Diana Nyad
American journalist
Diana Nyad
Diana Nyad is an American author, journalist, and long-distance swimmer noted for her world-record endurance championships. She was once ranked 30th among U.S. women squash players (date not given). Over two days in 1979, Nyad swam from Bimini to Florida, setting a distance record for non-stop swimming without a wetsuit that still stands today.
Biography
Diana Nyad's personal information overview.
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News
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Why open water swimmer Diana Nyad wants you to start walking
LATimes - about 1 month
Diana Nyad made history in 2013 when, at age 64, she swam 111 miles from Havana to Key West, Fla., in 53 hours.  Still, the fitness icon doesn't expect hordes of people to attempt endurance swimming. But what most people can do, says Nyad, is walk. Every day. Everywhere they can.  The Los Angeles-based...
Article Link:
LATimes article
Swimmer Diana Nyad on Neil Young
Wall Street Journal - about 1 year
Diana Nyad, who set records on a Cuba-to-Florida swim, talks about using Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done” to keep going.
Article Link:
Wall Street Journal article
'Out 100' Responses Are Telling and Useful
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Back in 2008, just as I was finishing an arduous three-and-a-half-year MFA in creative writing program, I was overjoyed to have had the opportunity to publish a story on Advocate.com, the website of The Advocate magazine. My friends and family thought that this was a nice feather in my cap, but to me being published by this particular news organization was symbolically significant, and it carried great sentimental value. Each of us has our own story of coming out, and for most of us, these stories are central to our lives. I never really regarded being closeted as an option, as a lot of my peers identified me as being gay even before I hit puberty -- even before I had an inkling I was gay. My mannerisms, my voice and interests were telling. When I finally had "the talk" with my parents, in a flurry of tears and uncontrollable trembling at age 17 or 18, my mother's response was at once hard-hitting and comforting in its immediacy of acknowledgment and acceptance. "Well," she said, ...
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Huffington Post article
The Invincible Diana Nyad
Wall Street Journal - over 1 year
At 64, Diana Nyad swam nonstop for 52 hours, 54 minutes and 18 seconds.
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Wall Street Journal article
What It Took Me 68 Years To Do
The Huffington Post - over 1 year
I am not a native New Yorker. In fact, I have never even lived in "The City" for any extended amount of time, though I visit often. I hear horror stories centering on confusion about what bus goes where, the need for exact change in quarters and the intricacy of figuring out bus schedules. So, I am always too intimidated to ride the city buses by myself. Instead, I learn how to hail a cab. And I downloaded LYFT. It's somewhat off-putting to wait until five minutes before you want to go someplace to contact LYFT, but my son assures me that is how it is done. Feeling a tad tech savvy, I meet a former co-worker who has recently located to "The City" for a new job. "Iris," she exclaims loudly, "do you know how much money you could be spending elsewhere if you learned the subway system?" "Gee," I answer meekly, "I never thought of it that way." Visions of toting home a designer bag or a one-of-a-kind jade trinket or going on a mini spree at Barneys dances across my field of v ...
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The Huffington Post article
Diana Nyad: By the Book
NYTimes - over 1 year
The long-distance swimmer and author of the memoir “Find a Way” hid her love of German literature from her mother, who lived through the Nazi occupation of France: “She threatened to never talk to me again.”
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Diana Nyad turns her record swim into a 1-woman stage show
Yahoo News - about 2 years
NEW YORK (AP) — Diana Nyad, who made history as the first person to swim across the Florida Straits without a shark cage, isn't scared of wading into another challenge — theater.
Article Link:
Yahoo News article
What Does It Take To Dive Into Dangerous Waters?
