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Frances Beinecke’s Blog

Thank You, Diana Nyad, Courageous Swimmer and Devoted Ocean Advocate

Frances Beinecke

Posted August 21, 2012 in Reviving the World's Oceans

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Monday evening, dolphins frolicked alongside world class swimmer Diana Nyad as she plowed through open ocean waters on her fourth attempt to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys. In the midst of this grueling swimming marathon, Diana sent a message of thanks to NRDC for our support for her swim and our work to keep ocean waters healthy. And she also wanted to know from NRDC: "Did you send the dolphins, too?"

Unfortunately, Diana had to end her amazing journey on Tuesday—one day shy of her 63rd birthday—as a result of an intense storm. For more than 40 hours she had braved the elements: stung by box jellyfish nine times on Monday night, surrounded by sharks (as her team worked to keep them away), and hit by not one, but two storms. Even after being pulled from the water, she wanted to keep going.

Hers is a true story of endurance. Hers is also a love story of the ocean. Diana has said she sees herself as having a close relationship with the ocean; she becomes one with it during her swims.

While most of us will never attempt to swim as far or as long as Diana did this week, many share her love of the ocean. We love spending summer vacations at the beach. We enjoy swimming and fishing, surfing and snorkeling. And we rely on the oceans to give us food, jobs, and energy.

We demand a lot from our oceans, but luckily we now have a good tool for preserving them: the new National Ocean Policy. Like the Clean Air Act for our air and the Clean Water Act for our water, this policy finally provides a comprehensive approach for managing our seas. It helps our oceans recover from the challenges of disappearing fish, polluted beachwater, climate change, and acidification. And it gives our oceans a better shot at a healthy future—one that I hope will inspire and support the dreams of the next generation of Diana Nyad’s. 

As I read about Diana’s swim through the ocean wilderness, I’m reminded of the strength and beauty of the human spirit and the power of the ocean life that lies just out of sight under the waves. On behalf of all of us here at NRDC who work to protect our ocean life and to make a difference in our world, congratulations, Diana, on an amazing swim and thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep our oceans healthy and strong.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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