US swimmer abandons Cuba-Florida bid
MIAMI — US distance swimmer Diana Nyad abandoned her fourth attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida on Tuesday after battling storms and jellyfish for more than two days, according to her crew.
The 62-year-old hit the water on Saturday at the start of the 103-mile (166-kilometer) swim across the Florida Straits, a trek she attempted without a protective shark cage.
But on Tuesday at 7:42 a.m. (7:42 p.m. Manila time) Nyad was pulled from the water, according to the website tracking her progress, which did not provide further details.
The veteran endurance swimmer had aimed to arrive in the Florida Keys on Tuesday after 60 hours in the water, but was delayed by lightning storms and suffered several jellyfish stings that may have hindered her progress.
Nyad had swum steadily at 50 strokes per minute despite painful jellyfish stings on her lips, forehead, hands and neck, the team said in updates to fans via social media and on her official website, diananyad.com.
Nyad — who turns 63 on Wednesday — was on her fourth attempt to cross the waters separating the two countries, which have been at odds for over five decades. Her last was in September 2011.
Her first try was in 1978, when she was 28. Shoulder pain, asthma and ocean swells forced Nyad to cut short another attempt in August 2011.
Nyad set an open sea record for both men and women by swimming from the Bahamas to the Florida Keys in 1979 — a journey that is the same distance as the Cuba-Florida swim, but a feat she has described as far less dangerous.
And she set a record for circling the island of Manhattan at age 50, clocking in at seven hours and 57 minutes.
In July, British-Australian athlete Penny Palfrey, 49, failed to swim unassisted from Cuba to Florida and had to be plucked from the sea after nearly 42 hours in the water when she could no longer cope with a strong current.