PHOENIX, Arizona, September 3. IT should come as no surprise that we’re honoring Diana Nyad this week for her superb swim from Havana to the Florida Keys, a 110-mile swim that took her a little less than 54 hours to complete.
Nyad swam at a steady 51-stroke rhythm for the entire 54 hours, moving at about 1.5 miles per hour. The stroke rate might not seem very high, but imagine trying to hold a constant stroke rate for more than two straight days. Doesn’t seem so easy now, does it?
The new aspect of Nyad’s swim that helped her achieve this after 35 years of trying was a special mask and gloves that protected her from jellyfish stings. Those creatures are what derailed her last year, and this year she had special spotters in the water to help divert Nyad from schools of the jellyfish as an extra precaution.
Nyad said before she started the swim that it would be her last attempt at conquering the distance after four failed attempts. Perhaps something inside her knew this was going to be the year, or maybe she knew that she couldn’t spare the expense, effort and support for another try.
Oh, and I’ll also mention that she completed this swim at 64 years old. Diana Nyad’s swim has become an inspiration for people all over the world, and not just for open water swimmers or other endurance athletes. This has become the benchmark for all major athletic feats to be measured, and for that, Diana Nyad, you’ve earned the Speedo Performance of the Week. Heck, this might be the performance of a lifetime.