The woman who swam 100 miles through shark and jellyfish infested waters

The woman who swam 100 miles through shark and jellyfish infested waters

"In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm... in the real world all rests on perseverance." - Goethe
 

Diana Nyad was a young woman with a big dream.

She wanted to be the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida.

This was no mean feat.

Not only did she need to cover a distance of over 100 miles in open water but she would have to share the water with sharks and jellyfish.

By the time she made her first attempt aged 28, Diana was already an experienced distance swimmer. Just a couple of years before, she had come to national attention when she swam around Manhattan Island (28 miles) in under eight hours.  

This did not stop her from failing. Around 40 hrs into the swim she had to abandon her attempt. 

She set aside her dream but did not give up on it. 

Many years went by (during which Diana continued to distance swim and set many records in the process) during which she thought endlessly about her ambition to swim the vast body of water separating her native US from Cuba. 

Then one day, aged 60, she gave it another go.

She failed for the second time.

Undaunted and unfazed by the enormous physical and mental undertaking she tried again that year.

And failed again.  

Most people would have given up at this point.

But not Diana.  

She tried again and for the fourth time, she failed. Doubt started to creep in, but an inner voice told her, “never give up.”

So, in August 2013, aged 64 and on her fifth attempt she battled through jelly fish stings, blazing sunshine, rough waters and hallucinations to finally completed the treacherous swim.

It took her 53 hours. 

She arrived physically broken, breathless and her face swollen to double its normal size from the salt water. 

In the years since this record breaking event, Diana has written a book, given a brilliant TED talk and has inspired thousands of people to achieve whatever goal they have set themselves with relentless determination and perseverance.

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