Nyad begins cross-Florida Straits swim

Posted: 08/13/2011 in all marine news

The China Post –

American endurance swimmer Diana Nyad jumped into Cuban waters Sunday evening and set off in a bid to become the first person to swim across the Florida Straits without the aid of a shark cage.

Tanned and freckled from long hours training in the open seas of the Caribbean, the 61-year-old Nyad expressed confidence before starting off. She said the still air and flat water were perfect conditions for her attempt to make a 103-mile (166-kilometer), 60-hour swim from Havana to the Florida Keys.

 

“The adrenaline’s flowing now,” Nyad said at a jetty in western Havana as she looked at the water. “I don’t believe much in destiny, but you have to take what you can get, and this is what I dreamed of: a silver platter.”

She changed into a black swimsuit and blue swim cap and an assistant greased her shoulders and armpits to prevent chafing in the salty water. Nyad played “Reveille” on a bugle, thanked several dozen well-wishers who came to see her, then jumped feet first into the sea.

She swam away just before sunset, escorted by kayaks and several larger boats carrying her support team.

Earlier in the day, Nyad said it has been a lifelong dream and she hopes her feat, if successful, will inspire people to live vigorously during their golden years.

 

“I also want it to be a moment for thousands, and I dare say millions of people my age, who are going to look and say, ’60!’” Nyad said at a news conference. “The joke is 60 is the new 40, and it’s true. We are a younger generation than the 60 that went before us.”

She called the attempt a “symbolic moment” for increasing understanding between the United States and Cuba, two nations torn by five decades of animosity and mistrust.

“I’m under no delusion that my swim is going to make any new political ramifications,” she added. “But it is a human moment between the two countries.”

Nyad spent the day eating, hydrating and meeting with members of her team. Five boats planned to sail alongside with 45 support crew on board, from navigators, nutritionists and doctors to shark wranglers and a film crew that has been documenting her story.

Full story…

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