Sandy stories: Nyad swims for charity; beach repair returns long-lost ring

     Extreme swimmer Diana Nyad completed a 48-hour swim for Sandy relief this morning, raising more than $100,000. / AP photo by Jason DeCrow

    Extreme swimmer Diana Nyad completed a 48-hour swim for Sandy relief this morning, raising more than $100,000. / AP photo by Jason DeCrow

    As a coastal storm drenches the Jersey Shore in chilly rain and raw wind, here are a few Sandy-related items that will warm your heart: 

    * While you were lounging around in your pajamas tucking into that third cup of coffee this morning (OK, perhaps that was just me), extreme athlete and all-around badass Diana Nyad finished a 48-hour swim marathon that raised $103,000 to assist those still suffering the effects of Sandy. The Associated Press reports:

    “It honestly was tougher than I ever imagined it to be,” the 64-year-old Nyad said as she emerged from the pool at 8:48 a.m. Her words were drowned out by the crowd’s whooping, claps and cheers.

    Minutes later, looking well but bundled up in a blanket, she told “Good Morning America” that her shoulders hurt and she felt nauseated but was otherwise happy. Her effort raised $103,001.

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     Nyad completed her swim in a 120-foot long, two-lane swimming pool set up in Manhattan’s Herald Square, far from the jellyfish and sharks she had to deal with on her recent swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida. Nyad’s swim was to benefit AmeriCares, a nonprofit global disaster relief and health organization. 

    * We know that nature gives, and nature takes away — here’s a tale of the latter. A West Long Branch man is celebrating the return of his high school class ring, lost a decade ago as he swam in the Atlantic Ocean off Sea Bright.

    According to a report in the Asbury Park Press, Bryan Heller’s ring reappeared in August, discovered by a man doing masonry work on a new house in Sea Bright. With a little help from social media, Heller’s lost ring story came to a happy ending:

    Using his smartphone and the details of the ring — “Rumson Fair Haven” circles the blue stone; “Bryan” and “wrestling” are etched on the side — Williams was able to find Heller. Williams saw his LinkedIn page, which lists the Wall consulting firm where he works, and placed a call, leaving a message.

    Heller listened to the man on the other end of the phone, but felt certain that what he was hearing could not be true.

    But still, Heller returned Williams’ call.

    It was not until Williams read to him the inscription inside the ring, “Bryan James Bishop Heller,” that Heller began to believe it. Williams said he took the ring to a post office and sent it off, tickled that he found the owner.

    The theory is that the ring may have been lodged in sand offshore that was disturbed and then redistributed when Sandy tore up the Monmouth County coast last year. 

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