tv Dr. Sanjay Gupta Diana Nyad CNN September 17, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm PDT
what began in the bright lights of the press. >> seems almost like a dream to me, but now it's real. >> turned into agony, exclusively before cameras. >> barely alive, right now, just barely alive. >> this is the story of a superhuman physical feat, of heartbreak and determination. >> there we go, keep it up diana. >> now the inside story that no one has seen before. of all that went right and all that went wrong. >> i'm sick and i'm cold and i don't want to quit. >> a journey of courage, 33 years and 29 hours in the making. for diana nyad, it started two years ago with a birthday, a big birthday. diana was about to turn 60 years old. >> i was driving in my car, telling myself, you'd better get with these life lessons. you can't go back. you better just seize the day.
go forward, and 60 isn't old. and i was looking at the cars in the rear-view mirror and i caught a side of my eyes for a second and i thought, oh, wait a second, maybe i could go back. maybe that would be the event that would make me feel strong and powerful again would define me again. >> reporter: what once defined diana was marathon swimming. in the 1970s, she won races and set records worldwide. >> i'm interested in the most outrageously difficult goals that i can think of. it's so difficult. but i get wiser and wiser all the time. >> reporter: strong, brash, confident. a media darling. in august, 1978, at age 28, diana set out to do the most outrageously difficult swim she could imagine, cuba to florida, over 100 miles in vicious currents, 200,000 strokes, 60 hours. she had a shark cage built,
headed to cuba, and launched from a beach surrounded by press. despite grave concerns. >> and i remember, i got down to the shore with my six handlers, have a picture of the six of us looking bewildered. we're looking out at a raging sea and white caps. >> her navigator promised calmer seas just offshore. but instead, diana battled eight-foot swells for almost 42 hours. hopelessly offcourse and ravaged by jelly fish bites, her hammers eventually pulled diana from the water. >> i didn't stop choking for 42 hours. it was very rough. you can ask anybody. >> reporter: diana's dream was dashed. her heart was broken. >> i've never had to summon so much will power, never wanted anything so badly. i never tried so hard. >> reporter: the following year, diana set the record for the
longest unassisted is ocean swim in history going from the bahamas to florida. and then, she quit swimming. >> the day i turned 30 was the day i swam up on to that florida shore from the bahamas, and i thought to myself, i will never swim another stroke in my life. >> reporter: and for more than 30 years, she didn't. summer, 2009. as diana nears her 60th birthday, she realizes, there's one dream that never left her. so she changes her mind and quietly returns to the pool. >> i just started going to a little tiny country club pool. swimming for 25, 30 minutes. and not fast, just kind of feeling if the stroke was there, seeing if the shoulders and the elbows and the triceps were going to take the pressure. and i knew that the body was going to have to slowly come to it. so for the first couple of months, i was just adding like ten minutes a day.
>> reporter: not even her best friend bonnie stoll, knows what she's up to. >> she started saying, i'm going to go for a swim. i said, really? i'd say, what's going on. she said, my knees have been bothering me. i'm seeing what it would like. times away, four hours, five hours, six hours. what's going on? nothing. she wasn't acknowledging, she wasn't divulging any of the information that she was thinking about. >> reporter: early in 2010, everything clicks in to place. >> i did a 6 1/2 hour swim, cold. i don't like the cold, i don't do well in the cold. it was cold. i came out shivering like this. that's the day i knew, i said to myself, i've got it. i have it in my spirit, i have it in my body. this summer, i'm swimming from cuba to florida. >> reporter: cuba, home of salsa and cigars. castro and communism. just 100 miles south of the florida keys.
for diana, it's a place both complex and captivating. >> this is a magical place. i grew up in southern florida. had many cuban friends. it's not just anywhere. it's "cuba" to florida. >> reporter: truth is, others have attempted this swim before. even succeeded. but no one has done it the way diana now hopes to. just imagine the 60 hours in that ocean with no rest, no shark cage, no flippers. diana wants to set the record for the longest unaided ocean swim in history. and she wants to set that record at age 60. the plan is audacious and maybe impossible. >> the swim itself that she's setting out to do is a super difficult swim. this is florida -- >> reporter: david marchant makes his living navigating caribbean water. >> key west is right here.
it's 103 miles and havana is right there. if it was in a swimming pool, 103 miles is a long way. but across the straits of florida, it's super difficult. >> reporter: to make it, she'll have to build her body into a machine. so she's swimming every day for six, eight, ten hours at a time. hoping to conquer the one dream that has eluded her. [ male announcer ] this is the network. a network of possibilities. excuse me? my grandfather was born in this village. [ cellphone translating ] [ male announcer ] in here, everyone speaks the same language. ♪ in here, forklifts drive themselves. ♪ look at the map. okay.
