Diana Nyad, 61, Begins Cuba-to-Florida Swim
61-year-old Diana Nyad began her 103-mile swim from Cuba to Florida at 7:45 p.m. Sunday, hoping to set a record for open-water swims without a shark cage. She announced her plan to enter the water at Havana’s Marina Hemingway at a Sunday morning press conference, CNN said.
Nyad did some stretches and played the traditional Army wake-up song on a bugle before she dived into the water later that night. Before beginning her swim, she cited her age as an advantage, not a liability.
“I’m almost 62 years old and I’m standing here at the prime of my life,” she said. “I think this is the prime. When one reaches this age, you still have a body that’s strong but now you have a better mind.”
According to CNN, Nyad has been training for the event for two years. Daily six- to eight-, or 10- to 12-hour swims helped her get into the physical shape required to accomplish the estimated 60-hour swim. Her team consists of more than 30 people, including 10 handlers. Boat captains will take shifts driving the five boats monitoring her every move.
Nyad said she’s had the goal in mind all of her life, and is eager to avenge a failed attempt at the same trip more than 30 years ago. Now, she said, she is more fit than ever.
“All my life, I dreamed of being the first one ever to swim across without a shark cage,” she said. “When I walk up on those shores of Florida, I want to prove to the AARP crowd that it’s not too late to go back and write that book or adopt that child.”