60-mile swim

November 12, 2023

I’ve been eager to watch NYAD since I first read that Annette Bening was making a film about long-distance swimmer, Diana Nyad’s epic 2013 swim from Cuba to Florida. I love Bening. I love swimming. And I love stories where the human spirit triumphs against all odds. Just as remarkable as Nyad’s 60-mile swim, is Bening’s portrayal of the swimming legend. I read that Bening trained relentlessly for a year to hone her stroke, and averaged four to eight hours in the water, day and night, in all kinds of weather conditions. She was adamant that she would swim every stroke in the film. Nyad was obsessive and single-minded in her pursuit of her goal, and Bening was obsessive and single minded in pursuit of hers. “We build these cages for ourselves in our brains about what we can and can’t do,” Bening says. “We get so used to that, that we sort of even forget that they’re there.” The 65-year-old actress was likely referring to herself here as much as she was Nyad. It’s no surprise that both actress and subject are in their 60s, far enough along to have shed some of the self doubt, fear and need for control that ravages middle age, and that propels us to build cages in the first place. At 61, Nyad achieved something that she couldn’t in her twenties. “My mind has never been clearer,” she tells her coach and best friend, played by the brilliant, Jodie Foster. “Don’t you get it? The mind. This is what I was missing when I was younger. I’ve got it now.”


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