• Tue, Jul 19 2011

Woman, 61, to Swim 103 Miles in Shark-Infested Waters

A 103-mile, 60-hour swim from Cuba to Key West — that’s the goal of 61-year-old Diana Nyad who will attempt to accomplish a goal she didn’t meet when she was 28. If she completes this, not only will she realize a life-long dream at an age when many people no longer think extreme physical accomplishments are possible, but she will be the only person to have made the swim without doing so in a shark cage.

“She is up against the most outlandish, outrageous, unbelievable physical endurance activity of, certainly, my lifetime,” champion open-water swimmer Steven Munatones told the New York Times. “I can’t imagine being in the ocean for 60 hours. I can’t imagine doing anything for 60 hours. It is inconceivable. It simply is. Especially at her age.”

But according to Nyad, her age is anything but a deterrent:

So many people are feeling at 60, disenfranchised, irrelevant, displaced in the workplace, they’re made to feel old. We should be in the prime of our lives. The feeling I get is, I’m 60 and a lot of you out there are 60. Look what we can do. That’s the feeling that overwhelms me. I started thinking, I am not irrelevant and I want to feel my power. So, yes I started dreaming about it as a personal dream, but honestly, more than that, I feel like I’m the representative of all those relevant, in-their-prime people.

When she first attempted this swim in 1978, she swam inside a shark cage for 41 hours 49 minutes until the turbulent water and powerful current forced her to give up. A year later, she swam 102 miles from the Bahamas to Jupiter, FL, without a shark cage–an endeavor that earned her the record for the world’s longest ocean swim. Now, even though she is more than 30 years older, she claims she is stronger and more physically and mentally fit than ever. Plus, she wants to set an example for other people her age.

When I walk up on that shore in Florida, I feel the collective presence of people my age and I hope they’re going to see me and they’re going to say, “Did you see that? That woman went back and chased her dreams, and we can.” You don’t give up.

Watch her incredibly motivating story here and then tell us, what are your dreams?

Photo: dianenyad.com

 

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