Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'I love the Socialists'

Read more

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group’s alleged crimes in Iraq

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

  • Anti-government protesters storm Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • Putin calls for talks on 'statehood' for east Ukraine

    Read more

  • Poland marks 75 years since German invasion of WWII

    Read more

  • Web doc on French self-immolation protests takes top prize

    Read more

Americas

US woman sets record with Cuba-to-Florida swim

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-09-04

American swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, set a world record on Monday after swimming from Havana to Key West in Florida, becoming the first person ever to do so without using a protective shark cage. It was Nyad's fifth attempt to complete the journey.

Diana Nyad swam into the history books Monday, completing a marathon three-day crossing from Cuba to Florida to become the first person to do so without a protective shark cage.

The 64-year-old American, who left a Havana yacht club early Saturday, arrived on a Key West beach to realize her lifetime quest after four previous attempts failed amid stormy weather and jellyfish attacks.

"I've got three messages," a visibly exhausted Nyad, her face puffy and sunburned, told cheering crowds as she walked ashore.

"One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you never are too old to chase your dreams."

"Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it's a team," Nyad added in a nod to her supporters. She was accompanied by five boats and a team of divers as she braved the perilous waters.

Initially, the veteran swimmer had hoped to complete the treacherous 100-mile (160-kilometer) trek in 80 hours. But in the end, she did it in 52 hours, 54 minutes and 18.6 seconds, according to her Facebook page.

"Diana Nyad, 64, has successfully and powerfully realized her #XtremeDream," the posting said.

"Her eyes burned with intensity, her body refusing to quit."

Nyad's pursuit was followed closely by people around the globe, who took to social media to first encourage and then congratulate her.

Even the White House, preoccupied with the conflict in Syria, tweeted on behalf of President Barack Obama: "Congratulations to @diananyad. Never give up on your dreams."

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also saluted Nyad.

"Flying to 112 countries is a lot until you consider swimming between 2. Feels like I swim with sharks -- but you actually did it! Congrats!" she tweeted.

Live television footage showed crowds swarming the beach and even wading toward Nyad as she approached the shore.

But challenges loomed large during the historic crossing -- especially on the home stretch.

Doctors monitoring Nyad from the support boats reported early Monday that her tongue and lips were so swollen that her speech had become slurred.

She also experienced extreme cold overnight, they said.

As Nyad approached Key West, large jellyfish appeared in her path. To keep her from suffering a debilitating sting, divers swam ahead of Nyad looking for more.

In a display of endurance and spirit, Nyad actually increased her average speed to 1.76 miles per hour Sunday after more than 24 hours in the water.

When necessary, Nyad wore a full-body suit. She also had a specially designed prosthetic face mask as well as gloves and shoes at her disposal to protect herself from jellyfish stings.

A year ago, Nyad ended her fourth bid to cross the stretch after battling lightning storms and blooms of jellyfish for more than two days.

In media interviews she said she could handle the sharks and the bad weather, but wondered aloud whether the swarming, stinging jellyfish had made the feat simply impossible.

Australian endurance star Chloe McCardel, 28, scrapped a similar bid to swim non-stop from Cuba to Florida earlier this year after a debilitating jellyfish sting.

Nyad's first attempt was in 1978, when she was 28.

Nyad set an open sea record for both men and women by swimming from the Bahamas to the Florida Keys in 1979 -- a journey that is about the same distance as the Cuba-Florida swim, but which she has described as far less dangerous.

At a news conference on Friday, the veteran expressed confidence that she would persevere this time around.

She said her dream of 35 years also sought to bring communist Cuba and the United States -- which have been at odds for decades -- closer together.

Australian Susan Maroney was the first person to swim across the Florida Straits, in 1997, when she was 22. But she was protected by a shark cage, which gives an added boost to a swimmer.

(AFP)

Date created : 2013-09-03

  • FRANCE

    French amputee swimming star's wheelchair stolen

    Read more

  • SWIMMING

    French swimmer Camille Muffat sets new world record

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French swimmers denied chance to race through Paris

    Read more

COMMENT(S)