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Diana Nyad Swims Into the History Books

The phenomenal 64-year-old becomes the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.

September 2013 | Declan O'Kelly
Diana Nyad Swims Into the History Books

64-year-old swimmer Diana Nyad is not the usual Muscle & Fitness subject, but there is something that we can all learn from this incredible woman.

The amazing journey that Nyad has taken to achieve her goal of swimming from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage brings the famous quote by Irish writer Samuel Beckett to mind. He wrote: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."

Nyad failed in her first attempt to make the swim in 1978. It would be 33 years before she tried the feat again, but she came up short again and would do so on two more attempts.

On four occasions she failed and was physically wrecked along the way. On more than one occasion she was stung mercilessly by box jellyfish and figuratively by the tentacles of failure. But, she did not give in, and she did not give up.

She learned from her previous efforts and put all that hard-earned, painful experience to good use again. On her fifth attempt, she set out with a support team of 35 and swam in a suit specially made to shield her from those box jellyfish that cursed some of her previous efforts. Nyad recognized that, at 64, this might be her last attempt, and she went for it, going all-out to make the 110-mile journey. 53 hours later, swollen and dizzy, she made it to the beach at Key West. Nyad's mantra is simple:

Among the millions she has inspired was none other than The Rock, who sent this congratulatory tweet:

After our own editor-in-chief Shawn Perine tweeted congratulations of his own, he came up with this gem of a stat that not many know:

Here is some footage of Nyad after she arrived at Key West. No need to set this up, just watch, take her advice and apply it to whatever journey you are taking. Now, what's your excuse?

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