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the unassisted triple play. [ male announcer ] stay smart and book smart. book early and save up to 20% at any holiday inn express. stay you. over 100 miles of open ocean stretched between cuba and florida. these are waters surging with currents and teeming with sharks. it's so far, it would take a swimmer 2 1/2 days to cross. if you think that sounds too crazy to even consider, then you've never met diana nyad. >> i feel very centered about it. it's going to be difficult. it could be close to impossible. it's going to be a lot of long hours. >> reporter: it's a big dream that won't come easily. succeeding will take her best and it all starts with perfect technique. >> even the best of swimmers
have seen me swim and say it's a beautiful free style, very efficient, high elbows. probably every 14-year-old in this country can swim as fast as i can, frankly, at a good level of competitive swimming. but who's got the mind then? >> reporter: the mind and the will to do something super human. look at that ocean. imagine swimming in it for so far and so long, it would be a challenge for anyone, even a 20-year-old. diana is three times that age. she's going to have to train harder, better, to even have a chance. >> reporter: when diana enters the water, she's entering a very hostile environment. >> reporter: dr. ken camler is a surgeon who specializes in extreme medicine. and he knows exactly what die and fa's body will go through. >> she won't be able to keep up with the energy and heat loss which she's experiencing. >> just impossible to do that.
>> the water is going to drain her. she's going to be running at a deficit. the deficit will increase. she'll just be providing energy to those organs which are essential for her survival. she's swimming alone and she's in a race. she has to swim through florida before her body deteriorates to the point where she can no longer swim at all. >> reporter: to prepare, she pushes herself farther and longer. by july, 2010, diana is ready for her first true test -- a 24-hour training swim, her longest swim in 30 years. if she fails, it means the end of her extreme dream. >> you met heidi? >> reporter: now, the team gathers. >> my buddy. >> reporter: to meet and to plan with diana leading the charge. >> tomorrow is a tremendous important test of me and my confidence. i want to get out saying, you know what? yeah, i'm tired and i'm a little woozy and i need some whatever. but i feel okay.
i've got more in me. there's more in the tank than this. >> let's call it 8:19. that's your start of your swim. >> reporter: the next morning, she plunges into the ocean. with diana in the water, bonnie stolle assumes command. >> don't worry about it. this is the time for that. so don't worry about it at all. >> reporter: best friend, drill sergeant. >> one hour. on your first stroke. here we go. >> reporter: chief handler. >> bonnie is a rock. she was a professional athlete herself. she's a take charge no nonsense say it in a few words. she knows me as an athlete. >> reporter: bonnie will lead an army of handlers that will follow diana's every stroke to nourish, encourage. >> fabulous. >> -- and protect her. one of their biggest concerns, sharks. >> these are great waters for sharks. >> reporter: luke temple is the team's lead shark diver. he knows how dangerous these waters can be. >> catching this chum box that's hanging off the back of the
boat? >> these particular waters we'll be looking for oceanic hammerheads, reef sharks. this animal has evolved to dominate the ocean. they have a sixth sense. they can feel the electricity in the water. they know we're there. >> reporter: that's why, in 1978, diana swam in a shark cage. today, she just uses this -- >> sharks are tremendously sensitive to this. this is actually in the kayak. >> reporter: it's called the shark shield. off of the coast of the bahamas, tipple shows us how it works. it's a shark-feeding frenzy at this block of chum until tipple approaches and turns on the shark shield that hangs above it. now, the device emits a strong but harmless signal that overwhelms a shark's senses and forces them to the ocean floor.
>> okay. green light means it's working. >> reporter: to keep diana safe, shark shields are mounted below these kayaks. they're electrical signals surround diana, keeping dangerous predators at bay. . we are now thousands of strokes into her 24-hour swim. but there's a problem. she's swimming in circles. >> you veer off a little, a little more and you veer off a little more and you end up in jamaica. >> after a while, every stroke i look at that boat for hours and say, stay closer, stay closer, stay here, stay here. so i drift. every time i swim 30, 40, 50 yards that way and back, we're going to add in miles and miles. >> reporter: and that could mean the difference between success and failure. fortunately, today's swim was about time rather than distance. >> beautiful. >> hey, guys. okay. we made it.
