On 31st August 1974, Diana Nyad became the first person at age 24 to cross Lake Ontario from north to south in 18 hours 20 minutes, during her attempt to complete the first two-way crossing. Accompanied by Cliff Lumsdon, her swim encountered extremely bad weather. After a 10-minute rest she started the return trip, but was removed from the water unconscious after 20 hours 30 minutes. The details of the swim and the associated training are well-described in Diana's both "Other Shores" which is an extremely stimulating and well-written book that is recommended reading for all aspirants of marathon swimming. She provides a frightening description of her ordeal with the sudden change of water temperature that occurred in Lake Ontario between two training swims - a feature of the Toronto shoreline that is characteristic of the whims of Lake Ontario.
Diana completed many swims on the Professional circuit and, for several years, was the top woman swimmer. The challenges of trying to earn a living as a marathon swimmer, and particularly as a woman, were features that Diana encountered during her time on the professional circuit - stories that are well-covered in "Other Shores". She broke the record for the swim around Manhatten Island and made three unsuccessful attempts to cross the English Channel. The riveting stories of these swims are also covered in her book "Other Shores". The book also describes her preparation for a Cuba to Florida swim - she subsequently completed a 103 mile swim from the island of Bimini (Bahamas) to Florida.
In 1986, she was inducted into the national Women's Sports Hall of Fame. Born in New York City and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Diana developed a highly successful career in television, radio and print. She some time as a popular motivational speaker but, more recently, has worked in KCRW radio with an obvious focus on sports and her programme The Score. See also Khaki Flynn's blog.
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Diana's Book Other Shores
Created: 1st January 2003
Last Updated: 6th March 2010