August 30, 2010

Getting Back in the Water

As some of you know, I use to be a competitive swimmer. This summer I got back in the pool for the first time since college to begin training to race again for my 50th birthday with the Minuteman Masters Swim Club.  For years I’ve been curious to find out how fast I can swim at this ripe old age. I for sure am not as strong right now as I was thirty years ago, but I do perhaps have a few things working in my favor in that I am leaner, and eat more healthfully than I did in college, and I'm hopefully more mentally prepared.

Maybe, maybe not….it gives me butterflies in my stomach just writing this.

In high school I use to be a fan of long distance swimmer Diana Nyad who just turned 61. She caught my attention when she first swam across Lake Ontario from my hometown to Toronto. In 1979 she set the world record for the longest consecutive swim ever between the Bahamas and Florida (102.5 miles). She was also the first woman to ever swim around Manhattan Island- breaking the men's record.

In 1978 she attempted to swim 103 miles from Cuba to Key West but was interrupted by rough seas.  I just found out that this year, after not swimming for 30 years, she decided for her 60th birthday to try it again this summer.

Currently Diana and her team are waiting for the weather to clear for her to begin her approx 60-65 hour swimming journey from Cuba to Key West without a shark cage-which hopefully will be any day now.  I've been checking her Facebook page daily for updates, and in my own small way cheering her on. I thought that her attempt at this amazing feat (at any age) might also interest some of you.

See below for a short video interview with Diana Nyad.