News

Swimmer finishes Cuba-to-Florida swim

Swimmer finishes Cuba-to-Florida swim

U.S. long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad is pictured before attempting to swim to Florida from Havana August 31, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Enrique De La Osa

KEY WEST, Florida (Reuters) – American 64-year-old long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad on Monday became the first person to swim across the Florida Straits from Cuba without a shark cage, succeeding on her fifth attempt at the feat.

Nyad came ashore about 53 hours after she set off from Havana, completing the estimated 110-mile (177-km) journey and setting a record for the longest ocean swim without a shark cage or flippers, according to her crew.

She was met by crowds in Key West who surrounded her, snapping photos, when she staggered ashore as they were enjoying sunny beach weather on the annual Labor Day holiday.

Helpers were waiting to give her medical treatment and immediately placed her on a stretcher and hydrated her with an IV, before she was taken to a hospital. Her face looked sunburned except around the eyes, where she had been covered by goggles, and her lips were swollen.

It was her fifth attempt in 35 years to make the crossing.

About 2 miles before she reached Key West, Nyad paused briefly to thank her support team, treading water as she addressed the vessels bobbing in the sea around her, according to blog updates on her website (www.diananyad.com).

“This is a lifelong dream of mine and I’m very, very glad to be with you,” she said. “So let’s get going so we can have a whopping party.”

The marathon swimmer had said this was her final attempt, this time using a protective silicone mask to better protect her from potentially deadly box jellyfish that forced her to end one of two attempted crossings last year.

Her doctors aboard a support vessel said earlier on Monday that Nyad’s tongue and lips were swollen, causing her speech to be slurred and raising concern about her breathing, her blog reported. Nyad was also “very cold” and had canceled scheduled feeding stops overnight “in the hopes that swimming would keep her warm.”

Nyad said at the outset that the custom-made mask slowed her and made it more difficult to breathe. Officials initially estimated it could take up to three days to complete the swim, but Nyad benefited from a favorable current, her crew members said.

The treacherous Florida Straits has been conquered only once, by Australian Susie Maroney, who used a protective cage at age 22 during a 1997 swim. The cage glided on ocean currents and enabled Maroney to make the journey in just 25 hours.

Australian endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel abandoned her quest in June to make the crossing after she was severely stung by a jellyfish 11 hours into her attempt.

Nyad’s fifth attempt to make the crossing comes 35 years after she made her first go at it aged 28 in 1978, when she gave up after covering 76 miles in 42 hours, with the aid that time of a shark cage.

Nyad departed on Saturday morning accompanied by five support boats that also provide her with food and water.

Nyad put on a jellyfish-protection suit on Sunday, the but did not immediately use her protective mask, her website said. Instead, the exposed parts of her face were slathered with a special protective cream dubbed “Sting Stopper,” it said.

At one point on Sunday, Nyad floated on her back kicking and led a crew of 35 people keeping her on course through the strong Gulf Stream current in singing “Happy Birthday” to a crew member.

Nyad made the swim stopping every 40 minutes to eat, taking several bites of scrambled eggs and pasta, the blog said.

Her long-distance accomplishments include swimming around the island of Manhattan in 1975 and a swim from the Bahamas to Florida in 1979.

What's On 'KLH?

Favorite Fish Fry

FavoriteFishFry_int_wp

Tell us your Favorite Fish Fry to win a $300 ticket package! Brought to you by Zounds Hearing Center.

Hire Me MKE

HireMeMKE_620x400

Looking for a job around the Milwaukee area? Check out some openings>>

Wanna Play DJ?

HEYMOM

You can host your own show Sunday night at 6 on ‘KLH!

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

rainman

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable headlines.

in National

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2014, file photo, Amanda Knox prepares to leave the set following a television interview in New York. Knox is engaged to Colin Sutherland, a musician who recently moved to Seattle from New York, a person close to the Knox family confirmed for The Associated Press. Knox’s murder conviction in the 2007 stabbing of her roommate has been reinstated by an Italian court, but the former college exchange student maintains her innocence and vows she won’t willingly go back to Italy. Both Knox and Sutherland are 27. No wedding date had been set.

Italy's highest court has overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case.

in National

Time for Iran to make tough decisions in nuclear talks

In this March 26, 2015, photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, leaves a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq’s deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement.

Six world powers and Iran move closer to a deal, but there are still major disagreements.