On Swimming and Being Diana Nyad

Diana Nyad Revealing Her Jellyfish Stings

Diana Nyad Revealing Her Jellyfish Stings

When I was swimming at my local pool, I remember sitting with the instructors and watching the students. They would be given the sets they were to do and there were several who would complain: “I can’t. That’s too much!”

It always fucking annoyed me. Because I know it can be done.

And I know because I know about Diana Nyad.

When I was telling my swim friend about how she was doing 12-hour training swims, he did a double-take.

“But she got rest in between, right? Surely she didn’t do it straight.”

And this was coming from a guy who is a proper swimmer and a fellow Ironman.

I think about Diana’s feat and her approach to the beach. Exhausted and finally able to stand on her feet and feel solid ground after 53 hours of swimming, she hobbled along until she was standing on the beach’s edge.

I hear her speak and understood: this is a celebration of the human spirit. The fuck-you to all the naysayers who say you can’t do it. It isn’t worth it. Why?

This is a testament to the one of the most human aspects of our being: belief. Maybe you have the strength but if you don’t have the belief, you are stuck at square 1.

So as I wonder back to those kids who said that they couldn’t swim 25 meters flat-out, I knew that theirs would be a very sad existence. Sad because they would never know the glory of defeat and the triumph of completion. Defeat is most often something that people avoid and strive not to repeat but it is in that journey that you move to the next step, should you choose so. There, however, is glory in defeat because what most do not know is that therein lies the mirror that shows you what you are truly made of.

If you see shit, you are shit.

And so my hat goes off to you, Ms Nyad. I would wish more people were like you but I know better not to ask such a thing. You are unique and in a class all by yourself. All I can wish for is to strive to be more like you.

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