Sixty-Year-Old Woman Will Try To Swim From Florida To Cuba

Diana Nyad is an International Swimming Hall of Fame member who made a splash in 1979 for swimming the more than 100 miles from the Bahamas to Florida. Next month, at the age of 60, she’s going for her second attempt to swim from the shore of Florida to the coast of Cuba. In an interview with NPR, Nyad talks with host Michel Martin about her planned swim, and how she refuses to let her age keep her out of the water. The link below will take you to the audio of the interview. I knew Nyad briefly when we were both working on our PhDs at NYU, way back when, so I wish her the best of luck. Here’s an excerpt:

MARTIN: Is there some significance of the Cuba to Florida swim. You know, why that run? Or is it just because you tried it before?

Ms. NYAD: No. There is. There was significance for me back then and there is significance now. Cuba, just like the English Channel, was a magical place and way back in 1875, the first man who swam it, he knows the history. You know, he’s an Englishman who grew up studying the Battle of Hastings. And everybody knows, you know, that stretch of water between the English Isles, the British Isles and the continent of Europe.

Well, here we are in the United States and what famous body of water sitting off the United States could be more significant politically, socially, anecdotally than the island of Cuba? They’ve been our wonderful neighbors and been isolated from us for all these years. I’ve been there many times. I adore the Cuban culture, the Cuban people, the Cuban music, the art, the architecture and the athletes and what they’ve accomplished.

So it’s nothing political whatsoever. But I’m just saying, everybody, Floridians, but all around the United States, you know, where is Cuba? It’s just our very close neighbor, but we don’t know those people and they don’t know us because we’ve been isolated. So it’s a famous stretch that body of water between Cuba and Florida. It means something.

For the complete interview go to http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128622289

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