tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN September 2, 2013 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
we ran out of time for the ridiculist. dr. sanjay gupta's special report diane nyad's supreme dream come true is next. 100 miles of open ocean stretched between cuba and florida. >> keep it up, diana! >> water surging with currents, teeming with sharks and deadly jelly fish. a route so difficult, no swimmer has ever crossed unaided. >> i'm barely alive right now, i'm just barely alive. >> the swim starts here. she's going to jump in. now inside an extraordinary journey.
diane nyad, endurance swimmer and record holding. >> it seemed almost like a dream to me but now it's real. >> from the first strokes to the dramatic finish. five attempts, four failures, one extreme dream. for diane nyad, it all started four years ago with a birthday, a big birthday. diana was about to turn 60 years old. >> i was driving in my car telling myself you better get with these life lessons, you can't go back, you better just seize the day, go forward. 60 isn't old. was looking at the cars in the rear view mirror and i caught a sight of my eyes for a second and thought but wait a second, maybe i could go back. maybe that would be the event that would make me feel strong and powerful again, would define me again. >> what once defined diana was
marathon swimming. in the 1970s she won races and set records worldwide. >> i'm interested in the most outrageously difficult goals that i can think of. i fail lots of times because it's so difficult, but i get wiser and wiser all the time. >> strong, brash, confident, a media darling. in august 1978 at age 28, diana set out to do the most outrageously difficult swim she could imagine, cuba to florida, over a hundred miles in vicious currents, 200,000 strokes, 60 hours. she had a shark cage built, headed to cuba and launched from a beach surrounded by press, despite grave concerns. >> and i remember ibewildered. we're looking out at a raging
sea of white caps. >> her navigator promised calm waters but instead diana battled waves for almost eight hours. ravaged by bites, they pulled her from the water. >> it was very rough. can you ask anybody. >> diana's dream was dashed and her heart was broken. >> i had never had summoned so much will power. i've never wanted anything so badly. and i never tried so hard. >> the following year diana set the record for the longest unassisted ocean swim in history, going from the bahamas to florida. and then she quit swimming. >> the day i turned 30 was the day i swam up on the florida shore from the bahamas.
and i thought to myself, i will never swim another stroke in my life. >> and for more than 30 years she didn't. summer 2009. as diana nears her 60th birthday, she realizes there's one dream that never left her. so she changes her mind and quietly returns to the pool. >> i just started going to a little country club pool swimming for 35 minutes. and not fast. kind of seeing if the stroke there was, if the shoulders and elbows and triceps were going to take the pressure. and i knew that the body was going to have to slowly come to it. so for those first couple of month, i just adding like ten minutes a day. >> not even her best friend, bonnie stoll, knew what she was up to. >> she said, oh, yeah, i'm going to go for a swim. i said what's going on? >> my knees have been bothering me so i'm going to see what it's like. and then the time away would be
four hours, five hours. i'm like what's going on? nothing. she wasn't acknowledging or divulging any of the information. >> then i went for a swim and i came out cold. i came out shivering like this and that's when i knew i got it. i got it in my spirit, in my body. this summer i'm swimming from cuba to florida. >> cuba, home of salsa and cigars, castro and communism. for diana, it's a place that's perplex and captivating. >> this is a magical place. it's not just anywhere. it's cuba to florida. >> truth is others have attempted this swim before, even
succeeded, but no one has done it the way diana now hopes to. just imagine this, 60 hours in that ocean with no rest, no shark cage no, flippers. diana wants to set the record for the longest unaided ocean swim in history. and she wants to set that record at age 60. the plan is audacious and maybe impossible. >> the swim itself that she's setting out to do is a super difficult swim. >> david marchand makes his living navigating caribbean water. >> key west is right here. it's 103 miles and havana is right there. if it was in a swimming pool 103 miles it's a long way. but across the straits of florida, it's super difficult. >> to make it, she'll have to build her body into a machine, so she's swimming every day for six, eight, ten hours at a time,