NPR - over 2 years
In pitch-black, stung by jellyfish, choking on salt water, hallucinating, Diana Nyad kept swimming. She describes the journey of her historic 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida, at age 64. » E-Mail This
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NPR article
10 Things You Do That Make You Look 10 Years Older
Huffington Post - about 3 years
There are lots of expensive treatments and remedies for those who want to lock horns with the aging process and do battle. We think there is an easier way. Here's our list of 10 things that you may be doing that make you look older -- so just avoid them. 1) Wear elastic waist pants. If you need an elastic waist for comfort, it's probably time to face the music that you likely need to shed a few pounds. Elastic waists are what our grandmas wore. With few exceptions -- we're thinking Hue skinny jeggings here under a big sweater and worn with boots -- elastic waist pants are for oldsters. 2) Use drugstore reading glasses. There is no shame in admitting you need to wear reading glasses, but do look beyond the Dollar Store. Think of your reading glasses as a fashion accessory, not something that serves as a headband when you look up from the computer to converse. Spend a few bucks and get some stylish frames. 3) Wear wire-rimmed sunglasses. We hate to be the ones to break this news to ...
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Huffington Post article
Reissue Roundup 3: The Beatles, Eric Clapton, The Who, Frank Sinatra, CCR and Humble Pie, Plus Keith Chagall's Kennedy Tribute
Huffington Post - about 3 years
REISSUE ROUNDUP 3: THE BEATLES, ERIC CLAPTON, FRANK SINATRA, THE WHO, CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL AND HUMBLE PIE It's time to wrap up these Reissue Roundups with the latest high end batch from the Universal family of labels. The Beatles - On Air/Live At The BBC Volume 2 Is somebody keeping count--wait, what am I saying, it's The Beatles, there are millions keeping count. The question is do The Beatles now collectively have more "previously unreleased" tracks than all of their official albums collectively? That's certainly not a bad thing, and with this next installment, Live At The BBC Volume 2, we're offered another 63 tracks (with 37 musical numbers and 23 chats), many tracks more self-assured than what was presented on the previous Live At collection. What's nice is that we get ten songs The Beatles hadn't recorded for their label EMI (including "Beautiful Dreamer" and Buddy Holly's "I'm Talking About You"), and we get mostly improved sound quality over the first BBC set (al ...
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Huffington Post article
A Killer Deal by the Cleaning Lady
Wall Street Journal - over 3 years
Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad describes how a casual bike ride led to the purchase of a 1924 mansion in L.A. that she couldn't afford.
Article Link:
Wall Street Journal article
Diana Nyad's Great Regret
Wall Street Journal - over 3 years
After Diana Nyad completed a Cuba-to-Florida swim in September, other marathon swimmers accused her of violating unofficial rules. In 1978, Nyad called another swimmer who completed such a swim "a cheat."
Article Link:
Wall Street Journal article
Cuba-to-Florida swimmer Diana Nyad to write memoir
Reuters.com - over 3 years
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Diana Nyad, the first person to complete the treacherous swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, will write a book about her record-breaking achievement and her life, publisher Alfred A. Knopf said on Monday.
Article Link:
Reuters.com article
How Not to Talk About the Beliefs of Others
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Recently two celebrities offered us mirror textbook cases on how not to talk about the belief -- or lack thereof -- of another. On a show that aired on Oct. 13, Oprah Winfrey hosted Diana Nyad who has recently completed a historic swim from Cuba to Florida. In the now famous exchange, Nyad, who is an atheist explained her beliefs to Oprah: I can stand at the beach's edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity. All the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt and suffered. So to me, my definition of God is humanity and is the love of humanity. "Well, I don't call you an atheist then," Winfrey said. "I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery, then that is what God is. That is what God is. It's not a bearded guy in the sky." Oprah came under a heated attack by atheists who thought they deserved an apology for her lack of underst ...