>> reporter: at 8:19 the next morning, she emerges from the water. >> there you go. there you go. >> reporter: exhausted, >> i was racked. i mean, i was dehydrated and depleted much, much more than i knew i was when i was in there. >> watch your head. >> and yet, she feels confident. >> i really pushed. i was like cranking it. there was never a doubt. there was never a moment of doubt. i felt very strong, i must say. >> reporter: strong. but it's only been 24 hours. does she have what it takes to survive a swim more than twice as long? ♪
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>> reporter: august, 2010, diana nyad is raring to go and ready to turn her dream into reality. she arrives in key west. >> here we go. >> reporter: the weather seems right. the time has come. tomorrow diana plans to leave key west for cuba and start to swim. >> i feel very ready. i can't wait to get in there and start proving what i can do. get across. >> reporter: hundreds of things must go exactly as planned. even one snafu could sink the swim. >> how's it going, bonnie?
>> reporter: best friend bonnie stolle? she's dealing with the first problem. >> the big green bag didn't make it, right? >> all of the bathing suits and gear and caps. i thought, i should carry those all in my carry-on luggage. >> bright green big duffel bag. >> reporter: turns out, even elite athletes lose their luggage. >> thank you. >> good luck in finding your bag. >> yeah. >> that's probably going to be harder than cuban authorities. >> reporter: even harder than finding the lost bag, finding three days of perfect weather. so every few hours, diana calls weather experts jennifer and dane clark to check in. as jennifer monitors the gulf stream, dane keeps a close eye on the weather. >> hello. >> hey, dane, it's diana nyad. >> reporter: diana needs very light winds. >> friday and saturday look like light wind days.
probably a marginal weekend. >> reporter: warm water and currents. >> what about the gulf stream? >> it changes pretty slowly. >> reporter: and calm seas. >> i don't want to be swimming in a three-foot sea. it's murder. i can't make much progress. but a one-foot sea i can. it's a crap shoot. let's talk end of day no matter what. thanks, dane. bye, bye. oh, i don't know. >> according to him, it looks like it's not going to be even this good for a while. >> yeah. . >> reporter: diana has a big decision to make, take the risk and swim in iffy weather or wait for a calmer window that might not come. she decides to go for it. everything in key west kicks in to high gear. the team flies in. the boats are prepped. >> okay. >> reporter: and then, just hours later, the forecast turns and the weather window vanishes. >> that put everything to a halt. it was a setback. for many, it was a chance to
improve things for others on the crew. but diana got to have her very first meltdown which she needed to have. >> i bawled like a baby. for me, like will this ever happen? >> reporter: so diana decides to turn that disappointment to her advantage. she takes the team out that night for a training swim. her goal? to work out a few kinks. >> are we ready? 7:40 in the water, okay? >> reporter: like her difficulty swimming in a straight line. to succeed, she must follow the boat's course exactly. it's something she often struggles to do. >> i've got these fogged overgologies and i'm just able to catch a little bit of a -- not a full focus. just a semi focus 60 times a minute. i'm out there in never-never land in my mind. >> reporter: to help, david
marchant and kayaker stewart nags has rig this had contraption. it's an arm that trails from the boat and trails red fabric. this streamer should provide diana a path to follow in the water like a lane line in the pool even when she's swimming in the pitch dark. >> we're wondering if she sees the fiberoptic that they set up under the water. we see it now for the first time. >> reporter: if it works. >> she's not usually this distance from the boat. i don't mean far, i mean perfect. she's definitely seeing something. this is exactly where we want her. >> reporter: it's a big success. the team feels great again. but not for long. summer, 2010 drags on. days pass. then weeks. waiting for good weather. that never comes. but diana refuses to give up on her goal to swim this summer. so for now, it's laps in a local lagoon instead of ocean swims.
