Diana Nyad…61 years old…103 miles / 60 hours of swimming

And speaking about swimming, when we’re snug in our beds tonight (Sunday night), Diana Nyad will begin her swim from Cuba to Florida at 7:00pm Eastern…a distance of 103 miles…in what will be a 60 hour swim….+/-

The short notes are this:

  • She’s 61 years old (born August 22, 1949)…turns 62 in 2 weeks
  • the last time that she tried this Cuba-Florida swim was over 30 years ago in 1978 (28 years old)…swimming with a shark cage…she lasted just over 40 hours and didn’t complete it
  • a year later, 1979, she swam for 102.5 miles from Bimini in the Bahamas to Florida…longest ocean swim in history without a shark cage…27.5 hours with favorable winds

Nyad  didn’t swim a single lap for three decades, from 1979-2009. “Major  burnout,” explains the International Swimming Hall of Fame inductee,  who kept busy as a journalist, speaker and radio commentator. “Couldn’t  pay me to get in the water.”

Quite a bit has been made of the fact that she’s swimming without a shark cage…both because those that swim inside a shark cage have an ‘unfair advantage’ because you can ‘draft’ behind the boat and cage setup…but also because of the obvious issue that sharks sometimes take a nibble out of people…she has some high-tech precautionary measures…hope she didn’t read this Wikipedia post

Diving expert Peter Clarkson, the spokesman for Shark Shield, was killed by great white sharks off South Australia in February 2011.

and as a backup has some guys beside her in boasts that are enlisted with saying ‘shoo’ in a loud voice if they see fins in the water 🙂

At age 61, Nyad has been described by her coach as a “swimming machine”, able to swim hour after hour while maintaining a metronomic stroke rate of 54 strokes per minute, which results in a speed of 1.5 miles per hour. This is down, slightly, from her pace of about 60 strokes per minute when she in her 20s.   At her current SOA (speed of advance), the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida will take a minimum of 60 hours. And any significant “push” to the east by the Gulf Stream current could add miles, and hours, to the swim.

Epic stuff…what is it with these Masters athlete’s that just won’t retire to the water aerobics classes and bingo parlors and call it a day 🙂

Here’s her website:

Her Twitter account for updates:  http://twitter.com/#!/diananyad

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RT @mattcnn: Arrived in Havana for @Diananyad‘s #Xtremedream swim…She shoves off tonight at 7p ET for 60 hours! Stay tuned to CNN!

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The Bellisimo and the team are on their way to Cuba. Now, more than ever, is the time to be #fearless: http://ow.ly/5Xaqp
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