The Advocate July/Aug 2022
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Meet This Year's 'Prime Time 25'

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Diana Nyad, 65, Long-Distance Swimmer

Diana Nyad's life is a lesson to anyone in perseverance, and pursuing ones dreams, even if people think you're insane.

Plenty of people try to swim fast, but Nyad swims long — longer than pretty much anyone. Before turning 30, Nyad swam the 28 miles around Manhattan island, the 102 miles from the Bahamas to Florida, and set the women's record for the 22-mile Bay of Naples race. But now, she's back in the water in her 60s, decades after plenty of athletes' glory days are long gone.  Last year she swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida after five dramatic attempts in shark- and jellyfish-infested waters.

This year Nyad was one of the inductees into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports hall of Fame in Chicago, and she even slapped on her boogie shoes to compete in Dancing With The Stars. She didn't last very long on the show, but come on — this woman swam from Cuba to Key West in about 53 hours. Cut her some slack!

But why would she ever rest? Nyad's next Xtreme Dream, as she calls them, is to walk across the United States to raise awareness of the benefits of walking and to combat obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. And at some point she plans to stage a cross-country one-woman show, amid her TEDTalks, motivational speaking, documentaries, and writing.

Nyad may have turned 65 in 2014, but something tells us she'll never truly retire.
—Michelle Garcia


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