In Greek mythology, the naiads were, basically, water nymphs, presiding over fountains, wells, springs, streams and brooks.
Lesbian athlete and former NPR reporter Diana Nyad, 61, hopes to conquer a somewhat bigger body of water as she attempts to swim from Havana, Cuba, to the Florida Keys in 60 hours, without a wetsuit or a shark cage. She left Havana Sunday and intends to complete the 103-mile distance sometime Wednesday, according to this report by ChicagoPride.com.
CNN, the only news media outlet that will have reporters in the boats accompanying Nyad, talked with the swimmer before she left Sunday. She told CNN she believes she is in the prime of her life. She said: “When I walk up on those shores of Florida, I want to prove to the AARP crowd that it’s not too late to go back and write that book or adopt that child. … The joke is the 60s are the new 40s, and it’s true. … I want to be there to say we have many, many years of vitality and strength and service left in us.”
Like anybody who has listened regularly to NPR, I had heard of Diana Nyad. But I never knew that she was a world-record-holding swimmer. In 1970 at age 20, in her first distance swim, she set a women’s world record by swimming 10 miles across Lake Ontario in four hours, 22 minutes. In 1974, she set another world record by finishing the 22-mile Bay of Naples race in Italy in eight hours, 11 minutes. The next year, at age 26, Nyard swam around the island of Manhattan — 28 miles total — in seven hours, 57 minutes.