Over the past twenty years, Diana has earned a reputation as a riveting speaker. She combines her talent for dramatic storytelling with a natural sense of humor and a charismatic stage presence. She never uses notes. She speaks from her heart and her audiences are left both entertained and inspired.
In 1979, Diana Nyad plunged into the history books by completing the longest swim in history. The distance was 102.5 miles from the coast of Bimini to the Florida shore. This incredible world record, the longest swim by a man or a woman without the aid of a cage, still stands today. Diana was front page news throughout the Western world, the lead story for Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News, and many times guest of the Tonight Show.
She broke numerous world records, including the 45-year-old mark for circling Manhattan Island (7 hrs, 57 min) in 1975. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1986. Nyad was honored with her induction in the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2003.
She currently provides a weekly five-minute radio piece on sports for KCRW called The Score (heard during KCRW’s broadcast of NPR’s “All Things Considered“), as well as for the Marketplace radio program. She formerly hosted the public radio program “The Savvy Traveler.”
Nyad graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Lake Forest College in 1973.
On July 10, 2010, at the age of 60, she began her “EXTREME DREAM”, an open water training for a 60-hour, 103-mile swim from Cuba to Florida, a task she had failed to finish thirty years previously. When asked her motivation, she replied, “Because I’d like to prove to the other 60-year-olds that it is never too late to start your dreams.” She was scheduled to make the swim in August/September of 2010, but bad weather forced her to cancel. Nyad’s second attempt to complete this swim at age 61 gained international support and coverage by CNN and many media, plus gained the attention of thousands of supporters, including the official sponsorship by Secret Deodorant. Ultimately the swim took place the summer of 2011 and she made it — half way and had to stop because of strong unforseen currents pushing her in the wrong direction as well as extreme pain mostly caused by multiple box jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war stings…
Here is her speech at the prestigious TED MED conference: