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Diana Nyad inspires Southern California swimmers

Cuba Swimming To Florida

J Pat Carter/AP

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, right, and her trainer, Bonnie Stoll hug after Nyad walks ashore Monday, Sept. 2, 2013 in Key West, Fla. after swimming from Cuba. Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the help of a shark cage. She arrived at the beach just before 2 p.m. EDT, about 53 hours after she began her swim in Havana on Saturday. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Diana Nyad is a familiar presence at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center pool in Pasadena. Masters coach Chad Durieux said Nyad's one of a few super-endurance swimmers who train here.

"They do 20,000 (meters), 30,000 sometimes, all day, they just come in the morning and swim all day long," he said.

But conditions in the Atlantic ocean were far tougher than this Olympic sized pool- think stinging jellyfish.

"Oh my gosh, wow that's one of the worst pains!" said Christine Yuan, a swimmer who is  four decades younger than Nyad. She's getting back in the pool after months away. "It's very inspiring to know that someone can commit to that and do that."

Nyad's message to the crowd on that Florida beach -- that you're never too old to chase your dream -- resonated with Tom Roddy. He's a 45-year-old high school English teacher. He swam  more than 6 miles Monday, his fifth time completing that distance.

"I was not a good athlete as a kid, and so its something I've always worked to overcome, so it's a way of beating something in myself, conquering something in myself," Roddy said.

Roddy wants to follow in Nyad's footsteps and complete an open water long distance swim.

"Someday, I'd like to try to swim the English Channel. but that might not happen for a while yet. I could try Catalina. I'll start with Catalina, it's warmer, certainly," he said.

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