Diana Nyad got farther in her third quest to swim 103 miles from Cuba to Florida, but the risk of further jellyfish stings forced her to abandon the swim at about 11:30 a.m.
“The medical team said I should not go another two nights in the water and risk additional likely Man-of-War stings which could have a long term cumulative effect on my body,” Nyad, who was over halfway to Florida, said in a statement posted on Facebook.
“But for each of us, isn’t life about determining your own finish line? This journey has always been about reaching your own other shore no matter what it is, and that dream continues.”
Nyad, 62, was forced to end her swim after about 67 miles — or about two-thirds of the way to Florida — when medical advisers told her that toxins were building up. She was stung by a jellyfish Saturday and had to briefly leave the water for treatment aboard an accompanying boat. Her team did not specify what treatment she received or how long she was out of the water, but the nature of the record she was pursuing was changed. “The rules say she is now going for a record staged swim rather than a non-stop swim,” her team said in an update. The group took measures to prevent more stings.
Last night, after Diana was stung in the face by another Portuguese Man-of-War, her safety diver, Rob MacDonald, donated his heat cap that he had used when he climbed Mount Rainier. He and other crew members cut eyeholes and a mouth hole out of the cap to create a neoprene mask that was placed over Diana’s face to protect her from further stings. The decorations on Rob’s hat? Little teeny sharks. Diana, wearing a long sleeved pink shirt, black neoprene mask, blue swim cap and transparent goggles, was quite a vision!
Vanessa Linsley, one of the members of Nyad’s team, told the Associated Press that Nyad was swollen from multiple stings.
“She’s [angry]. Nobody blames her. There isn’t anything that can change this ... there’s nothing that has to do with your swimming capabilities,” Linsley said. “You can’t control mother nature.”
A combination of strong currents, an asthma attack and a shoulder injury forced Nyad out of the water after 29 hours in August. Her first at tempt at the swim came in 1978.