Diana Nyad Feels the Sting of Disappointment as She Abandons Her Swim

The 62-year-old swimmer's fourth attempt at a Cuba-to-U.S. swim is derailed by jellyfish and weather.

Ouch, that hurts: Diana Nyad's swollen face is from a series of jellyfish stings. Nyad abandoned her fourth attempt to swim to the U.S. from Cuba. (Photo: Reuters)

Aug 21, 2012
Jeannine Stein, a California native, wrote about health for the Los Angeles Times. In her pursuit of a healthy lifestyle she has taken countless fitness classes, hiked in Nepal and got in a boxing ring.

Endurance swimmer and eternal optimist Diana Nyad abandoned her fourth attempt at swimming from Cuba to the U.S. this morning as jellyfish stings and inclement weather put her off course.

CNN reported that Nyad swam for 60 hours and was about at the halfway point of the 103-mile trip when the plug was pulled. Footage of the swimmer showed her with a red, swollen face from the stings.

Writing on Nyad’s Web site, Steve Munatones said, “Her pursuit of this dream pushed her athletically, organizationally, financially and emotionally. In her pursuit, she inspired many individuals. The Cuba Swim became not just her own personal dream for selfish reasons, but a symbol of living one’s own dreams however small or ambitious.”

MORE: Exercise May Lower Breast Cancer Risk

Few would dare fault the 62-year-old Nyad for attempting the swim, or for bailing when she did, considering most of us have trouble digging ourselves out of bed in the morning.

Munatones said that at one point Nyad was stung at least nine times by box jellyfish. Not familiar with the creatures? According to National Geographic they possess “frighteningly powerful venom” that is “so overpoweringly painful, human victims have been known to go into shock and drown or die of heart failure before even reaching shore.”

Good times.

What sport psychologist Eddie O'Connor said about Nyad’s aborted attempt in 2011 in the L.A. Times holds true a year later: "It's not so much about achieving your goal but how you went about achieving your goal. When you can focus on the process and give 100 percent, you walk away with such a sense of growth and accomplishment, knowing that you gave it your best.”

On CNN, Nyad’s operations chief Mark Sollinger summed up the journey by saying, "It's a cross between being down, being so tired because everyone wanted this so much, and a huge sense of accomplishment. Nobody in the world would even attempt this, but we did."

Has Diana Nyad inspired you to do something significant? Let us know in the comments.

Related Storieso on TakePart:

• More of Us Are Walking, But We're Still Not Getting Enough Exercise

• Yoga on the Go: Our 3 Favorite Yoga Apps

• Gyms Provide a Haven for the Overweight

Show Comments ()

More on TakePart

Following the Bees, Weather, and Waterways That U.S. Produce Needs to Thrive