David is a fanatical swimmer (six days a week, 75 minutes a day), so he was fascinated to hear that FOF Diana Nyad plans to swim 103 miles from the shores of Cuba to Key West, FL. this month.
A long-distance swimmer, Diana swam around Manhattan in 7 hours and 57 seconds when she was 26, setting a world record. She tried swimming the Cuba-Key West route when she was 29, but was pulled from the hostile seas after swimming for almost two days.
She stopped swimming a year later. Completely stopped. But last summer, right before turning sixty, she went to a little pool and swam for a bit, she said in an interview with The New York Times. Subsequently, she started weight training and doing six-hour “crazy” swims. She even went to Mexico for a six-and-a-half-hour swim, her first in an ocean. “It was a raging day. It was cold,” Diana said.
When the reporter asked her why the Cuba swim and why now, Diana answered: “Last summer, I was turning sixty and I was thinking, I don’t want to be sixty. Sixty is old! What happened to my life? What have I done? Who am I? What have I become? I started thinking I have to be graceful with it, and one of the lessons I’ve never learned well is you can’t undo your past. You’ve just got to learn some lessons from it all and embrace today and move forward.
“Ironically, at the same time I was giving myself this life lesson, I thought to myself, but wait a second. There’s actually something I could go back and do. I didn’t make it to from Cuba to Florida when I was 29 years old. Could this possibly be in me?”
Although Diana wants to be “the only person to do it,” she says there’s something else. “It’s about showing that sixty is not old. I refuse to be irrelevant at this age.”
One Response to “Back in the swim”
Toby Wollin says:
So the question for ME is this: What does Diana Nyad feel she has to prove? And to whom does she feel she needs to prove it? Having the physical strength and endurance to do long distance swims is a terrific thing indeed – and the discipline to go through the training and practices is something that I certainly esteem. But part of this reminds me of the 60 year old women who go through hormone treatments and have babies on the basis of the ‘Sir Edmund Hillary’ effect. “Because it’s there.” “Because I can.” And the unspoken part of the sentence is “..and you can’t.”
At this point in our lives, I really don’t feel (for myself) that I need to prove anything to anyone. There are certain things I’d like to take on now – like my own business – but if it’s not the next Amazon.com, I certainly won’t go to my grave with the thought, “I shoulda spent more time making the business a huge success.” At the moment, my goals are a bit more local – the physical therapy folks have released me to work on my own for the next month. I’m already within 2 degrees of my dominant side in all measures of range of motion; I’m just working on balancing my strength on the injured side now. I’m not about to take up fencing or trapeze work to prove to myself or anyone else that I am not some version of damaged goods. I’ve already outlived many of my female relatives; I’m in better shape and health than my mom was when she was ten years younger than I am now. But, there are risks…and then there are risks…