Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Diana Nyad: Inspiration to dream

On Tuesday, 3 September, Diana Nyad completed her Xtrme Dream, a 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. This was her fifth attempt. She is 64. When she got out of the water after 53 hours she had three things to say about her Xtreme Dream:

Never give up. You are never too old to realise your dream. Swimming is not a solitary sport but a team effort.

Inspirational stuff that many swimmers will relate to.  I certainly can.

I followed Diana’s progress in 2012 during her fourth attempt and shed a few tears when she had to abandon. On her fifth attempt I followed her progress again, checking twitter and her webpage every hour, sending her good luck thoughts across the webosphere. Her success affected me greatly and tears of happiness were shed this time. That evening we cracked open a bottle of champagne to celebrate her victory.

The event evoked so much emotion in me and in others worldwide. Why is this?  Her success represents triumph over adversity. It refutes the proposition that our capacities inevitably decline of age. And we want to experience the euphoria that such a great achievement must bring.

So, the dream. I want a goal, I want to overcome a challenge and I want that euphoria that comes from success. Like Diana (and Bob Dylan) I want to ‘feel forever young.’

But I think my dream might be extreme with a small x. I have thought about doable dreams but unlike Diana I have a couple of constraints. First, I am not a champion swimmer and second I can’t squander all our superannuation on my dream. So, no costly boat escorted English Channel or Rottnest swims for me.

I’m still looking but I think an open-water marathon (10 km) fits the bill. I’ll do this next year in the UK.  I’m thinking the Dart 10K looks as though it has my dream ticket on it.  But every dream needs preparation so my next little dream is a 5-km swim. It may seem small potatoes but I haven’t done a 5-km open water swim yet. I see the Berry Rickards, Penrith, has a 5km event coming up. Modest, but my dream has begun, Thank you Diana!

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