She became chilled overnight and her lips and tongue were swollen, but Diana Nyad swam on, drawing closer than she’s ever been to her goal of becoming the first to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.
By early morning, Nyad, 64, was less than 10 miles from Key West, according to her blog, and was expected to complete a roughly 110-mile swim by reaching Key West between 2 and 4 p.m. EDT.
Nyad’s doctors, in their morning medical report had said that she was experiencing breathing difficulties, compounded by the specially-designed mask she wears to prevent the jellyfish stings that derailed her fourth attempt at the open-water endurance swim last August. Her speech also was slurred, but she continued to churn through the water and her doctors believed that her breathing was not significantly compromised.
In the 10 a.m. report, divers were clearing jellyfish from her path, with her blog noting:
Handlers and kayakers are continually yelling to Diana: “Follow the streamer!” so that she stays in a path that the divers have already checked for jellyfish. Diana responds, “I’ve never been able to follow it in my life!” The entire crew aboard Voyager laughs because it’s true.
Nyad began her swim off Havana at 8:59 a.m. EDT Saturday and, on her second night in the water, she became very cold in spite of her body suit, so she kept swimming in an effort to stay warm rather than stopping to eat.
She also chose to continue swimming with aggressive determination in what she says will be her final attempt at the swim. According to her blog, Bonnie Stoll, her lead handler on each of her attempts, told her this morning, “Your arms are really tired. [Use a breaststroke] Only until we take the [body] suit off. Then you can swim [the crawl] again for the rest of the time.” Nyad complied — for one stroke — then, according to the blog, stopped and said, “I don’t want to do it,” and resumed her crawl stroke.
Sally Jenkins: For Nyad, age is just a number