August 09, 2011

Swimmer Fails in Havana-Florida Bid: Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, 61, has abandoned her bid to become the first person to swim the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. Twenty nine hours into the effort, she was beset by ocean swells, shoulder pain and asthma. "I would be lying to say I'm not deeply, deeply disappointed," she told CNN. "This was a big dream, not just of the last two years but some 30 years ago when I tried it."

posted by rcade to olympics at 01:57 PM - 2 comments

Kind of amazing that someone's tried it, but what strikes me as odd is the contradiction between these two things:

"The swim was in me," she said, but the conditions were not on her side.


Nyad said it was unlikely that she would attempt the Cuba to Florida swim again.

If it really was "in you", I would assume that given different conditions, you'd get out and do something again, wouldn't you? There's no shame in saying "I can't do something" if you bit off more than you could chew.

posted by dfleming at 06:19 PM on August 09, 2011

Well, the prep for this attempt was all out and incredibly demanding from what I can tell. And the team costs were somewhere around 500K. Kind of like a small version of an America's Cup campaign. I don't think you can reload and go again just like that even if you went back into training after a recovery period and re-achieved total wellness and fitness.

She'd have to wait another year at least to get into the July - August time window where the ocean temps in the Straits get back up to the high 80's. Interestingly, with hypothermia one of the concerns, she was several hours away from getting into the band of 87-88 degree water she needed to reach to avoid hypothermia over the last leg of the swim when she ended the attempt. She was in like mid-80's degree water when she stopped. Evidently one or two degrees of water temp makes a tremendous difference, especially once you've used up your stored fat and are burning protein.

So even if her health had held up, she was going to need to get to the warmer water before her body temp started getting dangerously low.

I think she was saying that she had this attempt in her - she was convinced that she could make it at her age in her condition. But I think she had already said that regardless of the outcome, this was going to be it for her.

She is such an interesting study. Prior to training for this attempt, she had not done any swimming since the late 70's due to burnout. Amazing that she could get so focused, re-dedicated and re-energized after all those years out of the water.

Rcade posted this topic under olympics but I don't know where it really belongs. I don't know if extreme is even the best category. Maybe interplanetary or something.

posted by beaverboard at 08:43 PM on August 09, 2011

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