Swimmer's Widow Plans Celebration Tonight

Jul 11, 2013

A central Ohio woman plans a celebration for what would have been her late husband's 100th birthday and the 35th anniversary of his disputed Cuba-to-Florida swim.

Faye Poenisch will hold a reception tonight to honor Walter Poenisch, who on his 65th birthday in 1978 began his swim with Cuban President Fidel Castro seeing him off. The retired baker and record-holding endurance swimmer said he completed nearly 130 miles to the Florida Keys in two days. The self-proclaimed feat was not universally accepted because of insufficient independent documentation and his use of flippers, a snorkel and other aids. Soon after, Diana Nyad made the first of her four unsuccessful attempts.