Diana Nyad finishes swim from Cuba to Florida on fifth try

September 2, 2013

Diana Nyad did it.

With an open-water swim that encompassed roughly 110 miles and over 50 hours, Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, fulfilling a dream that began 35 years ago. In the process, she also became a hero to baby boomers everywhere, finally accomplishing her endurance swim on her fifth try, 11 days after her 64th birthday.

She touched ground on Smathers Beach in Key West, a little woozy and weary but nonetheless triumphantly just before 2 p.m., with an eyewitness telling CNN that she waded ashore and collapsed into the arms of one of her helpers. She rose and, supported by a crew member, she spoke briefly, through swollen lips and mouth abrasions from the prosthetic mask she wore to ward off jellyfish.

“I’ve got three messages,” she said. “One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you’re never too old to chase your dreams and three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team [effort].

“I have to say I’m a little bit out of it right now.”


Stepping ashore on Smathers Beach. (Andrew Innerarity / Reuters)

Nyad was placed on a stretcher and emergency medical technicians started an IV line before taking her to a hospital. “I just wanted to get out of the sun,” Nyad said.

The scene surrounding the completion of her swim was surreal. As she drew closer to Key West, boats cruised out to join the 35-person, five-boat crew that set out with her at 8:59 a.m. Saturday morning. Just after noontime, a welcoming party began to gather on the beach at Key West and by 1:30 her blue cap was visible from the shore. Twenty minutes later, she was swimming in waist-deep water and beachgoers were wading out toward her.

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Nyad nearing Florida, swimming well

Nyad “looking good”

Nyad’s fourth attempt fails

Nyad abandons September 2011 attempt

Sally Jenkins: For Nyad, age is just a number

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

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UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!

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Cindy Boren | September 2, 2013