Diana Nyad, Practicing All Day And All Night

Diana Nyad, Practicing All Day And All Night

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

In preparation for her August 103-mile swim from Cuba to Florida, Diana Nyad has been out practicing – all day and all night since yesterday.

Dropped off about 50 miles off the Florida coast about halfway between Cuba and Florida, Diana is doing a long – really long – practice swim.

After doing 6-hour sets in a pool and up to 15-hour swims in the Caribbean in an intensive six-month training program, Diana appears confident that her 24-hour practice swim will go well today.

En route as she heads back to the American shore, her team reported via Twitter that ‘Diana is swimming perfectly and right on course. The gulf is like glass and we are very grateful…Diana is now 25 miles off coast with calm seas & warm waters. She’s stroking w/ great rhythm and endurance…!

While Diana’s feat at 60 years old is impressive enough, what is equally impressive to us is that – on a training swim – Diana is accompanied by an entourage of handlers, navigators, boat captains, ocean kayakers and medical support personnel – including American television coverage on CNN, filmed by camera men on a helicopter.

Despite being more than twice as old as she was during her first 41-hour attempt from Cuba to Florida in the 1970s, there are at least three major changes from the 1970s that will help Diana achieve her dream swim:

1. Greater awareness of the importance of hydration and refueling. Dr. Gupta reported that Nyad lost 29 lbs. (13 kg) during her lost on her last attempt from the Cuba to Florida. While we assume that most of that weight loss was due to dehydration, a 29-lb. weight loss in 41 hours must have been debilitating. We are sure that Diana will have the proper hydration/refueling formulas and schedule to prevent such a massive weight loss on her second attempt.

2. Enhanced shark protection. Instead of a shark cage that frankly can create turbulence, Diana will use a Shark Shield that Penny Palfrey has so effectively used on her tropical marathon swims amid sharks.

3. Improved navigation equipment. Her escort pilots can choose to utilize GPS, chart plotters, radar, AIS, computers, navigation programs and vastly improved communication via handheld television cameras, mobile communications and the Internet. Technology will most definitely increase the element of safety and her chances of success.

We have not checked Las Vegas yet, but our guess is that the oddsmakers favor Diana.

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones