clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Diana Nyad talks about Cuba-to-Florida swim attempt No. 4, her first sexual experience

Insane or determined? Diana Nyad is one or the other...or a little of both. After failing to swim from Cuba to Florida on her first three attempts (two of which came last year), the 63-year-old is at it again this summer with a fourth attempt. Nyad talks about her summer 2012 attempt in the latest issue of Out magazine, sharing the debate that rages in her head and the minds of many about the true goal of her quest.

“Nobody unkindly wrote me last year to say, ‘Oh, what a disappointment.’ They said, ‘It’s all about the journey, and you don’t need to get to the other shore.’ That’s the irony. It’s always the debate of the journey and the destination. You wouldn’t be going through that heroism if you weren’t shooting for the other shore. It’s all about the destination -- and the journey to get there, but not without the destination.”

Out spends a lot of time talking with Nyad about her alleged sexual abuse as a young swimmer. While Nyad doesn't discuss her sexual orientation much in public, focusing instead on her sport, writer Shana Naomi Krochmal did get her to open up about it. A little.

She had managed to stay relevant as a journalist. She was gregarious, outgoing, and charming. She didn’t expend any energy trying to hide that she was a lesbian, once she figured it out -- at 21, she had taken a bus from New York City to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a friend’s surprise birthday party. “They didn’t tell me they were all gay,” she says. “They thought, She won’t care, she’ll just get here and deal.” She had sex with three women that night.

“I stayed for two weeks and went out every night and slept with everybody in the town.” Before that, she says, “I was just so messed up. I didn’t have any sexuality -- I just knew I didn’t want to be with men. But I thought it was all just because of the trauma -- you never know, but I think I was gay from day one.”

We wish Nyad the best of luck, which she'll need a healthy dose of to avoid the jellyfish, sharks, storms, winds, cramps, fatigue....