Diana Nyad is no stranger to the news and has been grabbing headlines since her 20s for her record achievements as a long-distance swimmer. Falling just a little short of her goal, Diana retired from marathon swimming at the age of 30 to become a sports journalist. Since then, she has been an author, motivational speaker and an example for everyone who thinks dreams can’t be achieved after the age of 60. This is because 35 years after her first failed attempt, Diana started training for swimming across Cuba to Florida stretch, a 103-mile distance, without a shark cage, which no one had succeeded in completing at that point. Finally, at 64, ignoring all the haters, Diana touched the finish line and fulfilled her long-term dream. Her journey to this point has been chronicled in Netflix’s sports biopic on her life called ‘Nyad.’ Since a lot isn’t clear about her personal life, here’s everything we know about her.
Diana Nyad Took Up Swimming at an Early Age
Born on August 22, 1949, in New York, Diana always had a fascination for the water and started swimming seriously at the age of 12. Even in later years, she held on to something her stepfather told her about being a Nyad, a Greek word for water nymphs, indicating that swimming was in her destiny. She studied at Pine Crest School, and after graduating, she briefly went to Emory University but later joined Illinois’ Lake Forst College, where she could focus on swimming. While she used swimming as an escape in her school years, it also became a traumatic incident for her, as Diana claimed that her swimming coach at that time, Jack Nelson, sexually assaulted her and a few other girls from the team. She has spoken about this incident many times, and her frustration about being silenced by him.
Leaving this incident behind, Diana grew to make a name for herself as a marathon swimmer, especially when she first attempted to swim on her dream stretch of Cuba to Florida at the age of 28. She managed to cover 76 of the 103 miles but had to be pulled out because of bad weather. The shark cage also restricted her movement and led her in a different direction. But in her fifth attempt at the age of 64, she had learned from all the hurdles she had to face previously and was so familiar with the ocean that she was able to accomplish what no one, especially of her age, had done. After this achievement in 2013, Nyad went on to author her fourth book in 2015, ‘Find A Way,’ toured extensively as a prominent sports personality and even started an initiative, EverWalk, with her best friend and trainer Bonnie Stoll.
Diana Nyad Was Adopted By Her Stepfather
Diana Nyad’s mother, Lucy Curtis, was raised in Paris and had a very harsh childhood since she was abandoned by her own mother. Diana was always very close to her and remembers that they used to talk to each other in French, which she misses. Lucy sadly passed away in 2007, but Diana keeps remembering her through memories. Diana’s biological father was William L. Sneed Jr, but not much is known about him since her parents got divorced in 1952. Her mother later married Aristotle Z. Nyad, the same stepfather who asked Diana to remember her destiny as a water nymph. After he adopted Diana, she took his last name and became Diana Nyad.
Diana also had a brother, Sharif, who sadly passed away around 2005 after battling schizophrenia for a long time. He, too, had a hard life on the streets, but Diana remembers him as a kind-hearted soul who helped people and lived his life to the fullest. Diana also has a sister, Liza, whom she is very close to and makes a point to meet often. Both sisters live in Los Angeles and share a special bond since they were close to their mother. Apart from them, Diana also has a nephew, Tim, and a goddaughter, Skylar. Another huge part of Diana’s daily life, her loving pet Teddy, who also makes an appearance in the film, sadly died in 2021.
Who is Diana Nyad’s Partner?
Diana has admitted in interviews that she came out as a lesbian to her mother at the age of 21, and after that, eventually made her sexuality public, even advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community. While she felt coming out to society was tough at that time, she is grateful her mother was always very supportive and understanding and feels it is because of her French roots. However, Diana has preferred to keep her dating life very private and focus on her career. She briefly dated Bonnie Stoll when they first met, but it turned into a lifelong platonic friendship very soon, as Diana is still very close to Bonnie.
Diana revealed that she once went on a date with Woody Allen, pretending to be straight, but she was clear about her sexuality, and when the date didn’t end well, she still later became friends with him. There were some rumors about Diana previously being married to a man named Bart Springtime, but nothing substantial to corroborate that has come out yet. But it’s certain that Diana had a partner she was very close to and serious about at one point, but everything with her is over now. Diana has discussed this with her followers without revealing any specific details.