Hey, you know what’s badass? Being a 64-year-old female lesbian endurance swimmer and making history by becoming the only person in history to make the some 110-miles swim in open water from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, flippers or wet suit. Diana Nyad accomplished her 35-year dream of completing the unprecedented swim today after 52 hrs, 54 mins and 18.6 sec. This was her fifth and final try at the swim – other attempts had been stopped by jellyfish stings, boat troubles and storms. Today was a truly awe-inspiring feat of human endurance, determination and both physical and mental strength. Think about going that distance. Think about taking that time. Think about all that open water. There are not enough congratulations in the world. But, hey, here’s one from President Barack Obama.
Congratulations to @DianaNyad. Never give up on your dreams.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 2, 2013
My only complaint is in no way a reflection of Diana’s phenomenal accomplishment, which once again was phenomenal. But it’s about the terrible coverage given by the live TV crews covering the finish of her swim. When it became apparent she was going to land on a spot further down the beach, none of the live crews bothered to hoof it the 300 feet to catch her actually emerging from the water. NONE. I had three live local streams up as well as CNN (which was using a local feed as well) on my screen and they all showed either the back of a big throng of people way far down the beach and/or palm trees blowing gently in the wind at the historic moment. Cool, good job, guys. No worries, I’m sure tons of people do this all the time. Oh, wait, nope – she’s the only one. (Another swimmer made the crossing in 1997, but with a shark cage.)
The good news, PBS NewsHour did manage to run down the beach and catch her just post landing greeting her supporters. Thank you, public television. And congratulations, Diana Nyad. Dream your dreams because you’re never too old to be a total fucking badass.
Hey, did I mention she is 64? Yeah. Like I was saying, total badass.
UPDATE: Finally, some great footage from the Florida Keys county tourist development council.