Diana Nyad, a modern Renaissance woman (athlete, author, journalist, philanthropist, actor), is patient with the never-ending fascination with her achievements “at her age.” Nyad would have found a kindred spirit in baseball legend Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige, whose accomplishments also tested the limits of public imagination and prompted him to ask, “How old would you be if you didn’t know your age?”
Nyad is a champion ocean swimmer, who broke a number of world records early in her career, including setting the record for both men and women for circling Manhattan Island in 1975. And years later, she made history again as the only person to ever swim what many of her peers described as a nearly impossible feat: swimming the 100-plus-mile crossing from Cuba to Florida. She succeeded in this epic quest at age 64, proving that age is no barrier to the realization of a dream.
But that’s beside the point for Nyad, whose TED talks, speaking engagements and books are filled with wit and wisdom, and whose active life serves as the outward expression of her thinking. Not content simply to reflect on past accomplishments, Nyad and her longtime coach Bonnie Stoll have moved on to launch EverWalk, a campaign to get America walking—and they’ve logged hundreds of miles on foot alongside thousands of people in the process.
24Life recently spoke to Nyad about her approach to longevity—what inspires her, how to face adversity and how to wring every last drop out of daily life.