Health

Diana Nyad Attempting 103-Mile Swim From Cuba to Florida, No Shark Cage

| by Michael Allen

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, 61, who is trying to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, was battling asthma, shoulder pain and a counter-current Monday afternoon as she swam through the Florida Straits, according to updates on her Facebook and Twitter pages.

Nyad left Cuba Sunday night and is expected to arrive in Key West, Fla., on Wednesday. If she completes the 103-mile swim, she would break her own record of a 102.5 mile swim, which she set going from the Bahamas to Florida in 1979. According to People, she tried the Cuba to Florida swim at age 28 and failed. Nyad, whose motto is "60 is the new 40," has said she hopes the feat will help convince other people her age to live active lives.

"I'm almost 62 years old.... I'm standing here at the prime of my life; I think this is the prime, when one reaches this age. You still have a body that's strong, but now you have a better mind," she told reporters in Havana before she slipped into the flat sea Sunday. "This is what I dreamed of... a silver platter," she remarked.

Nyad is not allowed to touch the support boats that are accompanying her on the estimated 60-hour journey, but members of her support team gave her Tylenol and an inhaler on Monday afternoon, according to her Facebook page.

Since she is swimming without a shark cage, Nyad is relying on electrical equipment being towed by kayaks to keep predators away. Divers are ready to intervene should they fail. In addition to her Facebook and Twitter updates, fans can track Nyad's progress via an interactive map at CNN.com.

UPDATE:

Diana Nyad reportedly ended her swimming attempt early Tuesday morning, roughly halfway through her journey. Nyad was vomiting when she was brought aboard a boat at 12:45 a.m. on Tuesday, 29 hours after she jumped into the water Sunday.

"I am not sad. It was absolutely the right call," she said later.

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