(NEW YORK) — Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad is in the homestretch to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, ending a 35-year quest to complete the mission.
Nyad, 64, is in the midst of her fifth attempt to make the treacherous swim. It’s her fourth attempt in the last three years. The Los Angeles native left Marina Hemingway in Cuba on Aug. 31 at 8:59 a.m.
“Diana is on course to swim 112 statute miles. This is 35 more miles than anyone has ever swam,” navigator John Bartlett said early this morning on Nyad’s website.
Nyad could reach the Florida Keys as early as 4 p.m., her team said.
As of 4 a.m., her team tweeted that she was less than 10 miles away from Florida. It’s the closest Nyad has come to Florida in any of her five attempts.
“Our navigator John Bartlett is consulting closely with the other captains to plan the best route into Key West. There are tides, eddys, currents, shipping lanes, reefs and swarms of jellyfish to consider,” her website said in a 4 a.m. update.
Joining Nyad on this quest was a 35-member crew that monitored her health and supplied her with food and water during the 103-mile swim. Nyad was not allowed to touch or be touched by any of the support crews or vessels.
For Nyad, the Cuba-to-Florida swim has been an elusive dream for her over the last 35 years. Her first attempt came back in 1978 at age 28. Nyad tried again in 2010, 2011 and twice in 2012. Each time, dehydration, overwhelming exhaustion and encounters with poisonous jellyfish have forced her to abandon the mission.
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