tv Dr. Sanjay Gupta Diana Nyad CNN September 17, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
but now it's real. >> turned into agony, exclusively before cameras. >> barely alive, right now, just barely alive. >> okay. >> this is the story of a superhuman physical feat, of heart break and determination. >> there we go, keep it up, die -- diane. >> now the inside story that no one has seen before. all that went right and all that went wrong. >> i'm sick and cold and i 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 carteling myself, you better get with these life lessons.
you can't go back. you better just seize the day. go forward, 60 is 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. 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 great concerns. >> and i remember, i got down to the shore with my six handlers,e 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. instead, diana battled eight-foot swells for almost 42 hours. hopelessly offcourse and ravaged
by jelly fish bites, her handlers pulled diana from the water. >> the the weather didn't stop for 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 most unassisted ocean swim in history. going from the bahamas to florida. then, she quit swimming. oh. >> the day i turned 30 was the kay i swam up on the 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. oh. >> i just started going to a little tiny country club pool. swimming for 25, 30 minutes. not fast, just kind of feeling if the stroke was there, seeing 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 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 pottering 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, divulging any of the information that she was talking ant. >> reporter: early in 2010, everything clicks in to place. >> 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. 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. >> havana is right there. if it was a swimming pool 103 miles, it's a long way.
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and that's just one more reason why the earnhardt family has trusted nationwide for more than 30 years. nationwide is on your side. over 100 miles of open ocean stretched between cuba and florida. these are waters surging with currents and teeming with sharks. 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. every 14-year-old in this country could swim as fast as i can, frankly at a good level of competitive swimming. 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 chang challenge for anyone, even a 20-year-old. diana is three types 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. she knows what her body is going to go through. >> she won't be able to keep one the energy and the heat loss
that she's experiencing. >> reporter: impossible to do that. >> the watter is going to drain her. she's going to be running at a deficit. the deficit will increase. it will be providing the energy for the organs that 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 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 in to the ocean. with diana in the water, bonnie stolle assumes command. >> don't worry about it. it's the time for that. don't worry about it at all. >> reporter: best friend, drill sergeant. >> one hour. >> 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 her every stroke to nourish, encourage, and protect her. one of their biggest concerns -- sharks. >> tease are great waters for sharks. >> reporter: luke temple is the team's lead shark diver. he knows how dangerous these waters can be. >> capture the chum box going to the back of the boat? >> we're looking for oceanic
hammer heads, 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, temple shows us how it works. it's a shark-feeding frenzy at this block of chum until temple approaches and turns on the shark shield that hangs above it. now, the device emits a strong
but harmless center that overwhelms the shark's senses and forces them to the ocean floor. >> green light means it's working. >> reporter: to keep diana safe, shark shields are mounted below the kayaks. the electrical signals surround diana, keeping dangerous predators at bay. they're now thousands of strokes to her 24-hour swim. but there's a problem. she's swimming in circles. >> you veer off a little, a little more, you little more. 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. i'd drift. i'd 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. >> reporter: exhausted, exhausted. >> i was racked. i mean, i -- dehydrated and depleted much, much more than i knew i was when i was in there. >> reporter: 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 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 cappings. i thought, i should carry them in my carry-on luggage. >> bright green big duffel bag. >> reporter: turns out, even elite athletes lose their luggage. >> 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 these 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. >> hey, dane, it's diana nyad. >> reporter: she yields light winds. >> friday and saturday look like light wind days. marginal weekend.
