of 110 miles! It took her over 53 hours from dipping her toes in Havana to coming ashore at Key West, meaning that she managed an average pace that is close to my own open water pace. But she managed to maintain it (and no go stir crazy!) for over two days.

Simply amazing. There is no other way to describe it.

Here she is in October 2011, recounting the first of her recent (failed) attempts:

* A very short list of people have actually already done the swim from Cuba to Florida. Those swims, however, were accomplished with the help of a shark cage to, obviously, guard against sharks (and, probably, would provide protection from the jellyfish that so plagued Nyad. Nyad's successful swim was also fastest. Nyad's swim is the definitive performance, I would say, if it holds up to scrutiny.

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