Diana Nyad (born 22 August 1949) is an endurance swimmer, professional marathon swimmer, author, journalist, and motivational speaker.
- 1 Nyad
- 2 Honors
- 3 Professional Marathon Swimming Career
- 4 Journalism Career
- 5 Cuba to Florida Swims
- 6 Early Marathon Swims
- 7 The Other Shore
- 8 Motivation
- 9 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nominations
- 10 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nominees
- 11 2015 WOWSA Award Nomination
- 12 Videos
- 13 EverWalk
- 14 How to Swim from Cuba to Florida
- 15 Dancing With The Stars
- 16 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women
- 17 FINIS Duo Underwater MP3 Player Advertisement
- 18 Publications
- 19 The Swimmer: The Diana Nyad Story
- 20 External links
- She was inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 1978.
- She received the Al Schoenfield Media Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2002.
- She received the Greta Andersen Trophy in 1970, given by the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation.
- She received the 1978 International Swimming Hall of Fame Buck Dawson Authors Award for her book Distant Shores.
Professional Marathon Swimming Career
- Nyad completed three 32 km Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean professional marathon swims in 1973 (9 hours 5 minutes 17 seconds), 1974 (9 hours 27 minutes 57 seconds), and 1975 (11 hours 23 minutes 35 seconds), and withdrew from the 1972 race (after 5 hours 47 minutes).
- She won the 1974 World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation championship title.
Nyad formerly hosted a weekly five-minute radio piece on sports for KCRW called 'The Score' (heard during KCRW's broadcast of NPR's "All Things Considered"), as well as for the Marketplace radio program. She also formerly hosted the public radio program "The Savvy Traveler" and was a sports broadcaster for National Public Radio, ABC's Wide World of Sports, Fox Sports, and The New York Times.
Cuba to Florida Swims
Since the late 1970s, it was Nyad's Xtreme Dream to swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida.
First Attempt: August 1978
Nyad first attempted to swim from Havana to Key West in 1978, at age 28, aided by a shark cage. After 42 hours, she was pulled from the water by team personnel.
Second Attempt: August 2011
Nyad attempted her second Cuba-Florida swim 33 years after her first attempt. She utilized shark shields but not a shark cage. After being pushed off course by strong cross-currents, she called off the attempt after 29 hours, at N 23 degrees 43.975' W 81 degrees 58.143' or 56.16 statute miles (48.8 nautical miles, 90.3776 km).
Third Attempt: September 2011
Nyad attempted the swim again approximately six weeks later. This time, she was pulled from the water after 37 hours due to jellyfish stings and strong cross-currents.
Nyad was nominated for the 2011 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year for her two attempts at swimming 103 miles from Cuba to Florida across the Straits of Florida at the age of 62 where she was ravaged by Box jellyfish.
Fourth Attempt: August 2012
Nyad began her fourth attempt on August 18, 2012.
Fifth Attempt: 2013
On 31 August 2013 at 8:59 am local time, Nyad began her fifth attempt to swim the Straits of Florida. 52 hours, 54 minutes later, 1:53 pm local time on 2 September, she walked ashore at Key West.
Her claims are widely contested within the marathon swimming community, and have yet to be independently verified by any swimming organization.
In an extensive discussion many questions were raised by the members of the Marathon Swimmers Forum discussion about feeding, currents, timing, observers and assistance. These included analysis of the swim time and speeds which indicated a faster than world record pace occurring over thirty hours into the swim.
A "review panel" teleconference populated by many well-known individual marathon swimmers and the members of the Diana Nyad team was held just over a week after the claimed end date of the swim, where many issues were discussed. When questioned about the lack of qualified observers, despite decades in the sport, Ms. Nyad said that she was unaware of the requirements. The speed was explained by navigator John Bartlett as an irregular current that runs counter to the normal south-west to north-east flow of the Florida Strait currents and of which there is no other record and no satellite record during the time period of the swim. Diana Nyad asserted no knowledge of pre-swim offers of assistance in setting up a Cuba to Florida swim association by IMSHOF member and honor administrator Ned Denison. Others who were on the same circulation confirmed receipt. Other issues were also discussed.
No public statement from the Review Panel was issued. Some individual panel members, all experienced marathon swimmers, have given a range of opinions from support to dismissal of her swim and claims. During the review panel repeated statements were made that actual hard data including charts and Observer's Logs would be subsequently released. No such disclosure of any supporting data or documentation has yet been made despite claims to the contrary by Diana Nyad or team members. The documentary The Other Shore, released within weeks of the swim, does not contain any footage from during the claimed successful swim.
