Diana Nyad may have finally completed her long-held dream of swimming from Cuba to Florida, but even at an age where many people are thinking about retirement, she isn’t planning to slow down.
The 64-year-old Nyad plans to swim for 48 hours straight next month, accompanied by celebrities swimming laps alongside her, in a specially designed swimming pool that will be erected in New York City to raise money for Superstorm Sandy survivors.
Although the swimmer insists she isn’t trying to prove anything – “I didn’t do this because I was in my 60s. I just happened to be in my 60s,” she says – she acknowledges that her success is having an impact, “not just on people of my generation but on younger people.”
“I have a godson who’s 14 and he texted me yesterday and said, ‘I’m never in my life again going to call someone in their 60s old. It’s over. You just proved that youth doesn’t have anything to do with age.'”
And at one point during an interview Tuesday with the Associated Press, the bronzed, muscular athlete couldn’t resist sharing a message of encouragement and solidarity with those of her generation:
“Baby Boomer power!” she declared, with a triumphant fist pump.
On her fifth try, Nyad finished the 110-mile swim from Havana to Key West on Monday in 53 hours, becoming the first to do it without a shark cage. She said that while she is slower than she was back in her 20s when she first gained national attention for swimming around Manhattan and from the Bahamas to Florida, she feels she is actually stronger.
“Now I’m more like a Clydesdale: I’m a little thicker and stronger – literally stronger, I can lift more weights,” Nyad told the AP.
“I feel like I could walk through a brick wall. … I think I’m truly dead center in the prime of my life at 64.”