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it's going to be a lot, lot of long hours. >> it's a big dream that won't come easily. succeed will go take diana's very best, and it all starts with perfect technique. >> even the best of swimmers have seen me swim and said that's a beautiful freestyle, very efficient, high elbows. probably every 14-year-old in this country can swim as fast as i can, at good competitive swimming. but who's got the mind then? >> the mind and the will to do something super human. just look at that ocean and imagine swimming in it for so far, so long. it would be a challenge for anyone, even a 20-year-old. diana is three times that age. she's going to have to train harder, better, to even have a chance. >> when diana enters the water, she enters a very hostile environment. >> this doctor specializes in
extreme medicine and know what is her body will go through. >> she won't be able to keep up the energy and heat loss she'll be experiencing. >> impossible to do that? >> impossible to do that. she's going to be running at deficit and as time goes on, the deficit will increase and she'll just be providing energy for those organs essential for her survival. she has to swim to florida before the point to where her body deteriorates where she can't swim at all. >> to prepare, she pushes will farther and longer. she ready for her first test, a 24-hour training swim. her longest in four years. if she fails, it means the end of her extreme dream. now the team gathers to meet and to plan with diana leading the charge. >> tomorrow is a tremendous,
important test of me and my confidence. i want to get out saying, you know what, yeah, i'm tired and i'm a little woozy and i need some whatever but i feel okay. i got more in me. there's more in the tank than this. >> let's call it 8:19. >> the next morning she plunges into the ocean. with diana in the water, bonnie stoll assumes command. >> bonnie, don't worry about it. >> best friend. drill sergeant. >> time to breast stroke. here we go. >> chief handler. >> bonnie is a rock. she's a take charge, no-nonsense, say it in a few words. she knows me as an athlete. >> bonnie will lead an army of handlers that will follow diana's every stroke to nourish, encourage and protect her. one of their biggest concerns --
sharks. >> these are great waters for sharks. >> lee is the team's chief shark diver. he knows how dangerous sharks can be. >> in this water we'd look for oceanic white tips, caribbean resharks. this animal has involved to dominate the ocean. they have a sixth sense. they can feel the electricity in the water. they know that we're there. >> that's why in 1978 diana swam in a shark cage. today she just uses this. >> sharks are tremendously sensitive to this. >> it's called a shark shield. and off the coast of the bahamas, tippo shows us how it works. it's a shark feeding frenzy at this block of chum, until tippo approaches and turns on the shark shield that hangs right above it.
now the device admits a strong but harmless signal that overwelove overwhelms the sharks' senses and sends them to the bottom of the floor. to keep diana safe, the signals surround diana, keeping dangerous predators at bay. we're now thousands of strokes into her 24-hour swim. diana looks strong, but there's a problem. she's swimming in circles. >> you veer off a little and veer off a little more and you end up in jamaica. so after while i count every stroke, look at that boat for hours and say stay closer. every time i swim 30, 40 yards, we're adding on. we're going to add in the end miles. >> and that could be the
difference between success and failure. fortunately today's swim was about time rather than distance. >> beautiful! >> hey, guys. we made it. >> and at 8:19 the next morning, she emerges from the water. exhausted. >> i was racked. i mean, i was dehydrated and depleted much, much more than i knew i was when i was in there. >> watch her head, watch her head. >> and yet she feels confident. >> i really pushed. i was like cranking it. there was never a doubt, never a moment of doubt. i feel very strong i must say. >> strong, but it's only been 24 hours. does she have what it takes to survive a swim more than twice as long? [ gerry ] you really couldn't have come at a better time. these chevys are moving fast. i'll take that malibu. yeah excuse me. the equinox in atlantis blue is mine! i was here first. it's mine.
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august 2010, diane nyad is raring to go and ready to turn her dream into a reality. ♪ ♪ >> she arrives in key west. >> so here we go. >> the weather seems right. the time has come. tomorrow diana plans to leave key west for cuba and start this swim. >> i feel very ready. i can't wait to get in there and start proving what i can do and get across. >> hundreds of things must go exactly as planned. even one snafu could sink the swim. >> how's it going, bonnie?
>> best friend bonnie stoll, she's dealing with the first problem. >> the big green bag didn't make it, right? it's all the bathing suits and gear and caps. i thought i should carry those all in my carry-on luggage. >> turns out even elite athletes sometimes lose their luggage. >> thank you, thank you. >> good luck to you in finding your bag. that will probably be harder than swimming from cuba to florida. >> even harder than finding the lost bag, finding three days of perfect weather. so every few hours diana calls weather experts general livjenn dane clark to check in. as jennifer monitors the gulfstream, dane keeps a close eye on the weather. >> diana needs very light winds.