Repeatedly since the swim, Diana Nyad has claimed a world record without any clarification of what record is being claimed and the lack of any Awarding Organisation. Two people have previously done assisted swims from Cuba to Florida and lack of any awarding organisation. In a marathonswimmers.org vote on the simple matter of Assisted or Unassisted members of the Marathon Swimmers Forum overwhelmingly voted in favor of Assisted. This would make Diana Nyad neither the first or fastest Assisted (not marathon) Cuba to Florida swimmer. No vote was held on the question of the legitimacy of her swim.
In a reddit.com AMA interview in January of 2014, Diana Nyad has continued to claim a world record and untruthfully asserted that she and her team answered all panel questions.
Most of the questions raised by experienced marathon swimmers worldwide remain unanswered is a claim by the Marathon Swimmers Federation. As of 2019, the swim has not been ratified or authenticated by the Marathon Swimmers Federation, but it has been long recognized since 2 September 2013 by the World Open Water Swimming Association that wrote the rules of the attempts and approved the onboard observers.
Early Marathon Swims
- In her twenties, she raced on the professional marathon swimming circuit and did her own adventurous solo swims.
- She swam around the world for ten years, swimming 40 km (25-mile) in the Suez Canal in Egypt, 35.4 km (22-mile) in the Nile River, 51.4 km (32-mile) along the Mexican coast, 41.8 km (26-mile) in the Parana River in Argentina, 32 km (20-mile) in the Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli in Italy, 49.8 km (31-mile) from St. Thomas to Virgin Gorda in the Caribbean Sea, 80.4 km (50-mile) along the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and 51.4 km (32-mile) in Lake Ontario.
- She participated in the 24 Heures La Tuque (or Le Marathon de 24 Heures de La Tuque), a non-stop 24-hour professional marathon relay in Quebec, Canada together with Gaston Paré, and is a member of the 24-hour club.
- On 31 August 1974, Nyad became the first person to cross Lake Ontario from north to south in 18 hours 20 minutes, during her attempt to complete the first two-way crossing as she was accompanied by Cliff Lumsdon. The swim was documented in her book, Other Shores.
- On 21 August 1979, she swam 60 miles (96.5 km) from North Bimini Island in the Bahamas to Juno Beach, Florida in 27 hours 38 minutes on 29 August 1979 on her second attempt at the age of 30. Her first attempt ended after 12 hours due to Portuguese man o war stings. Two weeks previous, Portuguese man-o-war stings ended her first Bahamas‐to‐Florida swim after 12½ hours.
- In 2013 NYCSwim Director Morty Berger NYCSwim Bio Link indicated on the New York Times website that since the 1970's NYCSwim had been trying to stop Diana Nyad falsely claiming a Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS) record NYT link.
- She competed in the 1975 24 Heures La Tuque, a 24-hour 2-person professional marathon swim with Sahar Mansour, finishing 7th.
The Other Shore
The Other Shore is a film about Nyad's attempts across the Straits of Florida. Created by Timothy Wheeler, The Other Shore follows Nyad as she comes out of a 35-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil's Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler's documentary brings Nyad's extraordinary adventure to life as she sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.
When asked her motivation for the Xtreme Dream, Diana explained, "Because I'd like to prove to the other 60-year-olds that it is never too late to start your dreams."
Nyad’s second attempt to complete this swim has gained the attention of thousands of supporters, including the official sponsorship by Secret Deodorant, which has created an entire social platform on Facebook for fans to share encouraging messages and support.
World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nominations
Charismatic and colorful. Engaging and eloquent. Persistent and popular. There are many adjectives to describe the well-known swimmer who has been attempting to swim from Cuba to Florida since 1978, but her love of the challenge and a deeply felt commitment to living her dream are in her DNA. While her attempts are reported widely in the press, it is her long hours of training that form the basis of her athleticism. Her inner drive to swim 5, 10, 15, and 20+ non-stop hours – repeatedly – as a 63-year-old enables her to keep her dream alive. Outside the swimming community, she is able to explain open water swimming and all its challenge in an educational and entertaining manner to the public. The popular motivation speaker wows non-swimming audiences with the allure of her Cuba Swim, the esoteric world of open water swimming, and its relationship to their own life goals. For her uncanny ability to connect with millions of non-swimmers, for her ability to live large, step on the accelerator and continue to seek her dreams at an age where most are slowing down, Diana Nyad is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimmer of the Year.
