Diana Nyad is churning through the water between Cuba and Florida once again, trying for the fifth and, she says, final time to make the three-day, open-water swim.
Nyad, whose last attempt a year ago was derailed by jellyfish stings, is wearing a specially designed face mask this time and, with her crew surrounding her, she set out at 8:59 a.m. EDT Saturday morning on the 103-mile swim to Key West.
“We’re optimistic,” Dr. Derek Covington, who examined her this morning, said in an update on Facebook. “She’s looking very good.”
The prosthetic mask has been more of an annoyance than a hindrance. “She is doing remarkably well in that jellyfish suit,”John Berry, the operations chief, told her blog, diananyad.com. “And she is going at her expected pace in it, which is 47 strokes per minute.”
The 64-year-old swimmer is trying to become the first to make the swim without benefit of a shark cage. A 35-person crew on two boats is accompanying Nyad and providing updates, monitoring her health, feeding her and watching for sharks.
This morning, Covington and Dr. John Kot examined her and her team reported on Facebook that “her pulse is strong and her lungs are clear. Diana’s shoulders are sore, but not hurting, so the doctors are not concerned. Diana had been vomiting every time she drank throughout the night, but once the jellyfish mask was removed she ate some pasta and was able to keep it down. The doctors did not administer any nausea medication. The only medication Diana has taken is Tylenol.”
They’ll continue to check her every “two-to-three hours” for the duration of the swim. Just before 9 a.m. Sunday, her team reported on Facebook that she had swum “38.18 statute miles, as the crow flies. She is averaging 1.6 mph over the 24 hours. Her position is 23 ’35’ N and 82’ 14.3’ W. She’s right on the bullseye. We are just approaching the strongest flow of the Gulfsteam about 15 miles ahead of us. At that point, the flow direction will change and that will help us big time.”
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