What did you do with your Labor Day weekend? On Monday, 64-year-old endurance swimmer Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. Nyad reached the beach at about 2 p.m. EST after just over 53 hours of swimming. (Can you believe it took her less than three days to swim that distance? Ah-mazing!).
"I have three messages. One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you're never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team," she told The New York Times when she reached the beach.
Nyad attempted the swim five times altogether and had said that this would be her last time. Her first try was in 1978, and she tried in 2011 and 2012 but had to give up due to asthma and ocean conditions. To arm herself against jellyfish and boat troubles this time, Nyad wore a full-body wetsuit, booties, and gloves, as well as a mask at night (when jellyfish rise to the surface). Doctors traveling with her were concerned at times that she seemed to be slurring her words and her breathing but didn't intervene. Although she was dehydrated when she reached Florida, and had some swelling of the lips, tongue, and the airway near her mouth, she was otherwise in good health and should recover quickly, according to doctors on the scene.
"I'm so satisfied that we stuck with it," Nyad told CBS. "You can dream, you can be vital, and you can be in your prime even. I may not look it right now but you catch me on a good day, I'm in my prime."
Congrats, Diana! We're so excited to hear that all her hard work (she trained for more than two years!) paid off and that she reached her goal. Tell us: How does Nyad's story inspire you? Tweet us @Shape_Magazine or let us know in the comments below!