CBS, CNN, Examiner, and media around the world are reporting the remarkable feat of 64 year old baby boomer Diana Nyad. She swam from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida without a shark tank or swim fins. Although this was her fifth attempt, she never gave up on her dream. To her credit, weather, currents, jellyfish, sharks, and other obstacles prevented her from completing her goals previously. Her first attempt when she was 28 years old was unsuccessful due to winds that took her far off course. Her fourth attempt was cut short by venomous stings from box jellyfish that are common to tropical waters. The box jellyfish have deadly toxins that attack the heart, nervous system, and skin and can paralyze and cause death in many instances. Although she had a mask and protective suit, her mouth and lips were exposed and that’s where the jellyfish attacked.
This time, she had a silicone mask that covered her face and lips for protection against the jellyfish. A support team of 35 people assisted Diana to help clear the way as they watched for jellyfish and sharks. However, the mask was not perfect; she swallowed seawater that caused vomiting and dehydration. Diana said, ‘That night was hell on Earth, it really was.’
After the support team confirmed the way was clear of jellyfish, Diana swam the rest of the 53 hour journey without the protective mask. Instead she wore a sting stopper cream just in case. Once she arrived at the beach in Florida her team had to clear the crowds so that Diana could take her final steps unsupported, a requirement of the official record keepers.
Although she has lesions in her mouth from her face mask, Diana indicated her body is not sore. She did suffer sunburn and swollen lips and face, but says that is only temporary. Needless to say, she told ‘CBS [reporter] Quijano she slept great’ after the swim.
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