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Huffington Post article
Diana Nyad: Swimming in the Pool of Becoming
Huffington Post - over 3 years
I recently had the distinct pleasure of meeting -- and giving two big hugs to -- Diana Nyad at a fundraiser for Creative Visions Foundation. Creative Visions supports "creative activists" -- artist, musicians, and filmmakers who create awareness of global issues through their art. Nyad's nephew Timothy Wheeler is a creative activist who also happens to be the director of the documentary "The Other Shore," which chronicles his aunt's attempts to complete her record-breaking dream swim from Cuba to Florida. Nyad is clearly a champion out of the water too. She looks you in the eye. She gives a good honest hug. And, she has a knack for genuinely acknowledging people who deserve it. I have never heard her omit a mention of her team. At this event, she also didn't fail to acknowledge that Wheeler's chronicle of her journey was a feat unto itself. It took something. It took something for everyone involved in this adventure to make their piece of her dream come true. She ge ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Diana Nyad
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2014
    Age 64
    Also in 2014, Nyad performed in her solo show (which she had also written) called ONWARD – The Diana Nyad story,, which premiered that year at the NoHo Arts Centre Theater in Los Angeles, directed by Josh Ravetch.
    More Details Hide Details Nyad was inducted into the United States National Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1986. She is also an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honoree (1978) and an ISHOF Al Schoenfield Media Award recipient (2002). She is a Hall of Famer at her college, Lake Forest College in Illinois, and at her high school, Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale. Nyad has said a factor in her determination while swimming was her anger about, and her desire to overcome, sexual abuse she said she experienced as a child. Nyad has spoken publicly about this issue. Nyad is openly lesbian and is an atheist. From October 8–10, 2013, Nyad participated in "Swim for Relief" by doing a 48-hour continuous swim in New York City's Herald Square in a specially constructed, 120-foot long, two lane pool. It raised $105,001.00 for AmeriCares to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
    Nyad appeared in the Macy Gray music video for the song “Bang, Bang” in 2014.
    More Details Hide Details
    On March 4, 2014, Nyad was announced as one of the celebrities to compete on the 18th season of Dancing with the Stars, in which she finished in last place.
    More Details Hide Details She was partnered with professional dancer Henry Byalikov.
  • 2013
    Age 63
    She explained that she started her training in the Caribbean in January 2013 with 12-hour workouts of nonstop swimming and eventually worked up to 14, 18, 20, and 24 hours.
    More Details Hide Details Nyad also said that while she swims she remembers Stephen Hawking books, sings, counts numbers and has vivid hallucinations of The Wizard of Oz and the yellow brick road.
    On September 10, 2013, Nyad appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
    More Details Hide Details
    At approximately 1:55 pm EDT on September 2, 2013, Nyad reached the beach in Key West, about 53 hours after she began her journey.
    More Details Hide Details While not directly questioning the authenticity of her story, some skeptics, including long-distance swimmers, requested the swim's GPS history, surface current, weather, and Nyad's eating and drinking data. The swim's published GPS data was analyzed and graphed on September 8 by The New York Times. After Nyad's September 10 response to questions and her publishing path data and notes from her navigator and two observers, a University of Miami oceanography professor, Tamay Ozgokmen, confirmed the navigator's assertion that favorable Gulf Stream currents explained Nyad's apparently incredible total velocity during certain portions of the swim. The New York Times public editor observed on September 19 that the focus had shifted from serious questions about possibly resting aboard a boat, to more technical issues relating to whether her crews' touching her while helping with her protective suit formally rendered the swim an "assisted" swim. Nyad had explained that wearing the jellyfish-protection suit was a life-and-death measure that for her superseded the previous "traditions" of the sport.
  • 2012
    Age 62
    Before reaching Florida, Nyad broke Penny Palfrey's 2012 distance record for the Cuba to Florida swim, putting Nyad closer to Key West than anyone swimming without a shark cage.
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    Nyad and her team ended the swim prematurely at 12:55 a.m. on August 21, 2012, reportedly because of two storms and nine jellyfish stings, after having covered more distance than her three previous attempts.
    More Details Hide Details On the morning of August 31, 2013, Nyad began her fifth bid to swim from Havana, Cuba to Florida, a distance of about, accompanied by a 35-person support team, swimming without a shark cage but protected from jellyfish by a silicone mask, a full bodysuit, gloves and booties.
    On August 18, 2012, Nyad began her fourth attempt, without a protective shark cage.