Nyad was also nominated for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
Nyad's nomination reads:
Few people in the world fail at something four times, and try again. Even fewer people fail at something for 35 years, and keep trying. But Diana Nyad kept her athletic dream alive for decades and finally achieved it at the age of 64. The charismatic media magnet and a former professional marathon swimmer from the 1970s dreamed, plotted, planned, and willed her way across 110 miles in the Straits of Florida from Cuba to Florida. 52 hours after swimming from shore to shore, her Xtreme Dream was finally realized. Faced with non-believers even among her team, she dramatically demonstrated why it is important to never give up on a dream no matter what your age. For her patience, for her belief in herself and her team, and for her relentless pursuit of a lifetime goal in the face of widespread doubt, Diana Nyad is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nominees
1. Axis Buoy by FINIS (U.S.A.)
2. Best Places To Swim by Orca (New Zealand)
3. Chillswim Coniston by Chillswim (Great Britain)
4. Find A Way by Diana Nyad (U.S.A.)
5. IOLITE by Stephen Holm, Raymond Rogers, Justin Peck (U.S.A.)
6. Lake Geneva Swimming Association by Ben Barham (Switzerland)
7. Madswimmers Charity Swims by Jean Craven (South Africa)
8. Samsung Boğaziçi Kıtalararası Yüzme Yarışı (Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim) by the National Olympic Committee of Turkey (Turkey)
9. Sting No More™ by Dr. Angel Yanagihara (U.S.A.)
10. Swim Across America (U.S.A.)
11. SwimCross (Switzerland)
12. SwimEars® by Hans Henrik Heming (Denmark)
13. Swimmit by Ivan Peralta (Spain)
14. SwimTrack by Evan Morrison (U.S.A.)
15. WEST (Water World Swimming Therapy) (Israel)
16. World Ice Swimming Championships (Russia)
2015 WOWSA Award Nomination
Find A Way by Diana Nyad
Diana Nyad wrote her memoirs about her tenacious 52 hour 54 minute swim from Havana, Cuba to the shores of Florida across the Gulf Stream and the Straits of Florida. Although her Cuba swim is the focus of the 304-page book, all kinds of lifetime experiences and recollections keep readers engaged throughout. Her eloquence comes through loud and clear as readers can derive a number of inspirational messages on how they can reach their own shores – no matter what the age or goals of the reader. For triumphantly completing her dream to dramatically swim from Cuba to Florida at the age of 64, for sharing her difficult, multi-decade path to realize this dream and infusing her story with all kinds of heart-felt advice, and for always encouraging and showing others how to chase their dreams no matter what their age, Diana Nyad’s Find A Way is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
Nyad talks about The Walk.
How to Swim from Cuba to Florida
Dancing With The Stars
Nyad danced with Henry Byalikov on the 18th season of Dancing With The Stars.
World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women
FINIS Duo Underwater MP3 Player Advertisement
Nyad has written four books:
- Find A Way won the International Autobiography of the Year in Sports Writing & Publishing from the Cross Sports Book Awards in June 2017.
- Other Shores is the story of a woman who fulfilled her psychological and emotional goals by pushing her body to its physical limits, published in 1978.
- Diana Nyad's Basic Training For Women includes a detailed physical fitness program which emphasizes aerobic activity, stretching exercises, and weight training and provides understanding and emotional support for pursuing physical fitness goals, published in September 1981 by Rh Value Publishing.
- Boss Of Me, The Keyshawn Johnson Story recounts how football player Keyshawn Johnson overcame homelessness, petty crime, troubles with the law that led to imprisonment in youth correctional facilities, and other problems, to become the highest-paid rookie in the National Football League.
The Swimmer: The Diana Nyad Story
She wrote and starred in a stage show at the Audible Theater in the Minetta Lane Theater in New York City on 26-28 September 2019 called The Swimmer: The Diana Nyad Story.
- Toughness Defined In The 1972 Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean
- Are You Tough? Really Really Tough? Check Out History's Tough Swimming Workouts
- Rowdy Gaines, The Voice Of Swimming, Describes How He Prepares For The Olympics
- Join Diana Nyad And Bonnie Stoll On GoHeja
- Looking Up Into The Sky For Energy At 24 Heures La Tuque
- Egyptians In Capri-Napoli: Marei Hassan Hammed And Ahmed Youssef Amin
- Reading, Not Racing. A Library Of Open Water Swimming Books
- Simon Griffiths Explains ‘Just Doing It’ On WOWSA Live
- Memorials & Monuments Of Open Water Swimming Greats
- A Possible Future For American Female Collegiate Athletic Opportunities
- Old-School Canadian Professional Race Posters
- The State of Female Opportunities In Sport In The U.S.
- Sandra Bucha Talks About Seeking Opportunities On WOWSA Live
- Miss Nyad at Last Swims From Bahamas to Florida
- Swimming In Sharky Waters
- What Was The Most Impactful Open Water Swim In World History?