avoiding a snorkler instead of sharks. there's a lone chair instead of handlers. diana's dream is slipping away. >> agonizing. it's not just been frustrating. it's been absolutely agonizing. i wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night at 3:00, 4:00 in the morning, worried i won't even get my chance. >> reporter: but all of the laps in the world can't change the weather. >> it's rough out there now. it's blowing at 15 knots of wind, six-foot seas out there. >> reporter: by october, conditions had bottomed out. navigator david marchant. >> last weekend, the water temperature dropped almost six degrees over the weekend. once it gets below 80 degrees, she can't do it. >> i feel like i've let down
about you, >> reporter: after training a year, handling countless logistics, and spending a huge chunk of her savings, diana makes a gut-wrenching decision. >> i've just been under tremendous stress. >> i sat down and wrote this e-mail a couple of days ago. the day has come. the seas here today have dropped to 77 degrees, far below my threshold for such a long time in the water. this was my year. i believe i got in better shape both body and mind than even in my 20s. it has been draining, whipping of the spirit to feel it all slipping away from me. >> it's over for this year. and that's okay. the swim will get done. it will get done in 2011, it will get done with much less hardship because so much has been taken care of in a nutshell, the end of this journey has become the middle. >> reporter: now, all that's
left is to pack up and say good-bye. >> how's my big bear? you made me strong when i was getting weak. so from the four of you to be in it with me and say you still want to do it next year, i don't think could do it without your inspiration. >> she's allowed to be disheartened. oh, my god, i have to do it again. and then that will come to, i can't wait to do it again. >> reporter: los angeles, six months later. >> i'm now full tilt, you know, in it again. >> reporter: you see, for diana, quitting wasn't an option. yet, these long months of training have taken a toll on her 61-year-old body. >> this shoulder has a tear and the biceps tendon which is right in the front here. i went to an orthopedist, he said it's a considerable tear, you'll never do it. >> reporter: so diana found another doctor with a better outlook.
icing around the clock. and at another swimmer's suggestion, she even changes the stroke she's had for over 30 years. >> you're going to start swimming with your shoulder down. so i changed my stroke. i'm in way better shape even than last year. just strong, strong, strong as a bull. >> reporter: strong and ready. but can the new stroke work? will the torn shoulder hold? and will that weather ever come? ♪ [ female announcer ] the road is not exactly a place of intelligence. highway maintenance is underfunded, costing drivers $67 billion a year, and countless tires. which drivers never actually check because they're busy, checking email. this is why we engineered a car that makes 2,000 decisions every second. the new audi a6 is here. the road is now an intelligent place.
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i'm don lemon at the cnn world headquarters in atlanta. here are your headlines. investigators are focused on what they're calling a component from the plane that crashed in reno, nevada's air race on friday. the crash killed nine people including pilot jimmy leeward and injured more than 50 others about photos taken shortly before the crash show the trim tab appears to be missing. investigators say they've already recovered portions of the plane's tail section. friends and family of two americans imprisoned in iran are awaiting their release. an attorney for shane bauer and josh fattal says iranian authorities are close to signing the necessary documents. the two were arrested with a friend while liking along the border in 2009. an iranian court convicted them
of spying. authorities demanded that each pay half a million dollars before their release. those are your headlines this hour. i'm don lemon, keeping you informed, cnn, the most trusted name in news. >> reporter: diana nyad has worked, waited, and worried, anxious to attempt her history-making swim. finally, on august 5, 2011, diana gets an urgent call from meteorologist dane clark. the weather is here. this is it. diana's 40-person crew hops flights across the country. diana lands in cuba -- again. team nyad converges at havana's hemingway marina. so here we are, after all the false starts, all the
disappointments, all the training, all the logistics, two years of waiting, diana nyad is about to take her shot. the swim starts here. she's going to jump in. for 60 hours, she's going to push her mind, push her body to the human limit. >> so it's good. come on. >> reporter: at sunset, august 7, diana makes her way to the water. ♪ and then it's show time. >> 7:46 p.m., she entered the water. >> reporter: diana starts swimming, leaving cuba behind. she expects to have 60 grueling hours of swimming ahead. sunrise, august 8. diana nyad has been swimming for nearly 12 hours. >> we're holding our own now. so we're happy. >> david marchant is charting the best course he can.