>> friday and saturday. i'd say a marginal weekend. >> and warm currents. >> what about the gulf waters? >> it changes. >> and calm seas. >> i don't want to be swimming in a three-foot sea. it's murder and i can't make much progress. but a one-foot sea i can. it's a crap shoot. >> according to him, it looks like it's not going to be even this good for a while. >> diana has a good decision to make, take the risk and swim in iffy weather or wait for a calmer window that might not come. she decides to go for it. and now everything in key west kicks into high gear. the team flies in. the boats are prepped. >> a-okay. >> and then just hours later, the forecast turns and the weather window vanishes. >> that put everything to a
halt. it was a setback for many, a chance to improve things for others on the crew but diana got to have her very first meltdown, which she needed to have. >> i just bawled like a baby. for me it's like will this ever happen? >> diana decided to turn it to her advantage. she takes the team out for a training swim. her goal, to work out a few kinks. >> we're ready. 7:40 in the water, okay? >> like her difficulty swimming in a straight line. to succeed, she must follow the boat's course exactly. it's something she often str strugginstru struggles to do. >> i have these fogged over goggles. i'm i'm to -- i'm able to catch not a full focus, a 60% focus.
>> they built this contraption. this should provide diana a path to follow in the water like a lane line in a pool, even when she's swimming in the pitch dark. >> we're wondering if she sees the fiber optic that we set up underwater. we see it and it's just getting dark. >> if it works. >> she's not usually this distance from the boat. and i don't mean far, i mean perfect. it's exactly where we want her. >> it's a big success and the team feels great again, but not for long. >> summer 2010, days pass and then weeks waiting for good weather that never comes. but diana refuses to give up on her goal to swim this summer. so for now it's laps in a local
lagoon, avoiding a snorkeler instead of sharks. diana's dream is slipping away. >> agonizing. it's not just been frustrating, it's been absolutely agonizing. i wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night at 3:00, 4:00 in the morning, worried i won't even get my chance. >> but all the laps in the world can't change the weather. >> it's rough out there now. it blowing 15 knots of wind. there will be six-foot seas out there. >> by october conditions have bottomed out. navigator david marchand. >> last weekend the water temperature dropped almost six degrees over the weekend and that's -- once it gets below 80 degrees, she can't do it. >> i feel like i've let down but -- >> after training a year,
handling countless logistics and spending a huge chunk of her savings, diana makes a gut-wrenching decision. >> i've just been under tremendous stress. >> i sat down and wrote this e-mail a couple of days ago. "the day has come. the seas here today have dropped to 77 degrees, far below my threshold for such a long time in the water. this was my year. i believe i got in better shape both body and mind than even in my 20s. it has been draining, whipping of a spirit to feel it all slipping away from me." >> it's over for this year and that's okay. the swim will get done. it will get done in 2011, it will get done in much less hardship because so much has been taken care of. in a nut shell, the end of this journey has become the middle. >> now all that's left is to
pack up and say good-bye. >> how's my big bear? you made me strong when i was getting weak and so it's important for you to be in it with me and say you still want to do it next year. i don't think i could do it without you. >> she's allowed to be disheartened. oh, my god, i have to do it again. and then that will come to i can't wait to do it again. >> los angeles six months later. >> i'm now full tilt, you know, in it again. >> you see, for diana quitting wasn't an option, and yet these long months of training have taken a toll on her 61-year-old body. >> this shoulder has a tear on the biceps tendon, which is right in the front here. i went to an orthopedist. he said it's a considerable tear, you'll never do it. >> so diana found another doctor with a better outlook.
>> icing around the clock. >> and at another swimmer's suggestion, she even changes the stroke she's had for over 30 years. >> you're going to start swimming with your shoulder down. so i changed my stroke. i'm in way better shape even than last year. just strong, strong, strong. strong as a bull. >> strong and ready. but can the new stroke work? will the torn shoulder hold? and will that weather ever come? polly wants to know if we can pick her up. yeah, we can make room. yeah. [ male announcer ] ...office space. yes, we're loving this communal seating. it's great. [ male announcer ] the best thing to share? a data plan. at&t mobile share for business. one bucket of data for everyone on the plan, unlimited talk and text on smart phones. now, everyone's in the spirit of sharing. hey, can i borrow your boat this weekend? no. [ male announcer ] share more. save more.
