Hillary Clinton said that Find a Way would stay with her through the general election: “When you’re facing big challenges in your life, you can think about Diana Nyad getting attacked by the lethal sting of box jellyfishes. And nearly anything else seems doable in comparison.”
On September 2, 2013, at the age of sixty-four, Diana Nyad emerged onto the sands of Key West after swimming 111 miles, nation to nation, Cuba to Florida, in an epic feat of both endurance and human will, in fifty-three hours. Diana carried three poignant messages on her way across this stretch of shark-infested waters, and she spoke them to the crowd in her moment of final triumph:
1. Never, ever give up.
2. You’re never too old to chase your dreams.
3. It looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a Team.
Millions of people around the world cheered this maverick on, moved by her undeniable tenacity to be the first to make the historic crossing without the aid of a shark cage. At the end of her magnificent journey, after thirty-five years and four crushing failures, the public found hope in Diana’s perseverance. They were inspired by her mantra—find a way—that led her to realize a dream in her sixties that had eluded her as a young champion in peak form.
In Find a Way, Diana engages us with a unique, passionate story of this heroic adventure and the extraordinary life experiences that have served to carve her unwavering spirit.
Diana was a world champion in her twenties, setting the record for swimming around Manhattan Island, along with other ocean-swim achievements, all of which rendered her a star at the time. Back then, she made the first attempt at the Mount Everest of swims, the Cuba Swim, but after forty-two hours and seventy-nine miles she was blown desperately off course. Her dream unfulfilled, she didn’t swim another stroke for three decades.
Why, at sixty-four, was she able to achieve what she could not at thirty? How did her dramatic failures push her to success? What inner resources did Diana draw on during her long days and nights of training, and how did the power of the human spirit trump both the limitations of the body and the forces of nature across this vast, dangerous wilderness? This is the gripping story of an athlete, of a hero, of a bold mind. This is a galvanizing meditation on facing fears, engaging in our lives full throttle, and living each day with no regrets.
At 64, celebrated long-distance swimmer Nyad accomplished a feat that had eluded her at 28 making the first solo swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. While Cuba to the Keys is 94 miles for the proverbial crow, Nyad lacked wings and ultimately covered 110 miles through the powerful Gulf current, navigating hazards that included toxic jellyfish and peckish sharks, as well as severe nausea and dehydration. As Nyad narrates the financial and physical demands of her odyssey, which she undertook after a three-decade break from swimming, she also reviews her career as a television journalist and talk show host. Nyad sees her competitive drive as fueled by enduring anger over her sexual abuse as a child, and the ocean ultimately provides her with a means of transcendence. The strength of Nyad's memoir is her recounting of the journey: gym training and the rhythms of swimming, songs that help her time strokes, analysis of weather and water, sketches of her team members, and the delicate shuffle between two countries still fighting the Cold War. Nyad has a vibrant, informal voice and her anecdotes are intrinsically interesting. However, she rushes through events unrelated to her quest, while issues like her history of abuse and failed romances feel underexplored given her statements on how much they've influenced her life and work.