Monday, September 2, 2013
DIANA NYAD SPARKS A FITNESS REVOLUTION
Almost as soon as Diana Nyad completed her historic swim from Cuba to Florida and
emphatically stated, "You're never too old to chase your dreams," a fitness revolution was
born. People from 60 to 80-years old, inspired by their new hero, headed for swimming
pools across the globe.
"I've never seen anything like it," said Fennis Dembo, general manager of LA Fitness in
New York City. "It was like they said, 'To hell with the family picnics and barbeques. By
4 p.m., this pool was packed with older people."
Charles Wentworth, 71, and a former squash champion at Princeton, felt rejuvenated by
just watching Nyad finish off her 110-mile swim through shark infested waters.
"Open water swimming is where it's at," said Wentworth, a retired hedge fund manager
who spent five years in prison for insider trader. "I'm bored with P90x and CrossFit. I needed
a new challenge. I'll start with something easy, like swimming the English Channel, and then
move on to bigger things such as crossing the Pacific."
Rosemary Davis, Betty Williams, and Pookie Rothstein, all 73, said they haven't excercised
in more than five years, but after seeing the 64-year old Nyad swim 53 hours, they got pumped
as they once did for Olivia Newton-John's music video, "Let's Get Physical."
"Today was the first time I had been in the pool in a long time," sad Davis. "But after swimming
just one lap, I was 'off the chain'. Is that how they say it? I'm not ready for shuffleboard and
early bird specials just yet. I think I'm going to try to swim across the Hudson River next spring.
Swimming merchandise was flying off the shelves at "The Sports Authority" in Shreveport,
"At this time of year, we usually see a spike in gun and ammunition sales," said Billy Joe
Robideaux, sales manager. "But after Ms. Nyad completed that friggin' swim, people came
in for goggles, jelly-fish repellent and Speedos. I tried to steer them older folks from those
tiny swim suit and get into something a little more comfortable for their liking. But they
wanted the thing that offered the least resistance, so I gave them the smallest speedos I
could find. LMAO. Good luck with that."
Billy North, coach of the Masters swim program in Tupolo, Mississippi, was inundated with
thousands of phone calls shortly after Nyad removed the mask that protected her from jelly-fish
stings when she was done.
"Brother, I have not had this much attention in my program for years," said North. "These
people were demanding. They wanted to know when the first practice was in the morning
and how many they could do in a week. They didn't care nothing about the cost. I said, 'Well,
it might be a little early for you because it's at 5:30 a.m" he added. "Them people are camping
outside the door and sleeping there overnight. Un-Bee-Lee-va-bull!"
Diana Nyad sets a record and starts a whole new (and old) fitness revolution.