Diana Nyad

The word “Naiad” (pronounced “Nyad”) means “water nymph” in ancient Greek mythology. The naiads were god-like beings who swam in fresh waters and presided over them. Therefore, it is not surprising that for ten years, from 1969 to 1979, Diana Nyad “was the greatest long distance swimmer in the world.”

In 1978, Nyad attempted to swim from Cuba to Florida through the Atlantic Ocean. Because of bad weather and strong currents, she did not succeed. However, at the end of summer of 2011, at 61 years old, Nyad attempted to swim all the way from Havana to the Florida Coast.

Unfortunately for Nyad, she encountered a “Portuguese man o’ war” also known as the “sea wasp.” It is the one of he deadliest jellyfish known to the Marine world.

The Jellyfish is 10 feet long, from “head” to tentacles. These deadly tentacles inflict excruciating pain, and if not treated right away, they can cause severe paralysis and eventually death before the swimmer reaches the shore. Nyad was stung by two of these lethal creatures.

Even after being stung repeatedly, Nyad swam courageously. She eventually had to quit because of fatigue and stings inflicted by the jellyfish.

After 2 years of training for the swim from Havana to Florida, Nyad said that to quit so soon was a “huge disappointment.” Nonetheless, Nyad is a great inspiration to people around the world. She symbolizes tenacity, determination and discipline. Like the naiads in Ancient Greek Mythology, Diana rules the water.

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