Havana, Cuba, Aug 21 (): Diana Nyad moved across the Straits of Florida for a third straight day on Monday, hoping she could easily bear jellyfish, hypothermia and stormy weather as she moved toward a swimming record.
Endurance swimmer Nyad, who turns 63 on Wednesday, is making her third attempt since last summer to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. It is a difficult 103-mile journey that should take 60 hours, without any major complications.
She also made a failed try with a cage in 1978, but the following year she swam nearly the same distance between Florida and the Bahamas, setting a long-distance record.
In her current attempt, Nyad has already endured jellyfish stings. Stings forced her to cut short her second of two attempts last year as toxins built up in her system.
In this attempt, so far she has fought the usual suspects of bad weather and jellyfish stings. An update about her progress was posted on her Web site on Monday. It said Sunday night moved of a storm that “blew up very quick” and hit Nyad’s flotilla with 14-knot winds that pushed the swimmer east.
But Nyad battered the tough storm and was said to be in good spirits as the bad weather passed. The latest report today said the seas are calm, weather is clear. Monday, the conditions were very ideal, with blue skies and level seas and the Gulf Stream offering beneficial currents.
Nyad is “swimming strong at 50 strokes per minute and has swum 33.81 statute miles. There have been no jellyfish sightings our experts report. Beautiful out!”
The swimmer is expected to arrive the Florida Keys early Tuesday, but her team tweeted Monday evening that she “lost six hours progress” in overnight storms Sunday. The team tweeted that a storm had blown Nyad off course and that “all hell broke loose” in the squall.
Based on her progress — she had reached her 46th mile on Monday evening, just less than half the total distance across the straits — she would likely arrive significantly after her low-end estimate of 60 hours after starting.
Nyad has been training for three years for the feat. She is accompanied by a support team in boats. She takes short breaks in between to take rest, hydrate and to eat high-energy foods such as peanut butter.