- Binge Watching Swimming Over The Last Century
- Open Water Heroes Aren't Like In The Movies
- The Perfect Open Water Woman
- The Perfect Open Water Man
- Diana Nyad, Off-Broadway And Soon On Audible
- The Swimmer: The Diana Nyad Story
- The World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women
- Diana Nyad Official Website
- Mr Poenisch successfully sued Ms. Nyad for libel
- marathonswimmers.org Forum discussion of the claimed swim
- Lost At Sea, the story of Walter Poenisch and Diana Nyad and the first assisted Cuba to Florida swim
- NYT article where NYCSwim Director makes public Diana Nyad's past fraudulent claims
- reddit.com AMA
- Official bio on American Public Media
- International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame website
- Diana Nyad Across Lake Ontario
- Solo Swims of Ontario
- The Other Shore Movie
- Diana Nyad's Great Regret
- She Takes A Long Swim Off A Short Pier
- Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean results 1955-2012
- Updated 24-Hour Club
- 30 Open Water Swimmers Known By One Name
- The Shark Diver Controversy In Ocean Swimming
- 24 + 48 = A Lot Of Swimming From Palm Springs To New York
- Publicizing Heroes And Heroines Of Open Water Swimming
- Deep-seated Reasons For Another Cuba-to-Florida Attempt
- The Cuba Swim, Traditional Marathon Swimming It Is Not
- The Perfect Female Open Water Swimmer
- When Jellyfish Replace Sharks
- Disciplined Research On Jellyfish Proposed
- Thrice As Nice, Swimming Across Lake Ontario
- Seeds Sown On Land Results In Dream In Water
- Lessons Learned From Diana Nyad
- Impossible Was Made Possible With An Xtreme Dream
- Sting Stopper Does The Trick For Diana Nyad
- The Audacity Of Hope
- Getting (to) The Other Shore
- Swim Streamers In Open Water Swimming
- Diana Nyad's Face Mask By Aesthetic Prosthetics
- Eloquently Explaining The 'Why' Of Open Water Swimming
- 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman Of The Year Nominees
- Within 50 Years Will It Be Crossed?
- What Goes Around Comes Around
- John Bartlett Unexpectedly Passes Away
- Swimming Through The Night On The Florida Straits
- The Cyclical Nature Of American Media Coverage
- 24-hour Club…Swimming All Day And Night
- Swimming And Finding A Way
- Hang Up The Goggles, Put On The Dancing Shoes
- Top 25 Individuals In Openwaterpedia
- Dancing With The Stars
- Women versus Men In The Open Water World
- Marathon Swimmers Federation To Test Stinger Suits
- When Are Stinger Suits Used?
- The Turbulent Traversée, Jan Van Scheijndel In Lac St-Jean
- The Perfect Ideal Of A Female Swimmer
- Diana Nyad To Deliver Commencement At Middlebury
- Sharp As A Swimmer, The Mervyn Marathon Magic
- What Are Swimmers Known As?
- The Inherent Danger Of It All
- Onward Is An Evening Very Well-Spent
- Swimming Around Manhattan Over The Past 100 Years
- NYC Swim website
- Find a Way - One Wild and Precious Life
- Landmarks, Monuments And Memorials Of Open Water Swimmers
- Memorials & Monuments Of Open Water Swimming Greats
- Remembering Great Open Water Swimmers
- Wandering Samurai In The Open Water
- Absolutely Painful Open Water Swims Of The 21st Century
- World's Top 100 Open Water Swims In History
- Ori Sela And Friends Mask The Pain Of Salt Mouth
- Diana Nyad's Finds A Way
- Labatt's History In Open Water Swimming
- 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering Of The Year Nominees
- Nominees For The 2015 WOWSA Awards
- Find A Way On Tour
- Is There A Doctor On Board?
- Marine Cooperation Between Cuba And America Starts
- Great Britain, The Epicenter Of Open Water Swimming
- If She Can Do It, We Can Do It
- Find A Way Among Top 100 Books
- Angel Yanagihara Heads To Ireland Under Fulbright Program
- Marathon Swimming
- Open Water Swimming
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- The California Open Water Swimming Oasis
- Inequality In The Open Water, Part 1
- Duo Benefits: Being Engaged While Swimming
- Diana Nyad Shifts From Water To Dryland On EverWalk
- You Are Not Alone Walking From Los Angeles To San Diego
- Ida Elionsky Leaves A Legacy In The Open Water
- Trump versus Clinton, Part 3 of 3
- Diana Nyad, Bonnie Stoll To Start EverWalk On Sunday
- Vastly Underestimating Capabilities, Learning How To Fish
- Two Hall Of Famers And Fidel Castro
- Swimming, Boating, Rafting From Cuba To Florida
- International Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame Origins
- World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation History
- Leap In From Dryland To The Open Water
- Diana Nyad Wins International Autobiography of the Year
- Gray Matter: The World's Most Epic Swims
- Updated 24-Hour Club
- 24-hour Club…Swimming All Day And Night
- Swimming For More Than 24 Hours
- Hidden Figures, Not Now, Not Ever
- History's Hardest Swimming Workouts
- David Yudovin's New Memorial - And Other Landmarks
- Open Water Swimming Dual Inductees And Dual Honorees
- Tim Johnson's History of Open-Water Marathon Swimming
- Diana Nyad Finds Her Way To Off-Broadway