61-Year-Old Begins 103-Mile Swim

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad sets off from Havana for Key West
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2011 8:18 AM CDT
Diana Nyad, 61, Begins 103-Mile Cuba-to-Florida Swim
American endurance swimmer Diana Nyad , 61, swims in Cuban waters, offshore Havana, Cuba, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011.   (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

And she's off: 61-year-old Diana Nyad began her Cuba-to-Florida endurance swim attempt last night, a 103-mile trip that will take an estimated 60 hours. "The adrenaline's flowing now," she said before setting off from Havana, while taking in the still air and flat water. "This is what I dreamed of: a silver platter. I think this is my day." Nyad is wearing only a swimsuit, swim cap, and goggles. She will stop every 45 minutes for hydration and every 90 minutes for nourishment, but she cannot touch the boat or be held until she finishes if she wants to set a record.

Nyad first attempted the swim through the Florida Straits at 28 inside a shark cage, but was forced to stop 42 hours in. An Australian swimmer has since completed the trek, also using a shark cage. If Nyad completes her swim, she will be the first person to make the journey without a cage, the AP reports. Instead, technology and divers will help protect her from sharks. "I'm under no delusion that my swim is going to make any new political ramifications," Nyad says of US-Cuba relations. "But it is a human moment between the two countries." (More Diana Nyad stories.)

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