Diana Nyad trained for years at Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena

September 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad trained for her record-setting swim for years at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena. Fellow swimmers and staff say they're proud of Nyad.

Nyad spent hundreds of hours in the 50-meter pool preparing for her historic swim. She swam in what the center calls the gutter lane, the narrow lane nearest to the side of the pool.

She showed up early in the morning and would swim for eight to 10, sometimes 12, hours a day.

Swimmers and staff who know her couldn't be prouder to finally see her reach her goal of swimming from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.

"She did it mentally first, physically next. Mentally, that's a big thing. I mean imagine 50 hours by yourself. You've got people around you, but mostly in your own head. It takes a lot of strength mentally," said Chad Durieux with the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center.

Nyad had tried this same swim four times before and failed. Her first attempt was 35 years ago.

"We should never ever give up. You're never too old to chase your dream," said Nyad.

Over the Labor Day weekend, at the age of 64, she finally did it.

"I think especially given her age, she had the conditions with her and it was really good to see someone her age meet her goal," said Daniel Ryan of Pasadena.

What's next for Nyad? That's the big question among the swimming community at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center. Swimmers I spoke with tell me they're positive there's another long-distance swimming challenge just waiting for her to conquer.


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