Lake Forest College Celebrates Alum Diana Nyad's Historic Swim

School's athletic director said the writing was on the wall for Nyad to achieve great things

By Anthony Ponce
|  Tuesday, Sep 3, 2013  |  Updated 2:08 PM CDT
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Athletes at Diana Nyad's Illinois alma mater say they are especially inspired by the historic swim.

Athletes at Diana Nyad's Illinois alma mater say they are especially inspired by the historic swim. "If you have a dream, pursue it," Lake Forest senior Jordan Gipson said. Anthony Ponce reports.

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Diana Nyad Completes Historic Cuba-to-Florida Swim

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad completes her historic Cuba-to-Florida swim, landing in Key West Monday afternoon. Nyad, navigator John Bartlett, Key West commissioner Jimmy Weekley and spectator Jennifer Windisch comment.

RAW VIDEO: Diana Nyad Treated After Completing Historic Swim

Emergency medical workers treat swimmer Diana Nyad after she completes her historic Cuba-to-Florida swim.
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As the school year kicks off at Lake Forest College, the buzz on campus is all about alumna Diana Nyad's historic Cuba-to-Florida swim.

Current athletes at the school said they are especially inspired, taking away a very important message from her amazing accomplishment.

"If you have a dream, pursue it," said Jordan Gipson, a Lake Forest Senior and point guard for the basketball team. "Don't stop. Don't let people tell you that you can't. Just because it hasn't been done before, doesn't mean that it's impossible."

Nyad proved the impossible is possible with her weekend swim. Just ask Lake Forest College distance swimmer Sarah Stoklosa, who put Nyad's achievement in perspective by saying she and her teammates might swim 100 miles over the course of an entire season. 

"Swimming the mile at conference, it's one mile," Stoklosa said. "But she swam over 100. I can't imagine swimming 100 miles."

Athletic Director Jackie Slaats said the writing was on the wall for Nyad to achieve great things back in the 70's when she went to school at Lake Forest College.

"Her perseverance is probably the most important message," Slaats said. "To be able to do something and stick with it, that's a great story."

Nyad stuck to more than swimming in college, Slaats said. She was on the tennis team, involved with the theater, was Phi Beta Kappa, a double major in French and English, and "to top it off, she was a senior class speaker."

Students here say most of their classmates have been tweeting and Facebook-ing about Nyad's swim for the last day.

"It's a positive and encouraging story to start off the year," Gipson said.

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