Hammer Nutrition Blog

Zandy Mangold visits Diana Nyad’s 48 hour “Swim for Relief”

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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.

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Spectators cheer on Diana in downtown New York City as she swims with an Air Force service member. Photo: Zandy Mangold

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.


Diana’s diligent crew on deck, pictured at night. Photo: Zandy Mangold

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Photo: Zandy Mangold

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.


One of Bonnie’s go to fuels for Diana to settle her stomach includes a special blend of Hammer’s Sustained Energy, whey protein, Endurolyte Powder. Photo: Zandy Mangold


Bonnie checking in on Diana. Photo: Zandy Mangold

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.

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Richard Simmons making his grand entrance. Looks like Diana’s crew was caught off guard. Photo: Zandy Mangold

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.

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Photo: Zandy Mangold

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Diana, Richard and triathlete Laurel Wassner sharing a laugh. Photo: Zandy Mangold

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.

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Photo: Zandy Mangold


Diana swimming below the Empire State Building

To learn more about Diana’s “Swim for Relief” and to donate please visit their website. You can also learn more about Diana over on her website or you can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Zandy Mangold is a Hammer Nutrition sponsored ultra runner and photographer based in New York City. To see some of his work you can visit his website or follow him on Twitter.


Zandy Mangold

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