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Realizing The Dream With Diana Nyad

When Diana Nyad puts her mind to something, stand back, stand by or stand up.

She is now officially on notice for her 103-mile attempt between Cuba and Florida. The 61-year-old swimmer’s Xtreme Dream can start as soon as the weather and water conditions cooperate. It could happen any day during the first few weeks of July.

To swim 103 miles (165.7K) is not only a physical feat beyond imagination, but it is also a goal that only a few humans in history could even realistically contemplate. Yet Diana seems ready like no other time in her life.

She explains, “I am in monstrous shape. An arduous series of long swims through the winter and spring in St. Maarten between 8 to 15 hours at a time, I am brimming with confidence, in terms of muscular, cardiovascular, and mental preparation. I’m strong as a bull.”

But even Diana can be humbled by the scale of what is ahead of her. “Don’t think I’m not duly awestruck by the daunting 60 hours ahead. It’s going to be a bear. But I can take solace in truly knowing that I just couldn’t have prepared any better. There was no stone left unturned.”

She is looking for peak water temperatures in the Gulf Stream as one of her optimal conditions. Then, once the water temperatures reach 86°F (30°C), Diana and her team will wait for a forecast of dead calm, called The Doldrums.

This year, unlike in the past, Diana will arrive in Havana ahead of time and train off the coast. Training in Cuba provides a huge advantage. Once The Doldrums arrive, Diana can immediately pick up and go. With the longest ocean swim on record, everything must go according to plan. Her operations team has worked with her so closely over the past year so every logistical and operational advantage has been studied and planned for.

As it has with many points in history, CNN will broadcast the event live throughout as Tim Wheeler shoots the official documentary. Yahoo, AOL, New York Times, BBC, NPR, Washington Post,, Chicago Tribune, and hundreds of other media outlets will also report on her swim.

Diana explains her dream in eloquent terms, “After turning 60 a couple of years ago, I was wracked with regrets from many periods of my life. And I was similarly suffering despair at the thought of such little time left. I turned to this lingering Dream of swimming from Cuba to experience Commitment again, to feel the privilege of needing every ounce of the best within me to play out every single day. And for these two years now, all the regrets have faded. All the existential angst of life hurtling toward its precious end has disappeared. This is the way I want to live my life. Full-tilt commitment.”

From our perspective, her passion, her desire to fulfill her potential and her commitment to realize her life’s biggest dreams are characteristics that are desirable for every open water swimmer – and every human to reach from here and there.

In Diana’s case, from here to there is an historic, mind-boggling 103 miles between Cuba and Florida. She is living her Dream.

Photo by Karen Christensen.

Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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