Diana Nyad Has an Ocean of Hope as She Swims From Cuba to the U.S.


For endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, the fourth time might be the charm.

The 62-year-old Nyad is making her fourth attempt to swim from Cuba to the U.S., an arduous 103-mile journey that should take 60 hours, barring any major complications.

So far she’s battled the usual suspects of bad weather and jellyfish stings. An update on her progress posted on her Web site Monday, just past midnight, told of a squall that “blew up very quick” and hit Nyad’s flotilla with 14-knot winds that pushed the swimmer east.

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But Nyad weathered the storm—literally—and was reportedly in good spirits as the bad weather passed. The latest optimistic report today said the weather is clear, seas are calm and Nyad is “swimming strong at 50 strokes per minute and has swum 33.81 statute miles. There have been no jellyfish sightings our experts report. Beautiful out!”

Nyad, a regular commentator on KCRW-FM radio in Los Angeles, started her latest attempt of her “Xtreme Dream” from Havana on Saturday. A year ago she bailed on her third effort after about 30 hours in the water due to a number of factors, including an asthma attack and choppy waves.

She told CNN at the time, “I was the best person I could be ... that's the message. I dug down, I dug deep.” This swim is being done without a shark cage and on the cusp of her 63rd birthday, which is Wednesday.

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The Associated Press reported that Nyad is taking breaks to rest, eat and drink, and to combat the monotony she sings silently to herself. On her mental playlist are baby boomer favorites such as Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Neil Young and Janis Joplin.

Despite a few bumps in the water, Nyad has her eye on the prize. She was quoted on CNN.com as saying, “When I walk up on that shore in Florida, I want millions of those AARP sisters and brothers to look at me and say, ‘I'm going to go write that novel I thought it was too late to do. I'm going to go work in Africa on that farm that those people need help at. I'm going to adopt a child. It's not too late, I can still live my dreams.’ ”

Have you overcome obstacles to achieve a major endeavor? Let us know in the comments.

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Jeannine Stein, a California native, wrote about health for the Los Angeles Times. In her pursuit of a healthy lifestyle she has taken countless fitness classes, hiked in Nepal, and has gotten in a boxing ring. Email Jeannine | TakePart.com