I’m not much of a swimmer. I never took lessons but I had lots of opportunities as a child, on family vacations and such, to learn the basics. My mother didn’t swim and it was important to her that my siblings and I be able to, at least, tread water if the need ever arose. Eventually, I became quite the “dog paddler” and proficient at the “cannonball”.
Later on I attended a small liberal arts college where, in my third year, I learned through the grapevine that there was a “swimming requirement” for graduation.
“What?!” I said. “I have to be able to swim to graduate? You’re kidding!”
It was true. I had to pass a simple test involving a few laps in the pool and a few minutes of treading water in order to get my diploma. I had to take the test twice before I passed.
Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, whose lifelong dream is to swim in open water from Havana, Cuba to the Florida keys is making a third attempt this weekend. She intends to swim 103 miles without a protective shark cage and she’s doing it one week in advance of her sixty-third birthday.
She tried to accomplish her goal twice last summer but failed once, due to an asthma attack and then because of dangerous jellyfish stings. This time, Nyad will be wearing a protective suit, will travel with a team reportedly as large as fifty people, and expects to take at least sixty hours to complete the swim.
While I admire her determination in attaining her goal, should I ever find myself in a situation where I need to get from Cuba to Florida I’m certain that I won’t be swimming. I love the ocean and I love the beach but I prefer to enjoy it in the shade with a rum runner or a milkshake.
Is Diana Nyad crazy or determined?
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