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diane nyad has worked, waited and worried, anxious to attempt her history-making swim. finally on august 5th, 2011, diana gets an urgent call from meteorologist dane clark. the weather is here. this is it. diana's 40-person crew hops flights across the country. diana lands in cuba. again, team nyad converged at the hemingway arena. here we are, after all the
training, logistics, two years after waiting, diane nyad is about to take her shot. diana is going to jump in and for 60 hours push her mind and her body to the limit. at sunset august 7th, diana makes her way to the water. ♪ and then it's showtime. [ cheers and applause ] >> 7:46 p.m. she entered the water. >> diana starts swimming, leaving cuba behind. she expects to have 60 grueling hours of swimming ahead. sunrise august 8th. diane nyad has been swimming for nearly 12 hours. >> we're holding our own now so
we're happy. >> david marchand is charting the best course he can but conditions are not what he'd hoped. >> well, for a swimmer it's rough. we could have done with a longer, flatter compact, which we didn't get. >> it was beautiful when we started and it got choppy quickly. >> barbara stoll's eyes never leave her best friend. >> i feel bad for her out there but i feel good she's powering on. >> powering on requires near super human effort. now diana's body is in survival mode, diverting blood to essential organs, the heart, the lung, the brain and to the muscles propelling her through the water with every stroke. she's likely burning 700 calories an hour now. >> her stroke is not changing at all. she's swimming a stroke and a
half faster. >> though her stroke looks smooth -- >> blowing the whistle. >> there is a critical problem. >> i never thought i'd have to deal with something like this. it's excruciating. >> excruciating pain in diana's good shoulder. >> it's her right shoulder. her left shoulder is the bad one. >> diana calls this pain a ten out of ten. so bonnie throws everything at it she can. ice -- >> put the ice on the shoulder. >> -- medication. >> anybody can do it healthy, right? >> that's what i say. >> encouragement. >> your stroke is beautiful. this is going to be painful. there's no doubt about it. we're all going to help make it better, but you are fine. >> david is also having problems. >> the currents are really strong are ner now.
they're pushing us that way. we're still above the line but -- >> trouble. >> trouble. we hoped the currents would be favorable. >> the waves are up and the water is surging in the wrong direction. >> it's amazing, we're not even going sideways, we're going backwards. >> i'm going to let it go a little bit. >> despite it all, the rest of the operation is going smoothly. this red whistles signals diana for fluids and feedings. one boat accompanies diana. others nearby carry crew. tenders run between boats each other, switching captains and handlers. on the roof, the shark team scans for predators. as the kayaks paddle behind diana carrying the shark shields. the one constant, diana. stroke after stroke, minute after minute. by afternoon, bonnie is battle
worn and her team nyad shirt shows it. >> this is espresso goo gel. this was peanutbutter on bread she didn't want. hi to wipe my hands clean. it's a day in the camp of nyad i guess. >> a very long day in the camp of my yad. >> we go out of cuba and it is beautiful. it is flat and calm and about an hour and a half it's getting choppy. we weren't expecting it. >> bonnie remains hopeful. >> back shoulder is hurting so badly. her pace has not changed and her stroke has not changed. she is fighting through every second. >> almost two days of tough swimming still lie ahead. and for diane nyad, the worst is yet to come. [ whistle ]
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all these stops to take more pills can be a pain. can i get my aleve back? ♪ for my pain, i want my aleve. [ male announcer ] look for the easy-open red arthritis cap. diane nyad dreamed of swimming from cuba to florida, of gliding across the surface in flat, calm seas. now 14 hours into her swim, very
little is going as planned. the water is choppy. the current surging. and a terrible pain in diana's shoulder is taking its toll. >> it feels like it's going to come out of the socket. >> but still she pushes through, driving her body forward, stroke after stroke, relying on sheer will power. it's not easy. simply keeping her body fueled is a delicate balancing act. even getting her something to drink can be a challenge. handlers on the crew boat mix this special concoction of water, sports drinks and electrolyte powders. >> it's something we came up with by trial and error. >> the mix is then handed to john hennessey on the escort boat. >> special mix, we're looking for 20 ounces and she's been doing about 24, which is really good. >> he rigs a line to drop the