but conditions are not what he'd hoped. >> well, it's calm for a sailor, but for a swimmer, it's rough. we could have done with a longer flat patch which we didn't get. we're hoping the winds are going to go down. >> it was really beautiful when we started and then it got choppy pretty quickly. >> bonnie's eye saz never leave her best friend. >> i feel bad for her. it's tough out there. i feel good that she's powering on. >> reporter: powering on requires near super human effort. now diana's body is in survival mode, diverting blood to essential organs, the heart, the lungs, the brain, and to the muscles propelling her through the water with every stroke. she's likely burning 700 calories an hour now. >> her stroke has not changed. she was getting 52 strokes an minute, she's now getting 54. so she's swimming a stroke and a
half faster. >> throw her stroke looks smoothing. >> blowing the whistle. >> there is a critical problem. >> i never thought i would have to deal with something like this. it's excruciating. >> reporter: excruciaing pain in diana's good shoulder. >> it's her right shoulder. the left shoulder is the bad one. >> reporter: diana calls this pain a 10 out of 10. so bonnie throws everything at it she can -- ice -- >> put ice on the shoulder, medication. >> anybody can do it healthy, right? >> that's what i say. >> encouragement. >> your stroke is beautiful. this is going to be painful. no doubt about it. we're all going to help make it better. but you are fine. >> david is also having problems. >> the current's really stronger. they're pushing us that way. we're still above the run line
about you, oh, trouble. the swim due to the current, pick the weather and go with it and hope the currents would be favorable. >> reporter: the waves are up and the water is surging in the wrong direction. >> it's amazing. we're not even going sideways, we're going backwards. >> i'm going to let it go a little bit. >> reporter: despite it all, the rest of the operation is running smoothly. this red whistle signals diana for fluids and feedings. one boat accompanies diana. others nearby carry crew. toss me a line. >> tenders run between boats each hour, switching captains and handlers. on the roof, the shark team scans for predators as the kayaks paddle beside diana carrying the shark shields. the one constant, diana, stroke after stroke, minute after minute. by afternoon, bonnie is battle worn, and her team nyad shirt shows it.
this is espresso goo, gel. this is peanut butter on bread she didn't want it. it's the day in the camp of nyad, i guess. >> reporter: a very long day in the camp of nyad. >> we go out of cuba, it's beautiful. it's flat, it's calm. and in about an hour and a half, it's getting choppy. and we weren't expecting it. >> reporter: still, bonnie remains hopeful. >> look at her, that shoulder is hurting so badly. her pace has not changed and her stroke has not changed. she's fighting through every second, every second. >> reporter: almost two days of tough swimming, still lie ahead. and for diana nyad, the worst is yet to come. [ whistles ] >> bonnie, bonnie -- [ kimberly ] when i was 19, i found myself alone
and i just decided i have more to offer than that. i put myself through nursing school, and then i decided to go get a doctorate degree. university of phoenix gave me the knowledge to make a difference in people's lives. my name is dr. kimberly horton. i manage a network of over a thousand nurses, and i am a phoenix. [ male announcer ] find your program at phoenix.edu. and i've tried it. but nothing's helped me beat my back pain. then i tried this. it's salonpas. this is the relief i've been looking for. salonpas has 2 powerful pain fighting ingredients that work for up to 12 hours. and my pharmacist told me it's the only otc pain patch approved for sale using the same rigorous clinical testing that's required for prescription pain medications. proven. powerful. safe. salonpas.
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well, almost everybody... ♪ would you like 50% more cash? no! but it's more money. [ male announcer ] the new capital one cash rewards card. the card for people who want 50% more cash. what's in your wallet? woah! [ giggles ] >> reporter: diana nyad dreamed of swimming from cuba to florida, of gliding across the surface in flat, calm seas. now 14 hours into her swim, very little is going as planned. the water is choppy, the current, surging. and a terrible pain in diana's shoulder is taking its toll. it seems like it's going to come
out of its socket. but still she pushes through, driving her body forward, stroke after stroke, relying on sheer will power. it's not easy. simply keeping her body fueled is a delicate balancing act. even getting her something to drink can be a challenge. handlers on the crew boat mix this special concoction of water, sports drinks, and electrolyte powders. >> sort of a thing we came up with by trial and error. >> the mix is then delivered to handler john hennessey on the escort boat. >> a special mix. we're looking for 20 ounces and she's been doing about 24 which is really good. >> reporter: he rigs a line to drop a pouch of fluid in to the water. >> i blow the whistle. she'll see it trailing and she'll pick it up and drink out of it. >> reporter: there's no question for diana, hydration is serious business. >> she will lose almost six ounces of fluid for every half
hour she swims. without enough replacements, she can become delirious and physically unable to continue. >> she drank about eight ounces, that's a pretty good quantity for her. >> reporter: now rehydrated, diana takes just five more strokes and then -- crisis. >> bonnie, bonnie -- >> reporter: see, diana is getting enough fluids. but now she's not getting enough oxygen. so team nyad snaps into action. >> you are okay. we're going to walk you through this. come closer to the boat, talk to me. that's it. just like that. just like that. >> reporter: bonnie frantically waves for diana's doctor. michael broder. >> it's making my muscles feel weak. i can't get oxygen. >> don't talk, don't talk, i'm going to talk to you. okay? let's not waste any breath. you're probably having a little asthmatic attack. >> dr. michael only, dr. michael only. >> here he is.
