On Monday (September 2), after 53 hours of swimming, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida, over 100 miles, without the use of a protective shark cage. It was her fifth try at the feat.
“With all the experience I have, especially in this ocean, I never knew I would suffer the way I did,” the 64-year-old swimmer tells CNN. “For 49 hours the wind just blew like heck, and it was rough.” Nyad reveals that she sang lullabies to herself to keep calm during the swim.
After arriving on shore to find dozens cheering her on, Nyad had three things to share. “One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team,” she says.
Nyad first attempted the swim in 1978, with a cage, but swells in the water slammed her into it and pushed her off-course. At age 60, she was determined to try again and did so every year until completing the task.
Diana had said previously that this would be her final attempt, whether she succeeded or not.