This past September Diana Nyad finally accomplished a goal that has taken her 5 attempts over 35 years achieve; to swim the 110 miles between Cuba and Florida. Hammer Nutrition has been supporting Diana Nyad and her trainer Bonnie Stoll with our products for her last three attempts (notably Sustained Energy, Endurolyte Powder, Hammer Gels and our whey protein). After her momentous feat Diana turned her focus to a 48 hour swim in downtown New York to raise funds for AmeriCares efforts to support Hurricane Sandy victims. Hammer athlete and photographer Zandy Mangold was able to attend the event and let us know about his experience.
From Zandy Mangold:
Diana Nyad was 24 hours into her 48 hour swim by the time I arrived at the temporary, two lane pool floating above Herald Square in New York City. It was one of the first chill days of fall and my first thought was how could Diana’s body deal with the extended exposure to the cold temperature, let alone stay awake and active for the time period.
I briefly met with members of her dedicated and determined crew who seemed as tough and as motivated by the woman they were supporting. Bonnie Stoll, Diana’s trainer, was in charge of the crew and dealt a combination of tenderness and tough love to Diana depending what the situation called for. I was inspired to see two people working purely as one unit, focused on an epic goal.
The athlete was fueled by the crew – literally, as Bonnie spoon fed Diana reaching from the deck to her open mouth like a mother bird to it’s chicks – and the crew drew energy from Diana’s efforts.
The mood was intense and then, suddenly, Richard Simmons voice shot across the pool through the sound system. Decked out in a robe, speedos and flowered swim cap, Richard, had shown up to swim a lap with Diana.
Then the two fitness moguls shared a rather emotional lap, reminiscing, and talking about the importance of raising funds and fitness in general. The mutual affection was clear and touching for all to see.
I returned after dark to find Diana and the crew pushing harder than ever to get through the night and the cold. It is hard to describe the powerful emotions I felt not as a fellow endurance athlete being able to relate to her struggle, but also as a survivor of Hurricane Sandy. Witnessing Diana’s efforts for a good cause has left me with inspiration in spades.