Nyad, Diana

Nyad, Diana nī´ăd [key], 1949–, American distance swimmer, b. New York City as Diana Sneed, grad. Lake Forest College, 1973. She began swimming seriously as a teenager, becoming interested in distance swimming in college. She set the women's record (8 hr 11 min) in the Bay of Naples race (22 mi/35 km) in 1974, swam the 28.5 miles (45.9 km) around Manhattan in 7 hr 57 min in 1975, and set a distance record for swimming without a wetsuit (102 mi/164 km from Bimini, Bahamas, to Juno Beach, Fla.) in 1979. In 2013 she became the first person to swim the the Straits of Florida (110 mi/180 km) from Havana, Cuba, to Key West, Florida, without a shark cage. Her fifth attempt since 1978, the swim took 52 hr 54 min her previous attempts had been thwarted by severe weather and jellyfish stings. Some questioned the feat because she used a special mask and full-body suit (to protect against jellyfish) and she achieved unusual speeds at times, but the fastest parts of her journey were apparently aided by strong currents.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.