In Greek mythology, naiads were a type of female spirit who presided over fresh water wherever it might be found, including swimming pools. Yesterday, a new water spirit arrived on the shores of Key West, Florida having swam there for 53 hours from Cuba, a distance of 110 miles! Perhaps it's not an accident that her name is pronounced the same way as the mythological nymph.
But, there are differences. Nyad is the female spirit who showed the world that she's in charge of salt water, which means she might be under the wing of Poseidon, the Greek God of the Sea. Her distinction in the epic demonstration of what a person can do at age 64 is that she's the first to do it without a shark cage. So, besides that great predator, she had to face the daunting possibilities of stings from the box jellyfish prevalent in the Cuba to Florida channel, the long exposure to salt water, fatigue, mental stress, and more.
A noted Squash player (once ranked 30th in the women's division) as well as a long distance swimmer, she tried this feat four previous times that were beset with problems that aborted the attempts. For years since, she's been mulling over her defeats -- but not from the comfort of her couch. If you had chanced to visit the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena, CA during that period, it would have been likely you'd have seen her working out non-stop for hours per day in the 50-meter Olympic-size pool. You don't conquer the ocean from drydock.
Can you say, "perseverance," "relentlessness," "spirit"? In realizing her dream, this athlete with the Greek spirit name goes into the history books. And, that's no mythology.