Long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad made headlines last year when she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the assistance of a shark cage. But, she says, preparing to dance a minute-long foxtrot on the Season 18 premiere of Dancing with the Stars last Monday was just as daunting as gearing up for her multi-day open water feat.
"When I would stand on that shore over in Cuba and look out at the horizon, I knew that what was in front of me was going to be at least two, probably more like two-and-a-half nonstop days in the open ocean, with all kinds of obstacles," Nyad, 64, tells TVGuide.com. "And [Monday], as I stood holding [partner Henry Byalikov's] hands, I was thinking, 'You have one minute and six seconds for this foxtrot.' It's just an absurdly different kind of challenge."
Nyad and Byalikov ended up with an 18 from the judges after their routine, which puts them in second-to-last place heading into Week 2. Though Nyad says she felt OK about the dance itself, there was one aspect of the performance that left her "mortified." Check out our interview with Nyad to find out what frustrated her to the point of tears, as well as what she and Henry are working on for this week's cha-cha.
Last year, Dancing with the Stars reverted back to a one-night format for its 17th season, and as the reality competition heads into its 18th outing, even more big changes are on the way.
"When you're a show reaching its 18th season and its ninth year, I think you have to keep changing things up every so often just to make sure that the experience doesn't become too familiar," executive producer Conrad Green tells TVGuide.com. "It's spring, so it's time for a spring cleaning."
Check out nine big changes coming to Dancing with the Stars this season: