On 31st August 1974, Diana Nyad became the first person at age 24 to cross Lake Ontario from north to south in 18 hours 20 minutes, during her attempt to complete the first two-way crossing. Accompanied by Cliff Lumsdon, her swim encountered extremely bad weather. After a 10-minute rest she started the return trip, but was removed from the water unconscious after 20 hours 30 minutes. The details of the swim and the associated training are well-described in Diana's both "Other Shores" which is recommended reading for all aspirants of marathon swimming. She provides a frightening description of her ordeal with the sudden change of water temperature that occurred in Lake Ontario between two training swims - a feature of the Toronto shoreline that is characteristic of the whims of Lake Ontario.
Diana completed many swims on the Professional circuit and, for several years, was the top woman swimmer. The challenges of trying to earn a living as a marathon swimmer, and particularly as a woman, on the professional circuit - are described in "Other Shores". She broke the record for the swim around Manhattan Island and made three unsuccessful attempts to cross the English Channel. The book also describes a 103 mile (165 km) swim from the island of Bimini (Bahamas) to Florida.
On September 2, 2013, at the age of sixty-four, Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage, swimming 111 miles (178 km) in fifty-three hours from Havana to Key West. The odyssey of four crushing failures to complete this lifelong dream is detailed in her book, "Find a Way".
In 1986, she was inducted into the national Women's Sports Hall of Fame. Born in New York City and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Diana developed a highly successful career in television, radio and print and motivational speaking.