Famed endurance swimmer, Diana Nyad, had to set aside her dreams of swimming from Key West to a communist country and becoming the first person to make the 103 mile journey to Cuba without use of a shark cage. The reason for the abandoned attempt? Nyad could not overcome the acute pain in her right shoulder and the deteriorating complications due to asthma. It was also reported that halfway through her swim, Nyad suddenly realized she had left her passport back at the hotel.
I have a quick question. If there is already a record set for swimming from the United States to Cuba in a shark cage, what made Nyad think it was a good idea to go without? She maybe an elite swimmer, but she is a tadpole in comparison to the ancient fish that can swim a thousand miles before grabbing lunch.
For safe measure Nyad did not attempt the record by herself. More than 30 people assisted. Some of them were in kayaks towing devices to repel sharks. What were these devices? Were they underwater speakers that kept repeating the phrase, “I am not a seal but an elite simmer? I repeat. There is no body fat on me.”
If the devices were unable to dissuade an interested shark, there were people on board a trailing ship who were prepared to dive into the water. Who were these people and what were they going to do? Were they college interns who no longer had the stomach to accumulate any more debt? Were they in some twisted sense like the secret service, willing to throw their bodies in front of Nyad and a row of razor-sharp teeth? I’m sure the volunteers would have been plenty if the assignment included enough hazard pay to cover a semester’s worth of books.