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SXSW Review – The Other Shore

SXSW Review - The Other Shore

Diana Nyad is a warrior.  There has never been a woman so aptly named after a Goddess.  The Other Shore tells the story of Nyad’s attempts to accomplish the near impossible feat, swimming the 103 treacherous from Cuba to Florida.  As the documentary – directed by Timothy Wheeler – unfolds Nyad is considering taking on the swim 30 years after she had left the pool for good.  She did not swim a stroke for 30 years.  After retiring from swimming she went on to become a great sports broadcaster, but this unaccomplished feat, had been gnawing at her for three decades and so at 60, she decides to go for it.  The training is brutal.  Her intensity is beyond belief.  You think she’s a bit “cra cra” to be even trying this, but you are sucked into this completely super human feat.

I cannot get over my awe of this woman.  The planning to make this happen — dealing with Visas to Cuba, getting the boats, getting the team, finding the right weather and the training prep is not something for the faint hearted.  She has a huge team behind her, especially her rock Bonnie Stoll who is her touchstone through the swim.  Bonnie acts as Diana’s brain on the boat.  It is her job to keep her going, to feed her, to pump her up and to keep her safe.  

Watching these swims is not easy.  I seriously don’t know how she did it.  The total and complete sense of focus and determination is beyond belief.  The part that got me was when she was getting stung by multiple jellyfish, her EMT went into the water to help her and was himself stung and bad.  They fished him out of the water and this 200 pound young guy could not move and was out for the count.  And Diana was still in the water, ready to resume her swim.

But sadly, this swim was not to be.  She went for it three times and each time the conditions were just too much.  Even though she didn’t make it from Cuba to Florida, at 62, Nyad is a hugely inspirational figure.  She went for it, raised the money, trained, and was smart enough to have someone document the journey.  She is a true warrior and great role model.

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