About 30 hours into Diana Nyad’s 48-hour charity swim for AmeriCares and Superstorm Sandy relief, she climbed out of the pool for what a supporter said was only her second bathroom break.
Helpers enveloped the record-setting swimmer in a fluffy white robe a la a James Brown encore and held her erect as she shakily shuffled off to use the facilities.
When she slipped back in the water, Nyad, 64, was asked how she felt. “I’m dealing with some stomach issues. Not great,” she said. Nyad’s best friend and trainer Bonnie Stoll rubbed lanolin into Nyad’s buffed, sun-burnished back and shoulders.
Then Nyad — who swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida in August — set off again in relentless laps across the 120 foot heated pool in Herald Square as gawkers and supporters shouted her name.
“She’s OK. She’s just feeling nauseous from being in the water so long,” Stoll said, noting that Nyad’s legs would start cramping soon, if they weren’t already. But Stoll cautioned against a surfeit of concern: “She chooses it, man! She could have done 24 (hours) but she had to do 48!”
By yesterday afternoon, Olympic gold medalists Ryan Lochte and Nastia Liukin, actors Joe Manganiello and Tate Donovan, exercise guru Richard Simmons, gossip impresario Perez Hilton, TV news personalities Lara Spencer and Rosanna Scotto, and various Sandy survivors and Iraq War veterans had already popped in the water to keep Nyad company during her aquatic marathon.
Luis Yuquilima, 22, a charismatic member of the U.S. Air Force’s Delayed Enlistment Program and para rescue trainee, was just toweling off, pronouncing Nyad “very inspirational.”
Joseph Bozzella, 46, a clothing manufacturer and recreational swimmer from New Canaan, Conn., allowed his 15-year-old daughter, Sophia, to play hooky in order to get a gander at Nyad in action.
Elyse McClure, 25, an assistant retail designer from Roosevelt Island, was snapping pictures of Nyad to plaster on Instagram. Why?
Because Nyad, said McClure, demonstrates “that if you just keep on pushing, you can make anything happen.”