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  • 2011
    Age 61
    Nyad's October 2011 TED talk described how box jellyfish stings on her forearm and neck caused respiratory distress that eventually caused the swim to end.
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    On September 23, 2011,Diana Nyad began a third attempt at the Cuba-to-Florida swim, again without a shark cage, but had to stop after about 41 hours, about through the passage, because of jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war stings and after currents pushed her off course.
    More Details Hide Details
    Writing in her blog in July 2011, Nyad stated that the development of the submerged guide streamer, in early summer 2011, may be the single greatest aid to her marathon swim.
    More Details Hide Details In all of her previous swims, she had trouble keeping the support boat in sight and was prone to veer off-course. Keeping a boat headed in a straight line, in the ocean, while moving at only 1 to 2 knots is very difficult, and her catamaran is equipped with thrusters and a special sea anchor (in case of following seas) to stabilize its course. Some 33 years after her first attempt in 1978, Nyad entered the water again at Havana on August 7, 2011 at 7:45PM, a CNN news team on board her support ship to provide live coverage of her swim, which involved electronic "Shark Shields" but no shark cage. Nyad stopped her attempt early in the morning on August 9 at 12:45AM after 29 hours in the water, after encountering strong currents and winds that pushed her miles off course to the east. Nyad also said she had been suffering shoulder pain since her third hour in the water, but what made her abandon the effort was a flare-up of her asthma, such that, throughout the final hour, she could only swim a few strokes before repeatedly having to roll on her back to catch her breath.
    Nyad moved her training site from the Caribbean island of St. Maarten to Key West, Florida, in June 2011.
    More Details Hide Details She was joined by key members of her support team on June 28, to wait for ideal weather conditions that typically occur only during the summer doldrums in July and August. For the marathon swim to be feasible, two main weather conditions needed to come together at the same time: a combination of low-to-light winds (to minimize sea chop), and water temperatures in the high 80s °F (high 20s/low 30s °C). These relatively "high" water temperatures produce a twin challenge: in the first half of her swim the warm water will dehydrate her body, while in the second half her body temperature will drop and she will face potential hypothermia. Nyad had bulked up her physique to about 150 pounds/70 kg (15 pounds/7 kg more than she weighed in 2010) to help counter the loss of body mass during her grueling swim.
    While training in St. Maarten, she sat for an interview that was published March 25, 2011 by the island's online news agency, The Daily Herald, remarking that "It's a large operation, like an expedition.
    More Details Hide Details We've got about 25 people, navigators, managers, boat crew, weather routers, medical people, shark experts, you name it. That's the time also when the water starts to get to its hottest. I need the hottest possible ocean. As soon as we hit the right forecast, we'll be off to Havana. We won't know the exact starting point probably until the night before. And we don't know exactly where landfall will be I'd love to wind up in Key West, but it will depend on trajectory of the Gulf Stream." Nyad estimated that the cost of her "expedition" was about $500,000.
  • 2010
    Age 60
    In an October 15, 2010 interview with CNN, Nyad said she was trained and ready to swim by July 23, but a record stretch of high winds and dropping water temperatures prevented her from making the attempt.
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    She was scheduled to make the swim in August/September 2010, but bad weather forced her to cancel; she rescheduled for July 2011.
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    On July 10, 2010, at the age of 60, she began open water training in preparation for a 60-hour, 103-mile (166 km) swim from Cuba to Florida, a task she had failed to accomplish thirty years prior.
    More Details Hide Details When asked about her motivation, she answered, "Because I'd like to prove to the other 60 year-olds that it is never too late to start your dreams."
    By early January 2010 Nyad began training for a summer attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida.
    More Details Hide Details Taking up residence in the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, from January through June, she would go for 8-, 10-, 12-, and 14-hour-long swims every other week. She then moved her training to Key West and, while waiting for favorable weather conditions, she embarked on a 24-hour swim. On July 10, she reserved a 35-foot fishing vessel to take her out to sea. At 8:19 AM she jumped overboard and began swimming back towards Key West, with the boat following her. At 8:19 AM the next day her handlers helped her back on board, still about from land: she said she felt "tired and dehydrated" but still "strong" and "easily able to swim another 20 hours without any problem."
