To say that I have thought of Diana Nyad maybe a handful of times in my life would be accurate. I knew that she was once a famed long distance swimmer and I knew that she had attempted some crazy-ass swim across the world a few times and failed. That's about the extent of my Diana Nyad knowledge. Today I think of Diana Nyad as an inspiration and I find myself searching for more information on the 64 year old woman. This new chapter in her story is an example of what can be accomplished if you never give up and recently I've thought of her far more than that handful of times.
Diana Nyad accomished something she had tried and failed at 4 times before. Diana, this week, became to first person to swim from Cuba to Florida in 110 mile swim in open water, without a shark tank, in 52 hours. Talk about never say never.
Diana was already accomplished.
She spent her younger days swimming under the tutelage of Hall Of Fame coach Jack Nelson and was a decorated swimmer, winning awards and breaking records in both high school and college. In 1986 she was inducted into the United States National Women's Sports Hall of Fame and in 2003 she was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. She has since parlayed those accomplishments into a career. Nyad is an accomplished author, journalist, entrepreneur and commentator who regularly contributes to CBS Sunday Morning. To some, her career would look to be fulfilling and complete. Another person might have just sailed off into the swimming sunset, so to speak. But Diana wanted to do that one thing she had tried and failed at. In 2011 she began forming her team and training for the 110 mile swim. The odds were stacked against her with her age and history told her the outlook wasn't so good.
On Monday, September 2, 2013, her body dehydrated and slowly breaking down, Diana walked out from the vast ocean she had swam 110 miles in unassisted, as the person who never gave up and beat the odds. Her 64 year-old self beat her 28 year-old self in what has to be the most satisfying career highlight ever.
Diana Nyad is an inspiration. Diana Niad is a role model. Diana Nyad is a never say never believer.
Diana Nyad is someone whom I will think about as a shining example of what can be accomplished with determination and belief. And she is someone who has moved on from a handful to going viral in my mind.