Secret Weapon Buoys Nyad's Final Cuba-Fla. Swim

Swimmer thus far avoiding jellyfish, thanks to special mask

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 1, 2013 11:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – American endurance swimmer Diana Nyad is "doing remarkably well" in her fifth attempt in 35 years to become the first person to successfully swim 103 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. She made it through the first night without any of the jellyfish stings that have doomed her previous efforts, and as CNN notes, she has a secret weapon for this, her final attempt: A prosthetic face mask that will block the stings. "This is the first time we've ever reached international waters without a crisis," says a member of Nyad's team.

"It's a two-edged sword for me," the 64-year-old Nyad has said of the mask. "It's cumbersome, it's difficult to swim with, but it doesn't matter. I am safe. There's no other way." Nyad has expressed some fatigue, notes the AP, but is stroking well. She's been in the water since 9am yesterday; the journey is expected to take 80 hours if she completes it. Team Nyad is blogging her adventure here.

U.S. swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, salutes before her swim from Havana, Cuba, to Florida in Havana on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. Endurance athlete Nyad launched another bid Saturday to set an open-water record by swimming from Havana to the Florida Keys without a protective shark cage.
U.S. swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, salutes before her swim from Havana, Cuba, to Florida in Havana on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. Endurance athlete Nyad launched another bid Saturday to set an open-water record...   (Ramon Espinosa)
US swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, greets her support team before her swim to Florida from Havana, Cuba, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.
US swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, greets her support team before her swim to Florida from Havana, Cuba, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.   (Ramon Espinosa)
US swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, explains the jellyfish bites she experienced in her previous attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013.
US swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, explains the jellyfish bites she experienced in her previous attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
US swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, begins her swim to Florida from the waters off Havana, Cuba, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.
US swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, begins her swim to Florida from the waters off Havana, Cuba, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
US swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, adjusts her swimming cap before her swim to Florida from Havana, Cuba, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.
US swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, adjusts her swimming cap before her swim to Florida from Havana, Cuba, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
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