  • TWENTIES
  • 1979
    Age 29
    Over two days in 1979, Nyad swam from Bimini to Florida, setting a distance record for non-stop swimming without a wetsuit that still stands today.
    More Details Hide Details She broke numerous world records, including the 45-year-old mark for circling Manhattan Island (7 hrs, 57 min) in 1975. Several experts who attended the 2011 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in New York City on June 17–19, 2011 expressed their strong belief that Nyad had both the physical ability and, more importantly, the positive mental stamina to be able to complete the Cuba-to-Florida swim: sports physiology studies have shown that in "extreme" marathon-type activities mental determination is a more important factor than the physical energy of youth.
  • 1978
    Age 28
    In her 1978 autobiography Nyad described marathon swimming as a battle for survival against a brutal foe—the sea—and the only victory possible is to "touch the other shore."
    More Details Hide Details An analysis of Nyad's ability to dissociate during her marathon swims is covered by James W. Pipkin. An independently produced documentary film, The Other Shore, was released in early 2013, some months before Nyad's first successful swim from Cuba to Florida.
  • 1973
    Age 23
    After graduating from Lake Forest College in 1973, with a degree in English and French, Nyad returned to south Florida to continue training with Dawson.
    More Details Hide Details Nyad has written four books: Other Shores (Random House: September 1978) about her life and distance swimming, Basic Training for Women (Harmony Books: 1981), Boss of Me: The Keyshawn Johnson Story (1999) about an NFL wide-receiver, and Find a Way: One Wild and Precious Life (Knopf Publishing Group: 2015). She has also written for The New York Times, NPR's "All Things Considered," Newsweek magazine, and other publications. Diana and her best friend Bonnie Stoll (former No. 3 in the world on the Pro Racquetball Tour) have formed a company called BravaBody which is aimed at providing online exercise advice to women over 40, with the two world-class athletes giving direct inspiration and custom-made work-outs. As of 2006, she also delivered motivational talks to groups through the Gold Star speakers agency, for a fee of between $10,000 to $15,000.
  • 1970
    Age 20
    She began training at his Camp Ak-O-Mak in Ontario, Canada and set a women's world record of 4 hours and 22 minutes in her first race, a 10-mile (16 km) swim in Lake Ontario in July 1970, finishing 10th overall.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1967
    Age 17
    After graduating from Pine Crest School in 1967, she entered Emory University, but was eventually expelled for jumping out a fourth-floor dormitory window wearing a parachute.
    More Details Hide Details She then enrolled at Lake Forest College in Illinois, where she played tennis for the Foresters and resumed swimming, concentrating on distance events. She soon came to the attention of Buck Dawson, director of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Florida, who introduced her to marathon swimming.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1952
    Age 2
    The Sneeds divorced in 1952, after which Lucy Sneed married Aristotle Z. Nyad, a Greek-Egyptian land developer, who adopted Diana.
    More Details Hide Details The family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she began swimming seriously in seventh grade. She was enrolled at the private Pine Crest School in the mid-1960s, swimming under the tutelage of Olympian and Hall of Fame coach Jack Nelson who, she has said, molested her when she was eleven years old. She won three Florida state high school championships in the Backstroke at 100 and 200 yards (91 and 183 m). She dreamed of swimming in the 1968 Summer Olympics, but in 1966 she spent three months in bed with endocarditis, an infection of the heart, and when she began swimming again she had lost speed.
  • 1949
    Born
    Nyad was born in New York City on August 22, 1949, to stockbroker William L. Sneed Jr. and his wife Lucy Winslow Curtis (1925–2007).
    More Details Hide Details Her mother was a great-granddaughter of Charlotte N. Winslow, the inventor of Mrs Winslow's Soothing Syrup, a popular morphine-based medicine for children teething that was manufactured from 1849 until the 1930s. She is also a great-grandniece of women's-rights activist Laura Curtis Bullard.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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