At 10:30 this morning, WYSK was poolside in the most unlikely of places – Herald Square in New York City – cheering on long-distance swim legend Diana Nyad. Fresh off her record-breaking swim from Cuba to Florida, media and spectators watched as the inspiring 64 year old was just 2 hours in to her 48 hour continuous “Swim for Relief” in support of the ongoing Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
Over the course of the next 40+ hours, Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, celebrities, community leaders and everyday New Yorkers are scheduled to jump in the pool and swim alongside Diana, who, back in the 1970s, was known as the greatest long-distance swimmer in the world.
“You get better in every way as you get older,” Diana Nyad told us, while treading water in her Herald Square, New York City pop-up pool
While Diana will take short breaks here and there to eat (we saw a jar of peanut butter close by) and drink or to pose for a photo opp, she will NEVER leave the pool, which is kept at around 82° – 84°F.
As for why she is taking on this challenge, the bold and fearless Diana shared, “As we near the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, it’s crucial that we recognize the importance of disaster relief – not just in the days following an event, but in the months and years that follow.” She added, “The ‘Nyad Swim for Relief’ allows me to demonstrate strength and endurance in a statement of solidarity with those who have suffered in communities I care about.”
Diana’s continuous 2 day “Swim for Relief” will raise funds for AmeriCares, a nonprofit global health and disaster relief organization that delivers medicines, medical supplies and aid to people in need around the world and across the United States.
As we stood watching each of Diana’s graceful, but endurance powered strokes cut through the water of the 2 lane, 120-foot long pop-up pool, in the shadow of the famed Macy’s Herald Square at the crossroads of 34th Street and 6th Avenue, there was a surreal “only in New York” feeling in the air.
What a morning! Here’s what we saw: