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Monday, September 2, 2013

Impossible Was Made Possible With An Xtreme Dream

We were the first to admit that we thought a solo swim, an Xtreme Dream by Diana Nyad from Cuba to Florida was impossible.

No way, no how. It could not be done. There were just way too many obstacles for her to overcome.

A list of reasons why the swim could not be done was effectively answered by a woman after more than 52 hours in the water and 35 years of disappointment.

First and foremost were the box jellyfish.

The venom made by these creatures of pain was off-the-charts and led to 3 previous failures by Nyad. But Nyad found a solution. She literally engineered the solution onto her face and down her throat. She knew first hand how debilitating the box jellyfish stings were, so she covered her body from head to toe. Not one centimeter of her body was exposed. This was the only way for her to withstand the onslaught of the box jellyfish.

But even when she sealed herself with protection, her suit of armor led to additional problems. It not only made her swimming slower, but it was also unbelievably claustrophobic. How in the world could she swim with a mouthpiece for half the night? She would choke. But Nyad trained and trained and trained with her mouthpiece and stinger suit and learned to deal with the weight and uncomfortableness of her manufactured cocoon of protection.

Secondly, there were giant eddies caused by the greatest flow of water known to mankind, the Gulf Stream. Enough to blow her literally straight out to sea where the chances of hitting Bermuda were greater than landing on Florida.

Thirdly, the reality of the salt water eating into her mouth, lips, tongue, and every bit of soft tissue was too painful to imagine. Without a doubt, her mouth, tongue, and lips would swell to inhumanly grotesque proportions, but there was also the possibility of her throat swelling up and her losing her ability to breathe normally.

Fourthly, the punishing and cumulative effects of winds, rain, ocean swells, turbulence, and whitewater were too much to imagine. How was it possible to have a window of 50-70 hours where she could avoid an angry sea and avoid storms and hurricanes that are so unpredictable and prevalent?

Fifthly, 103 non-stop miles is a huge distance no matter what kind of shape and iron-will mindset Nyad has. But combined with her 64 years on the planet, was it possible for a 64-year-old to swim 103 miles in the tropical heat of the day and the falling temperatures at night swimming without sleep over 2 nights and 3 days?

Sixly, there were others - younger and faster than Nyad - who attempted and failed at crossing the Straits of Florida. This stretch of 103 miles between two countries had first been attempted in 1950 and it went unconquered for 63 long years for all kinds of reasons.

Lastly, there was the threat of sharks, but frankly with her shark diver team, the probability of being attacked by a shark was miniscule.

It is a pretty incredible swim when the least of Nyad's concerns are sharks. But she made the impossible possible.



For more information on Nyad's swim, visit here.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

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The Other Shore


The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.
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