Diana Nyad, 61, is our badass of the week for a fairly straightforward reason: yesterday, she commenced her attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida. The trek covers 103 miles of shark-infested water, and will take about two and a half days.
It’s not the first time that Nyad has tried to make the swim. In 1978, when she was 28 years old, she sought to cover the same distance but too-cold waters and too-large swells deterred her. This time around, she says she’s not so much trying to make up for past regrets as she is trying to prove that life doesn’t end at 60. According to CNN:
“When I walk up on those shores of Florida, I want to prove to the AARP crowd that it’s not too late to go back and write that book or adopt that child,” she said.
On Sunday, she said: “The joke is the 60s are the new 40s, and it’s true. … I want to be there to say we have many, many years of vitality and strength and service left in us.”
While I’m not sure that I agree that adopting a child at 60 is necessarily the right thing for everyone, that doesn’t negate the fact that Nyad is a fucking badass.
Oh, and did I mention she’s doing this swim without a shark cage? Instead, there will be devices that emit “harmless but annoying,” says CNN, electrical impulses to keep sharks at bay, and experts on board to distract those animals that get a little too curious, but Nyad has insisted that no sharks be harmed in the swimming of this stretch of water.
If she completes the trek, I think it’s safe to say that she’ll have proved her point. From there on out, any time someone at a party is like, “I don’t know if a 60-year-old can [fill in the blank]” you could be like, “yeah, well, what about that one chick who swam from Cuba to Florida at age 61?”