Diana Nyad ends what could be her final try at Florida-Cuba swim
It seems like yesterday Diana Nyad was doing swimmingly. It was yesterday. But Tuesday morning, the sexagenarian swimmer was pulled from the waters of the Florida Straits, about 50 miles short of success.
Just over a year ago, Nyad was halting another attempt to swim from Cuba to Key West, Fla. Last year, ocean swells, shoulder pain and asthma did her in. This year, it was storm squalls and jellyfish that foiled the veteran long-distance swimmer’s fourth attempt at the 103-mile swim.
Wednesday, Nyad turns 63, and she was hoping to celebrate by completing the swim Tuesday.
On Monday, Nyad representative Mark Sollinger told NBC’s“Today” show that things couldn’t be going better for her.
But showing how much things can change in a day when you’re swimming without a shark cage in the open ocean, he reportedly said Tuesday that Nyad had been pushed off course by an “extremely difficult” Gulf Stream.
Nyad’s website posted a simple message at 7:42 Tuesday morning:
“Diana has been pulled from the water. We’ll have more information as it becomes available.”
As the Los Angeles Times reported in 2011, the swim has been successfully done — Susie Maroney accomplished it in 1997. But Maroney swam in a shark cage and completed the crossing in an eyebrow-raising 23 hours, 47 minutes.
Nyad had been shooting for about 60 hours.
Nyad shunned the shark cage but did have some protection from the shark-infested waters between Florida and Cuba -- she was followed by kayaks with underwater electrical shields that emitted a frequency intended to repulse sharks.
According to a Reuters report, this was likely Nyad’s final attempt at the swim.
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