UPDATE: 64-year-old Nyad first to swim Cuba to Florida without shark cage
At age 64, Diana Nyad has become the first to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, wet suit or flippers.
UPDATE: 1:27 p.m. President Barack Obama sends his congratulations to Diana Nyad through a tweet.
UPDATE: 1:03 p.m. CNN is reporting 64-year-old Diana Nyad has made it to shore in Key West, Florida, after more than 52 hours of swimming.
Nyad is the first person to swim the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida without a cage, wet suit or flippers.
This was her fifth attempt since 1978.
UPDATE: 12:46 p.m. Diana Nyad is making her final strokes and nearing the shore in Key West, Florida after swimming from Cuba.
UPDATE: noon Diana Nyad is about to swim the last few miles of her journey.
According to her website, she told her crew:
“I am about to swim my last two miles in the ocean. This is a lifelong dream of mine and I’m very, very glad to be with you. Some on the team are the most intimate friends of my life and some of you I’ve just met. But I’ll tell you something, you’re a special group. You pulled through; you are pros and have a great heart. So let’s get going so we can have a whopping party. Thank you, all of you, thank you for your generosity.
UPDATE: 11:10 a.m. – Crews said Diana Nyad is just two miles from completing her goal 35 years in the making. She has been swimming for about 48 hours.
UPDATE: 8:30 a.m. – Diana Nyad is closing in on the end of her Cuba to Florida swim. According to her team traveling with her, she has about 5 miles to go.
(CNN) - Diana Nyad is less than 10 miles shy early Monday morning of reaching a goal she’s been chasing for 35 years.
Nyad, 64, is on her fifth attempt to swim the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida without a cage, wet suit or flippers.
At 3:54 a.m., her support team tweeted, “10-mile countdown is ON!”
Nyad had never before come so close to Florida in previous attempts and Sunday night she broke Penny Palfrey’s record for the farthest anyone has managed on the trek without a shark cage.
In 1997, Australian Susie Maroney completed the swim from within a shark cage.
She was 22 at the time.
Nyad’s website reported the leaders of her five-boat support team were planning her final route into Key West, taking into account tides, currents, shipping lanes, reefs and “swarms of jellyfish.”
As of 4 a.m., the website said, “Diana is swimming strong after 43 hours non-stop. She knows where she is and it’s giving her added strength.”
Nyad is using a special mask to prevent jellyfish stings to her tongue, a key factor in her failed attempt in August 2012.
Thunderstorms also helped thwart her last year.
The weather this weekend was much better until 11 p.m. Sunday, when the support team reported winds rose suddenly and a thunderstorm appeared headed toward Nyad’s path.
But just before 1 a.m. Monday, the team reported on Twitter: “Diana is swimming strong, everyone is safe, the winds are dying down and we think we see the glow of Key West! “
Nyad’s navigator, John Bartlett, wrote on her website earlier that a favorable Gulf Stream had helped her achieve an average speed of 2.2 miles per hour.
Bartlett said currents will be “smaller but less predictable” as Nyad nears Florida.
Handler Bonnie Stoll wrote on the site Sunday that Nyad was in good spirits.
“The only concern is that she is throwing up everything she eats. She’s quite nauseous from sea salt but that’s to be expected,” Stoll said. “We’re giving her enough calories and nutrition. We’re just going to keep feeding her and we hope that some of it is going down. She’s not weak. Her stroke count hasn’t changed.”
Nyad set out from Havana at 8:59 a.m. Saturday with a crew of 35, including divers to watch for sharks.
The Los Angeles woman has said this is her final attempt.
She said on her website that she wants to prove “it’s never too late to chase your dream.”
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