pouch of fluid into the water. >> i'll blow the whistle. >> she'll see is trailing by the strip there and she'll pick it up and drink out of it. >> there's no question for diana, hydration is serious business. she will lose almost six ounces of fluid for every half hour she swims. without enough replacements she could become delirious and physically unable to continue. >> she drank about 8 ounces so that's pretty good quantity for her. >> now rehydrated, diana takes just five more strokes and then crisis. >> bonnie, bonnie. >> you see diana is getting enough fluids, but now she's not getting enough oxygen. so team nyad snaps into action. >> you are okay. we're going to walk you through this. come closer to the boat and talk to me. that's it, just like that. just like that. >> bonnie frantically waves for
diana's doctor. >> it's making my muscles so weak -- >> don't talk, don't talk. you're probably having a little asthma attack. >> dr. michael only! dr. michael only! >> don't worry, you're good. i love you. >> michael jumps on to the escort boat. >> i've been having trouble catching my breath in the last two hours and now it's turning to wheezing. >> we're going to give you this inhaler. >> it sounds like asthma but diana has never had an asthma attack while swimming. now she can't breathe. >> i just lost all the blood to my muscles. >> let's get it back. you don't need to move it anywhere. >> you want me to try to give you a puff from here? >> the inhaler seems to help. >> listen, is it taking effect?
>> i don't think so. >> don't leave until it has taken effect. and slow it down for a while. >> i feel a little dizzy. >> okay, here we go. >> and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. for now. dr. michael broder wishes he could do more, but of course his patient is swimming in the so he does what he can. >> we gave her another couple puffs of that inhaler and sounded a lot better. >> the star athlete is limping along, but the rest of the operation is going well. shark diver luke tippo hasn't seen any divers lurking below. >> just doing a perimeter check. >> and the captain seems happy with the course. but all eyes remain on diana. it's now midday. 18 hours into the swim. >> i can't even swim. my muscles are going without oxygen. >> it's become clear that
diana's condition is not improving. >> is it your lungs? >> dr. broder has to do something drastic. he grabs his stethoscope -- >> michael's coming out. >> -- and plunges into the water. first he tries the inhaler again. and then he returns to the boat and rigs this oxygen tank. he scrjumps back into the water desperate to get diana some air. >> i'm hyperventilating all the time. >> i bet you've never seen an e.r. advice the livisit like th. it doesn't seem to make much difference. every few strokes now she stops and she gasps for air. despite it all, somehow she keeps on swimming. diane nyad's body is failing her and it's her will and that dream that has taken over. pressing on through sunset, past the 24-hour mark, and into the
darkness. midnight, hour 28. diana has been swimming with bad asthma for nearly 12 hours and she is battling through every stroke in the pitch dark. any bright light, even from our camera, could attract sharks. so you see a small red beacon on her cap bobbing up and down. it's the only way her handlers can see her. and now the shoulder pain is so great that in desperation, diana switches to breast stroke. bonnie urges her on. >> here we go, here we go. keep it up, diana! >> and then diana stops, exhausted and feeling helpless. >> are we actually going forward at all doing the breast stroke? >> absolutely. >> because you know i'm in trouble so i'm just trying
everything i can. >> team nyad is now gravely concerned, but they still cling to hope. >> it's going to be a tough fight. we're getting there. she needs to get her second wind and we'll be great. >> she manages a few freestyle strokes and then stops again. >> let's take some liquid, okay? >> i'm just barely alive. right now i'm just barely alive. >> okay, talk to me. >> for diana, after 33 years and almost 29 hours, this could be the end of the dream. new fast acting advil.] ig with an ultra-thin coating and fast absorbing advil ion core™ technology, it stops pain before it gets worse. nothing works faster. new fast acting advil. look for it in the white box.
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for 33 years diane nyad has dreamed of this swim, from cuba to florida. but for the last 28 hours she's been swimming in constant pain. >> it's excruciating. >> barely able to breathe. now she swims in total darkness. all our cameras can see is the beacon on the back of diana's cap and that red streamer underwater. but we hear her voice. diana is in dire shape. >> i'm just barely alive.
