Diana Nyad broke records when she swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida on Sept. 2. Her arduous swim highlights her courage and grit, Archer’s theme for the year.
Archer Head of School Elizabeth English says, “What exactly is grit? It’s a combination of optimism, zest, self-discipline, curiosity, and of course resilience.” Nyad’s 53-hour swim displays these qualities in action.
This was Nyad’s fifth attempt to complete the swim. Her resilience pushed her to try again at the age of 64. According to the Los Angeles Times, Nyad said, “You’re never too old to chase your dreams.”
English said about this story, “In a society where women become essentially invisible after the age of 40, I think 64-year-old Diana Nyad’s triumph says to the world that any human being at any stage has the capacity to imagine and achieve greatness.”
Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce described how Nyad “imagin[ed] that she was using her left hand to push Cuba backward and her right hand to bring Florida closer.”
The water was dangerous because of trash, jellyfish and sharks. Nyad traveled with a support team to clear her path. Despite these obstacles, Nyad said, “We should never give up.”
English says, “Nyad’s mantra ‘Find a way’ gives insight into her extraordinary perseverance or, as I call it, ‘grit’’’ and her “triumph is a paean to the gritty, indomitable human spirit in each of us.”