NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Diana Nyad swam nonstop for 53 grueling hours — through shark-infested waters, without a cage or flippers — to complete her historic swim from Cuba to Florida. But she told her support team that at one point, swimming through the night almost broke her.
After four failed attempts, the successful swim was the culmination of a lifelong dream for Nyad, CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported Tuesday.
She first attempted the feat in 1978, but high winds pushed her off-course.
Then after turning 60, she made three more unsuccessful attempts, thwarted by health problems and painful stings from jellyfish.
This time, Nyad overcame all of the obstacles and the odds.
Just hours after finishing the 110-mile journey Monday, Nyad appeared — sore, sunburned and with swollen tongue and lips — to give her fans a message.
“Hardships … find a way. You’ll make it through,” she said.
Even President Obama tweeted his congratulations, repeated Nyad’s mantra, “Never give up on your dreams.”
It’s a lesson that Nyad said applies at any age.
“Looking at me as a baby boomer, and saying, ‘Life is not over at this age, by any means,'” she said.
As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, the message is resonating with some local athletes.