>> reporter: warm water and currents. >> what about the gulf stream? >> reporter: and calm seas. >> i don't want to be swimming in a three-foot sea. 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. >> reporter: diana has the big decision to make, take the window or wait for a calm erwin doe 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: 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: diana tries to take it to her advantage. she takes the team out for a training swim, her goal, seven hours. 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 the fogged over goggles. and i'm able to catch a little bit of a -- not a full focus, but just a semifocus 60 times a minute. i'm out there in never-never land many my mind. >> reporter: to help, david marshons and kayaker stewart nags has rigged this 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 if pitch dark. >> we're wondering if she can see the fiberoptic? 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. not just frustrating, 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. >> 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 marshon. >> 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'm let down but -- >> reporter: after training a year, handling countless logistics, and spending a huge chupg of her savings, diana makes a gut-wrenching decision. >> i've been under tremendous stress. >> i sat down and wrote this e-mail a couple of weeks 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's 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. >> there'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 wan to do it next year, i don't think i could do it without you. >> you're our 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 till, you know, in it again. >> reporter: you see, for diana, quitting wasn't an option. yet, the long months of training have taken a toll on her 61-year-old body. >> this shoulder has a tear and the biceps tendon right here 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. >> reporter: and another swimmer's suggestion, she 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? you name it. 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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>> 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. here we all, after all of the false starts, disappointments, training, 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. >> that's good. let's go. >> 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. could have done with a longer flat patch which we didn't get. we're hoping the winds were going to go down. >> it was beautiful when we started and got choppy pretty quickly. >> reporter: her eyes never leave her best friend. i feel bad, it's cold 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 hour. she's now getting 54. >> blowing the whistle. >> reporter: there's a critical
problem. >> i never thought i would have to deal with something like this. excruciating. >> reporter: excruciating pain in diana's good shoulder. >> right shoulder, the left shoulder is the bad one. >> reporter: diana calls this 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? >> encouraging. >> your stroke is beautiful. this is going to be painful. no doubt about it. we're all going to help make it better. david is also having problems. >> the current's really stronger. they're pushing us that way. we're still above the line, but, 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 accompany diana. others nearby carry crew. tenders run between boats each hour, switching captains and handlers. on the roof, the shark team scans for predators as the kayaks ride beside diana carrying 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 gu. 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. in 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 -- [ male announcer ] this is the network. a network of possibilities... ♪
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you could save a bundle with geico's multi-policy discount. geico, saving people money on more than just car iance. ♪ geic >> 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. >> like it's going to come out of its socket. >> reporter: 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. >> something we came up with trial and error. >> it's delivered to the expor boat. >> we're looking for 20 ounces and she's been doing 24. that's good. >> reporter: he rigs a line to drop a pch 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: no question for diana, hydration is serious business. she loses 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 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 ox general. 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. just like that, just like that. >> reporter: bonnie frantically waves for diana's doctor. >> 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. you're probably having a little asthmatic attack. >> dr. michael only, dr. michael only. >> reporter: you're cool, okay, no worries, he's right here. >> reporter: michael jumps on to the escort boat.
>> having trouble catching my breath the last two hours and it's turning into wheezing and my throat is closing up a little bit. >> we're going to give you this inhaler. >> reporter: it sounds like asthma. but diana never had an asthma attack while swimming. she can't breathe. >> i just lost all of the blood in the muscles. >> let it get back. you don't need to move anywhere. >> let me give you a puff from here. >> reporter: 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. >> 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 a couple puffs of the inhaler and sounded a lot better. >> reporter: the star athlete is limping along. but the rest of the operation is going well. shark diver luke temple 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 swim. 18 hours into the swim. >> my muscles are going without oxygen. they're stressed. >> 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 give diana some air. >> hyperventilating all the time. >> here we go, that's good. >> reporter: bet you've never seen an er visit 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's 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. 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 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 24 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.
>> just barely alive. right now, 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 it boat and calls out to david marchant. >> all night, all day again, another night. i can barely make an hour right now. just dead. >> reporter: for diana, this is the moment, the extreme dream could be over. >> i got a tremendous will, but i'm in bad shape with this. i just can't. >> grab on to your shoulder, okay? >> reporter: after more than a
full night and a day, bonnie and dr. broder together pull diana from the water. the swim is done. >> i can do this. >> it's done, you did it. you did it, you did it. >> i'm so sorry. >> are you disappoint? >> nobody's disappointed. nobody, nobody. >> not on this day, it's too rough. i'm too cold. i'm sick. >> okay. okay. 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. >> don't go there. this wasn't it. >> this wasn't it. this wasn't it. >> 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 who knows you. >> i can't do it. >> reporter: the tender takes
over and takes diana to the crew boat for medical care. she's violently sick to her stomach. and exhausted. >> just going to put this 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 shoulder and the waves and the asthma, i didn't have a chance. what a shame. what a shame. all of the training, my god. it's 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 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 to 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. sometime has passed. how are you doing? >> sanjay, i almost couldn't believe it happened. it's suddenly over, i'm on the boat. 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 had to just come to grips with that reality. there's nothing more this body could have tolerated. so there was a human spirit that gave everything. 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 before, i walk away so inspired. i really want to 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 helped someone and i felt the joy of my body, you lived a good life. 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. i'm dr. sanjay gupta. thanks for watching.