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Diana Nyad Completes Swim of a Lifetime

By Jody Smith HERWriter
 
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Diana Nyad Completes Swim of a Lifetime 0 5
Diana Nyad succeeds in the swim of a lifetime
MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

On Monday, Sept. 2, 2013, Diana Nyad came out of the water and walked onto the Florida shore under her own steam after swimming for 53 hours. She'd started out on this monumental journey 110 miles away in Havana, Cuba.

At the age of 64, Nyad is now the first person to make this swim without the protection of a shark cage. Instead she swam surrounded by an electrical field.

I wrote about Nyad's attempt last year with a sense of regret. I was thrilled that she had done so well with that herculean task. But I hated to have to say that she didn't hit her goal.

This year, though, I am delighted to be able to congratulate Nyad along with the rest of the world for her amazing success.

Fifth time, apparently, was the charm. Her first try was in 1978 at the age of 28 when her goal was to swim across the Florida Straits. Her second, third and fourth attempts occurred during 2011 and 2012.

She has learned much from each of her earlier forays -- both what to do and what not to do. This time she was in booties, gloves, a mask and full bodysuit during night time hours to protect her from the painful stings of jellyfish that come to the surface then. In her last swim she had been hurt badly by jellyfish.

These items kept her safe from the jellyfish but her mask bruised her mouth, which made communicating with her team difficult. After the first night, she ditched the mask. She applied a specially-made protective cream at night after that instead.

Any eating Nyad did was done in the water. When the water at night became punishingly cold, she opted not to eat, on the chance that if she kept swimming it might keep her body temperature up better.

When Nyad walked out of the water, she said that she didn't accomplish this alone, giving credit to her team. She enouraged the crowd of onlookers not to let age stop them from going after their dreams

The next day Nyad talked on "CBS This Morning" about the fact that all of us have hardships and challenges that are tough to go through.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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