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Diana Nyad Beats Odds, Swims From Cuba to Florida Without Shark Cage

Firsts

Diana Nyad just became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, a distance of 110 miles, and that’s only the beginning of how impressive this feat was.

The champion long distance swimmer covered those 110 miles in 52 hours, 54 minutes, and 18.6 seconds of swimming, arriving a day earlier than most estimates had placed her. At one point she was so cold that her assistants decided that it was too dangerous to stop and let her eat: she’d stay warmer if she kept swimming. Along her route she managed to avoid both sharks and stinging jellyfish that doomed the trek of another swimmer attempting the same feat earlier this summer.

And Nyad is sixty four. And, in what I think is the most impressive detail, really, is that this was her fifth attempt. I mean, do it on the second try, maybe you screwed up that first time. But do it on the fifth try? I think at that point the fact that you didn’t admit defeat outweighs any silly implication that you’re lame for taking so long.

Nyad seems to be echoing that point: “Never give up,” she told a well-wisher, according to NBC Miami, literally as she was being carried on a stretcher away from the Florida beach to a hospital to have her health evaluated. She also released this celebratory tweet:

Congratulations, Ms. Nyad!

(top pic via Flickr via NBC.)

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