you're cool, okay, diana? no worries. he's right here. i love you. >> reporter: michael jumps on to the escort boat. >> i've been having trouble catching my breath the last two hours and now it's turning into wheezing and my throat has closed up a little bit. >> we're going to give you this inhaler. >> reporter: it sounds like asthma. but diana has never had an asthma attack while swimming. now on top of the pain in her shoulder, she also can't breathe. >> i just lost all of the blood to my muscles. >> let's let it get back. you don't need to move anywhere. >> you want me to try to give you a puff from here? >> the inhaler seems to help. >> listen, is it taking effect? >> i think so. >> don't leave until it's taken effect. slow it down for a mile. slow it down. >> i feel a little dizzy. >> okay. here we go. >> reporter: and everyone breathes a sigh of relief -- for now. dr. michael broder wishes he could do more. but, of course, his patient is
swimming in the middle of the ocean. so he does what he can. >> we gave her another couple puffs of that inhaler and it sounded a lot better. >> reporter: the star athlete is limping along. but the rest of the operation is going well. shark diver luke tipple hasn't seen any sharks swimming below. >> doing a perimeter check. being cautious. >> reporter: and the captains seem happy with the course. but all eyes remain on diana. it's midday. >> i can't even swim, 1 hours into the swim. >> my muscles are going without oxygen. i'm in distress while i'm going. >> reporter: it's become clear that diana's condition is not improving. >> is it your lungs? >> reporter: dr. broder has to do something drastic. he grabs his stethoscope and plunges into the water. first he tries the inhaler again. then he returns to the boat and
rigs this oxygen tank. he jumps back into the water desperate to get diana some air. >> i'm hyperventilating all the time. >> here we go, that's good. >> reporter: bet you've never seen an er visit quite like this. it doesn't seem to make much difference. every few strokes now, she stops and she gasps for air. despite it all, somehow she keeps on swimming. diana nyad's body is failing her. and it's her will and that dream that has taken over. pressing on through sunset past the 24-hour mark and into the darkness. midnight. hour 28. diana has been swimming with bad asthma for nearly 12 hours. she's battling through every stroke in the pitch dark.
any bright light even from our camera could attract sharks. so you see a small red beacon on her cap bobbing up and down, that's the only way her handlers can see her. and now the shoulder pain is so great that in desperation, diana switches to breaststroke. bonnie urges her on. >> here we go, here we go. keep it up, diana. >> reporter: and then, diana stops. exhausted and feeling helpless. >> are we actually going forward at all during the breaststroke? >> absolutely. >> because you know, i'm in trouble. i'm just trying everything i can. >> reporter: team nyad is now gravely concerned. but they still cling to hope. >> still it's going to be a tough fight. we're getting there. she needs to get her second wind and we'll be great. >> reporter: she manages a few free style strokes and then stops again.
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>> reporter: for 33 years, diana nyad has dreamed of this swim, from cuba to florida. but for the last 28 hours, she's been swimming in constant pain. barely able to breathe. now she swims in total darkness. all our cameras can see is the beacon on the back of diana's cap and that red streamer underwater. but we hear her voice. diana is in dire shape. >> i'm just barely alive. right now, i'm just barely alive. >> okay, talk to me.
