Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad has, at the age of 64, become the first person to swim the 112 miles from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage. Setting off from Hemmingway Marina in Cuba on Saturday 31st of August she reached Key West, Florida after a swim of 53 hours.
Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad has, at the age of 64, become the first person to swim the 112 miles from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage. Setting off from Hemmingway Marina in Cuba on Saturday 31st of August she reached Key West, Florida after a swim of 53 hours. She has now become the first person to complete the swim without the aid of a shark cage and swim fins, and has in the process set a new world distance record - 112 miles - for open water swimming.
The swim had been a long-time ambition of Nyad, her first attempt, unsuccessful, having taken place in 1978. 3 more attempts previous to this one have been thwarted by jellyfish stings, storms and unfavourable sea conditions.
Diana was supported by a team of 35 who studied the ocean conditions and currents, charted the course and kept her on it, enabled her to feed while not leaving the water, and protected her from potential shark attack by surrounding her with magnetic fields as she swam.
This swim caps an outstanding career of endurance swimming during which she has set numerous world records for distance swimming including swimming round the island of Manhattan in under 8 hours.
Her first attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida in 1978, swimming inside a shark cage, but was prevented from completing the swim by heavy seas, and did not return to the project for 32 years. In 2010 she revived the idea, and began training for the swim. 3 attempts followed, but all were incomplete due to stings from box jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war stings, and stormy seas conditions which pushed the swims off course.
Diana has said that one of her motivations for reviving the attempt was to "prove to other 60-year-olds that it's never too late to start your dreams".