U.S. endurance swimmer Diana Nyad is approaching Florida, on her fifth attempt to become the first person to swim from Cuba without a shark cage.
The 64-year-old swam non-stop for 53 hours through shark-infested waters.
Her support team reported in the predawn hours Monday that she was less than 16 kilometers from reaching the Key West shoreline at the southern tip of (the U.S. state of) Florida, and could complete the 180-kilometer journey by late afternoon.
Nyad was making her fifth and final bid at completing the Cuba-to-U.S. swim, a feat she first attempted in 1978 when she was 28. More recent attempts since 2010 were thwarted when she was overcome with exhaustion, attacked by poisonous jellyfish and confronted with thunderstorms.
Before she jumped into the water Saturday, Nyad said she was confident, yet scared.
\’\’My adrenaline is pumping very hard. Which means that in one half I\’m excited and I feel confident, I did all the training. The body is ready, the mind is ready. On the other hand, I admit I\’m scared.\’\’
On this swim, Nyad is wearing a specially designed prosthetic face mask to ward off jelly fish attacks, along with a full body suit, gloves and shoes. After more than 24 hours in the water, her team reported Sunday that she was swimming at a pace of nearly three kilometers an hour.
Australian swimmer Susan Maroney, with the protection of a shark cage, completed the swim through the Florida Straits in 1997 when she was 22.