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The Early Lead
Posted at 02:34 AM ET, 08/09/2011

Diana Nyad gives up attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida


Diana Nyad begins her swim in Havana. (ENRIQUE DE LA OSA / REUTERS)

UPDATE: 02:14 a.m. Tuesday:

Early Tuesday, Los Angeles endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, 61, had to abandon her effort to swim 103 miles from Cuba to Key West, Fla., after 29 hours in the water battling ocean swells, shoulder pain and asthma, CNN reported. Nyad was vomiting when she was brought aboard a support boat at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday, the network said. “I am not sad,” she told CNN. “It was absolutely the right call.”

The Associated Press quoted a Twitter feed from Elaine Lafferty, who is on the boat according to Nyad’s blog: “It’s over.” Lafferty said “the combination of factors was too much to safely continue,” and cited heavy winds as part of the reason Nyad stopped the journey.

Earlier report:

Roughly 17 hours into her attempt to swim 103 miles from Havana to Key West, Diana Nyad reportedly is doing well.

“We’re very pleased with her progress,” her team reported on her Facebook page. “Diana is swimming strongly,” her team tweeted.

Nyad, 61, jumped into the water at 7:45 p.m. EDT Sunday and, according to CNN, “is still going strong,” although she has shoulder and asthma complaints.

“I'm almost 62 years old and I'm standing here at the prime of my life,” Nyad said before stretching, playing “Reveille,” and jumping into the water Sunday evening. “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.”


Nyad is protected from sharks by kayakers. (DESMOND BOYLAN / REUTERS)
Nyad last attempted the swim in 1978, failing because of weather and sea conditions. So far, both are cooperating.

“All my life, I dreamed of being the first one ever to swim across without a shark cage,” Nyad said. When she turned 60, she “started thinking what if I went back and started to chase that elusive dream out of Cuba.”

In 1997, Susan Maroney of Australia completed the swim, but she used a shark cage. Nyad instead has two kayakers with equipment that emits an electrical field beside her.

In addition to sharks, she faces danger from man o’ war jellyfish, hypothermia, dehydration and cardio-arrhythmia in the 60-hour swim. She has 25 pairs of goggles and, should she need to change her swimsuit, she will do so in the water. She has trained relentlessly; she was ready last year, but the weather did not cooperate. Doesn’t really matter, though. What’s another year to Nyad?

“I have no idea what age I am,” she told The Post’s Sally Jenkins. “I don’t feel different in any way. People say, ‘Maybe you should take more recovery time between swims because of your age.’ I’m like, Oh. My age. I forgot.”

NYAD UPDATES

Nyad’s website, diananyad.com, is overwhelmed, so track her progress on Facebook, Twitter, and on CNN’s interactive map.

By  |  02:34 AM ET, 08/09/2011

 
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