Diana Nyad’s story defies athletic logic: She achieved at age 64 what she attempted to do unsuccessfully four times roughly 30 years earlier, namely swim from Cuba to Florida. The dream never died, and in 2013 she became the first person to swim from Havana to Key West without the aid of a protective shark cage. The ultimate endurance test took 53 hours. In “Find a Way,” she chronicles her quest, the seed of which was planted when she held the world record with a swim around Manhattan.
Here’s an excerpt from Find a Way:
“For thirty-five years, I always had some heroic oration in mind for the beach at the end of this grand quest. I had rehearsed a number of poetic phrases through the years. But that’s not the way it’s playing out. Swimming in those last few minutes, I am stunned. The moment sweeps me up and folds me into its intensity, and I have no words at all. Just emotions. Exploding emotions. And then, from some unconscious well of truth, words do flow. They speak the messages I authentically carried with me all the way across, all the way through the years of the endeavor.
“ ‘One: Never, ever give up.
“ ‘ Two: You’re never too old to chase your dreams.
“ ‘Three: It looks a solitary sport, but it’s a Team.
“For me, that moment on Smathers Beach was not a sports moment. It was a life moment. My feet touching that sand was my version of touching a star.”