In Your Ear: Diana Nyad

Sixty-year-old swimmer Diana Nyad continues her aim for a 102-mile swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys in July 2011. She had to postpone the swim this summer due to hurricanes in the area. Music is one of the things to keep her going, and talks about the some of the artists: the Beatles, James Taylor and John Lennon.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And finally, it's our occasional series we call In Your Ear. That's where we ask some of our guests what they're listening to that rocks their world, what helps them when they first wake up or when they want to wind down. Today we hear from long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad. We spoke with her a while back about her plan to swim 103 miles from Cuba to Florida at the age of 61. She tried it before but the waves and weather were just too much. When she turned 60, she decided to try again, and she trained sometimes for 20, even 24 hours at a time. How does she keep going? The music in her ear and the music in her head.

Ms. DIANA NYAD (Long Distance Swimmer): I Diana Nyad and I'm training for a possibly impossible swim from Cuba to Florida, and I'd say the Beatles are my favorite, all those beautiful voices and harmonies. When I hear the Beatles Here Comes the Sun, it almost makes me smile - literally smile as I'm swimming.

(Soundbite of song, Here Comes the Sun)

THE BEATLES (Rock Band): (Singing) Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it's alright. Little darling, it's been a long, cold, lonely winter. Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here. Here comes the sun. Here comes the sun, and I say it's alright.

Ms. NYAD: James Taylor, Carolina in My Mind, I think thats the title of it. You know...

(Singing) And in my mind I'm going to Carolina. Cant you hear the sunshine?

(Soundbite of song, Carolina In My Mind)

Mr. JAMES TAYLOR (Singer-songwriter): (Singing) And in my mind I'm going to Carolina. Can't you see the sunshine? Can't you just feel the moonshine and ain't it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind. Yes, I'm going to Carolina in my mind. Karen she's a silver sun. You best walk her way and watch it shining. Watch her watch the morning come. A silver tear appearing now I'm crying. Ain't I going to Carolina in my mind.

(Soundbite of song, Imagine)

Ms. NYAD: John Lennons Imagine, for instance. When I hear that, I know that song so well, and as I'm swimming in the ocean, it's so familiar and so comforting.

(Soundbite of song, Imagine)

Mr. JOHN LENNON (Singer-songwriter): (Singing) Imagine there's no heaven. It's easy if you try. No hell below us. Above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today. Imagine there's no countries. It isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too. Imagine all the people...

Ms. NYAD: Theres something, it touches my heart. When I need the relief, I can't think of anything else. You know, I go to these songs and they are all the songs of my era.

(Soundbite of song, Imagine)

Mr. LENNON: (Singing) You may say that I'm a dreamer...

MARTIN: Just to let you know how it turned out, Diana Nyad got the okay from the State Department to head to Cuba to start the swim, but Cuban authorities were slow to agree. Winter waves and water temperatures had moved in and Ms. Nyad last weekend postponed her swim until next summer.

MARTIN: And that's our program for today. Im Michel Martin and youve been listening to TELL ME MORE from NPR News.

Lets talk more tomorrow.

(Soundbite of song, Imagine)

Mr. LENNON: (Singing) Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood...

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