>> reporter: her best friend and chief handler bonnie stolle is concerned and for the first time senses the end may be near. >> whatever you want to do, i'm with you. you walk away from this, no matter what, no matter what. >> reporter: diana approaches the boat and calls out to navigator david marchant. >> all night, all day again, another night. i can barely make an hour right now. i'm just dead. i'm dead. >> reporter: for diana, this is the moment, the xtreme dream could be over. >> i just have to get real because i've got a tremendous will, but i'm in very bad shape with this. i just can't. >> i love you. i love you. it's okay. grab on to her shoulder, okay? >> reporter: after more than a full night and a day, bonnie and
dr. mike broder together pull diana from the water. the swim is done. >> i can't make it. >> you know it's done and you did it. you did it, you did it. okay? you did it. you did wa you did. >> i'm so sorry. are you disappointed? >> nobody's disappointed. nobody, nobody. >> not on this day, it's too rough. i'm too cold. >> come on. >> i'm sick. >> okay, okay. here you go. stay there. can we have a towel? >> reporter: diana is shivering as dr. broder takes her vitals. he's worried about hypothermia. >> i know i could do it in the right conditions. >> no, no, no, don't go there. this wasn't it. >> this wasn't it. >> that's right. >> you left nothing behind. that's all you can do. >> this was a success. okay? this was a success in every way. did you get to the other shore? no, but you did inspire everybody that knows you. >> i can't do it.
>> reporter: the tender rushes over and takes diana to the crew boat for medical care. >> yep, yep. >> all right. >> she is violently sick to her stomach and exhausted. >> i'm just going to put this band around your arm. >> reporter: she's in desperate need of i.v. fluids. >> you're good. >> reporter: finally three hours later, diana eases her way from the deck to the couch. now, she just wants to talk. >> i just can't believe how it turned out. that day, i just couldn't believe it. swimming for hours and hours just taking a few strokes, going on my back, trying to get it together. between the asthma and the shoulder and the waves, i didn't have a chance. what a shame. what a shame. all of the training, my god.
it was such a big dream. it's a real bitter pill to swallow. >> reporter: just hours later, i call her from on assignment in africa. >> hey, diana, how are you feeling? >> i'm so disappointed, sanjay. i tried to find a solution like every 20 minutes, tried something new. i couldn't be the swimmer i am. i just couldn't do it. >> reporter: i know, but you inspired so many people along the way. >> it was definitely the right decision. there was nothing left. >> reporter: you are the type of person that leaves everything out there. when you say the body could not overcome, it's more true in your case than anyone else i know. >> honestly, doing half of it was much, much tougher, much more duress on the body than had i done the whole thing with the right circumstances. >> reporter: be well, take care, recover, we'll talk soon. >> bye, thanks for calling. bye.
>> reporter: as the boats arrive back into key west, diana shares a moment with bonnie. >> i put so much in to this dream. i just couldn't imagine this coming down this way and just couldn't imagine it. >> you put so much of yourself into it. you deserved it. you deserved it. >> i feel complete, 100%. >> all right, buddy? thank you. thank you for these two years. nobody can ever take it away from us. >> hey there. >> reporter: look at you. >> how you been? >> reporter: a few weeks later in new york, diana and i had a chance to reflect on dreams and what they mean. some time has passed. how are you doing? >> you know, sanjay, it's -- i almost couldn't believe it happened. it was just kind of suddenly over and i'm on the boat and this is reality. i kept saying to myself, that didn't happen. we haven't gone yet.
i think there was part of me that said, that is what happened and i just had to come to grips with that reality. there's nothing more this body could have tolerated. so there was a human spirit that gave everything. and my head was held high, and i'm proud of what we did. but the swimmer feels cheated. >> reporter: the dream and the athlete remain restless. but the heart and the mind are transformed. >> i was a person until i decided to do this swim that was just racked with regrets all the time. just constantly beating myself up. once i started the swim and decided to live my life with a big dream and dedicate myself to it and live it with passion, no matter what happens, no matter what happens, live your life this way. >> every time i talked to you, literally, i said this to you before, but i walk away so
inspired. literally, i want to grap grab this day by the tail. is that the message to everybody else? >> it's the message. if every day i can think, i looked at that sunset today, i did it. if i felt the joy of my body, you live a good life and what more can you do? what more can you do? >> reporter: these cuban shores, diana left them to set out to do the impossible. to swim across that ocean all the way to florida. we now know, she didn't make it. but i couldn't help but think, that wasn't the point. her two attempts separated by more than 30 years teach us something far more important, to try hard, to have courage, to dream big at any age. to dream big, at any age. i'm dr. sanjay gupta. i'm dr. sanjay gupta. thanks for watching.