>> okay. >> right now i'm just barely alive. >> okay, talk to me. >> her best friend and chief handler, bonnie stoll, is concerned. and for the first time senses the end may be near. >> whatever you want to do, i am with you. you walk away from this proud no matter what, no matter what. diana approaches the boat and calls out to navigator david marchand. >> is it all night and all day again and another night? >> i don't want to quit but i can only make an hour right now. i'm just dead. i'm dead. >> for diana, this is the moment the extreme dream could be over. >> i just have to get will. i have a tremendous will, but i'm in very bad shape with this. i just can't. >> i love you. i love you.
it's okay. grab hold of her shoulder, okay? >> after almost a full night and a day, they pull diana from the water. her swim is done. >> okay, you did it. you did it, you did it, you did it. >> i'm so sorry. you're disappointed. >> no, nobody's disappointed. nobody, nobody. >> not on this day. it's too rough and too cold. i'm sick. >> okay, okay. here you go. stay there. can we have a towel? >> diana is shivering as dr. broder takes her vitals. he's worried about hypothermia. >> i know i can do it if -- >> no, no, no, no this wasn't it. this just wasn't it. >> you've left nothing behind. that's all you can do. >> this was a success, okay? this was a success in every way. did you get it the other shore?
no. but you sure did inspire everybody that knows you. >> i can't do it. >> okay. >> the tender rushes over. and takes diana to the crew boat for medical care. she is violently sick to her stomach and exhausted. >> i'm just going to put this band around your arm. >> she's in desperate need of iv fluids. >> you're good. >> finally three hours later, diana eases her way from the deck to the couch. now she just wants to talk. >> i just can't believe how it turned out. that day i just couldn't believe it. swimming for hours and hours, just taking a few strokes, going on my back, trying to get it together. between the asthma and the shoulder and the waves, i didn't have a chance.
what a shame. what a shame. all the training, my god. it was such a big dream. it's a real bitter pill to swallow. >> as the boats arrive back into key west, diana shares a moment with bonnie. >> i put so much into this dream. i just couldn't have imagined this coming down this way. i just couldn't imagine it. you put so much of yourself into it. you deserved it, you deserved it. >> i got it. i feel complete. >> my buddy. thank you. thank you for these two years. nobody can ever take it away from us.
>> september 2013, havana, cuba. >> i don't want to be timid. i don't want to go home and say, well, i tried that cuba thing so many times but it was just too tough for me. i want to be in the ring, fail or not fail and be failed and go for it. >> diane nyad said she's making her final attempt, succeed or fail. >> there's a fine line between having the grace to see that things are bigger than you are and to let your ego go. and there's another edge over that fine line where you are don't want to ever, ever give up. and i'm still at that place. [ cheers and applause ] [ speaking foreign language ] >> she plunges into the water. again bonnie is at her side.
and there is this. >> the only thing you could probably die from are the box jelly fish. >> diana wears this mask to keep deadly box jelly fish from stinging her face and ending her swim like they have done before. >> it makes me slower, makes me more tired. >> it is claustrophobic. it slows her down yet she is able to wear it through the entire first night. 24 hours have now passed. this time there are no injuries, no creatures, no weather. this time just miles passing and momentum growing. by hour 36, diana has gone further than anyone before her. >> diane nyad, the fifth time could be a charm. after trying for 35 years. >> by mid afternoon on monday, september 2nd, she can see key west. and the crowds can see her coming. [ cheers ] >> a crush of fans, a few last
steps, and then triumph. the extreme dream achieved. [ cheers and applause ] >> cheers come from everywhere. >> i have three messages. one is we should never ever give up. [ cheers and applause ] >> two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. >> that's right! >> three is it looks like a solitary sport but it's a team. you know what's so great about it, sanjay, is that it's all authentic. it's a great story. you have a dream 35 years ago, doesn't come to fruition but you
move on with life. it's somewhere back there. and then you turn 60 and your mom just dies and you don't know, you're looking for something and the dream comes awake out of your imagination. nobody's ever done it. >> cuba to florida. to many it seemed unthinkable, impossible. to diane nyad, it was an extreme dream, 35 years in the making. you've just gone through something that nobody's ever done before. it's just -- i mean, has that set in? >> yeah, because i've been trying for so long and because today i had 15 hours. you could see last night the lights of key west. i just believed in it. i believed i could make it.