I nearly didn’t read this article but I’m glad I did because it is a flag bearer for mental toughness – how a 64 year old swam with grit, resilience and a belly full of sea water through the 100 miles of shark infested waters between Cuba and Florida. I can’t swim and so the width of the local swimming pool is the limit of my courage but I enjoyed flicking through Gear Patrol’s colourful and evocative “In Deep: 10 Most Challenging Open Water Swims”
One of the swims, the Straits of Florida, had been completed only once before, in 1997, by Australian Susie Maroney who swam in a cage to protect her from sharks and jelly fish. However in 2013, American Diana Nyad swam for 53 hours straight to complete the swim without a cage.
During her press conference she recounted:
“The 13 hours of Saturday night I swallowed tremendous volumes of sea water. Then I started vomiting constantly. As soon as that happens, and you can’t replace the food, protein, electrolytes, you’re in a bad place. That night was hell on earth. The thing about aging is that the clock seems to be ticking faster as you get older.
I wanted the swim, this endeavor, not to just be the athletic record. I wanted it to be a lesson to my life that says, ‘Be fully engaged. Be awake and alert and alive every minute of every day.’
What an inspiring swim which takes purpose and a huge dose of mental toughness but what a great quote on making the most of your life too –
“Be awake and alert and alive every minute of every day.”
I’m always in interested in stories like these so please let me know if you come across similar tales of resilience.