She tried it more than 30 years ago, and was eventually forced to abandon her quest after 41 grueling hours fighting strong currents and big waves sent her far off-course.
Why? She doesn't like prevailing perceptions about old people.
“I want 60-year-olds to look at me and say, ‘You know that silly bumper sticker ’60 is the new 40?’ She’s proving it today,” said Nyad.
Oh, and get off her lawn: this time, Nyad won't even attempt crossing the Straits of Florida in the confines of a shark cage. She'll be accompanied by professional kayakers with electronic shark repellant devices.
(Do those even work? I guess we'll find out.)
Nyad's exact departure from a point near Havana is contingent on weather conditions. But she's got all the necessary paperwork from both the U.S. and Cuban governments, and one Secretary of State to thank for it: when the Cuban government insisted she finish her swim in Havana, which would pit her even more against the current, it was Hilary Clinton who intervened.
"The Cubans don't like the implication of somebody walking out on one of their beaches and swimming away," Nyad explained to the Los Angeles Times.
Nyad grew up in South Florida, but has long lived in L.A. Though she stopped marathon swimming altogether at 29, focusing on a career as a speaker, author, travel expert and sports commentator, it didn't take much to waken the desire to finish what she'd once started.
"Last January, I flew to Mexico, hired a boat and swam for 6½ hours," she said. "I got on the plane to come home and suddenly knew I was going to do this, I could do this, I still had it in me."
Nyad believes that, at 61, she has a better chance of completing the approximately 60-hour swim now than she did in 1978.
“I think I have a better chance mentally, and in spirit and will, than I did before,” Nyad said. “That’s what it’s all about out there — the will.”