Home » Personal Musings » “She Freakin’ Made It!”

“She Freakin’ Made It!”

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“She freakin’ made it!”

With those words, Diana Nyad’s website announced her achievement to the world. And what an achievement it was!

After five attempts in three decades, this 64-year old athlete swam from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida.

103 miles in 53 hours.

Without a shark cage or flippers. Swallowing salt water. Getting sun-burned. Stung by jellyfish. Avoiding sharks. In pain. Exhausted.

Her first attempt was in 1978, then 3 more tries in 2011 and 2012.

This was her year. She did it. 64 years old young.

After she emerged from the water, she stood supported by one of her 35-person crew, dazed. Her skin burned and peeling, lips swollen, words slurred. She told the crowd of fans and reporters waiting on the beach that she had three messages:


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One: “Never, never give up.”

Two: “You’re never too old to chase your dreams.”

Three: “It looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team.”

Words to live by. Spoken like the common man or woman’s hero heroine.

Not the kind that signed a contract for $50 million over 5 years. Not the kind that snorts or shoots up or resolves conflict with loaded weapons or their fists.

The kind of common woman who is quite uncommon. An ordinary person who just accomplished something extraordinary.

Spoken like the kind of athlete who never, never gave up. Who, even at 64 years old, kept chasing her dreams. Who realized that her odyssey was a team effort.

That kind of athlete.

One we can all admire for her strength, determination, discipline, courage, perseverance and graciousness.

And for her homespun wisdom that we should have all learned in kindergarten. If we didn’t learn it, it’s not too late.

Words to live by:

One: “Never, never give up.”

Two: “You’re never too old to chase your dreams.”

Three: “It looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team.”

Thank you, Diana Nyad, for showing us what can be accomplished if we just put our mind to it.

Thank you for motivating and inspiring all of us, especially those of us “of a certain age.”

Thank you for giving young people a decent role model, someone whose only stage is the wide open sea.

Most of all, Diana, thank you for you.

You are beautiful.

Your spirit shines.




12 thoughts on ““She Freakin’ Made It!”

  1. As usual, Theresa, your writing is so beautiful. She is quite the lady—-I was cheering her every stroke of her swimming journey.

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