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short biography

American marathon swimmer, writer, public figure. Born in New York in 1949. Parents, William Snead, stockbroker, mother of Lucy Winslow Curtis.

Diana was only three years old when her parents divorced, and her mother married a Greek, Aristotle named Nyad. The mother’s new husband adopted the girl by registering his name, Nyad, and transported them to Florida in Fort Lauderdale.

In this city, starting from the 7th grade, Diana began to seriously engage in swimming, showing decent results for her age. In 1960, she was enrolled in a private school of the Olympic reserve, where her coach was the Olympic swimming champion, Jack Nelson. Diana’s swimming results have progressed. She won three Florida state championships.

The cherished dream of a young swimmer to participate in the 1968 Olympic Games did not come true. Endocarditis, an infection of the heart, confined her to bed for three months. When health allowed me to return to swimming, I could not already show the results of speed, as before.

After graduating from school in 1967, Diana went to Emory University, from where she was expelled, but jumped out of the window of the fourth floor with a parachute. Transferred to Lake Forest College. Here she resumed swimming, focusing on marathon distances. The head of the international swimming organization, Buck Dawson, drew attention to the young swimmer and her results. He helped develop Diana’s abilities in marathon discipline, and under his leadership she set her first record, 4 hours 22 minutes, among women at a distance of 16 km. In 1973, having received a teacher’s diploma in English and French, she continued her education in South Florida.


She wrote and published four autobiographical books. Many US magazines and publications printed her articles about her life and training for women. With her best friend Bonnie Stoll, they created a company called Brave Body, which provides online counseling on exercises for women over 40.

She led programs on public national radio. A regular participant in the CBS News television show, Sunday morning.

Records in swimming

• Overcame a 35-kilometer swim in the Gulf of Naples in 8 hours 11 minutes, 1974

• In 1975, Nyad set a national record for swimming 45 kilometers in 7 hours 57 minutes near Manhattan Island, she was only 26 years old.

• After the lifting of sanctions in relations with Cuba, 1978, attempted to cover a distance of 80 km from Cuba to Texas in a protective cage from sharks. After swimming in the ocean for almost 122 km in 42 hours, due to the rising storm, doctors banned the marathon.

• On her 30th birthday, in August 1979, Diana set a world record for women and men, swimming without a cage from sharks in 28 hours, a distance of 102 km.

• The biggest and most significant achievement of Diana Nyad was the swim in August 2013 from Cuba to Florida without a cage from sharks for 177 km.

64-year-old swim from Cuba to Florida

This outstanding marathon race, Diana Nyad with her team, was able to complete after a long preparation from the fifth attempt.

Preparation began in 2010 from January to June. Sailed from 16 to 64 km per week. When Diana was asked why she needed this venture, she replied that she wanted to prove to the other 60-year-old that age was not an obstacle to fulfilling her dream.

It is believed that the first attempt Diana made in her youth, in 1978.

The second, in August 2011, ended after 29 hours due to strong currents and winds, blowing the swimmer off course.

The third, September 2011, was interrupted after 41 hours. Diana had already sailed 124 km, but because of the bites of jellyfish the marathon was stopped.

August 2012, the fourth attempt. More than in previous attempts, and on the third day, because of the oncoming storms, the marathon had to be stopped.

In the fifth attempt, Diana had a protective swimsuit, a silicone cap, gloves from jellyfish bites. The weather turned out to be successful and on August 31, 2013, starting a swim in Havana, swimming almost 180 km in 53 hours, Diana Nyad, about 2 o’clock in the morning, went ashore on a beach in Key West Florida.

So the swimmer proved to everyone that age is not a reason to abandon her dream.

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