Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad’s message of “You’re never too old” is resonating with South Florida’s 55-plus athletes and fitness buffs. On Labor Day, 64-year-old Nyad completed a two-day, two-night swim from Cuba to Key West – the first person to accomplish the feat without the protection of a shark cage.
At You-Fit Health Club in Pompano Beach, retired systems analyst Gregg Springer is working up a sweat on the treadmill. She’s 64 - the same age as Nyad.
“It’s amazing. Her feat is amazing. It gives you inspiration", Springer said. "And seeing her, I just decided that I’m going to return to the gym.”
On a nearby exercise machine is Ron LeGendre. He says Nyad’s victory is a huge encouragement for people his age – and yet.
“The first thing that went through my mind is I’m a 66-year-old man and there’s no way in the world that I could have done what she accomplished”, said LeGendre.
Florida still has the largest share of residents over age 65 in the country. The latest U.S. Census numbers show that roughly 18% of Floridians are over age 65, the highest rate of any state in the nation.