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Amazing: 64-Year Old Woman Swims from Cuba to Florida After Trying for 35 Years

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On Monday history was made as Diana Nyad became the first person to swim all the way from Cuba to Florida without using a protective cage. Nyad began working on her dream of swimming that distance 35 years ago, and on her fifth attempt Nyad accomplished her mission. The 64-year-old swam for almost 53 hours straight from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida. She arrived in Key West just before 2 pm.

Nyad’s story is one of persistence. Since her first attempt when she was 29-years-old, Nyad has spent the better half of her life chasing this dream. The journeys have included obstacles other than distance in the past. The wind has held her back for most of the trip before, she would vomit when there was too much salt in her system and sing herself lullabies to calm her body when she was shivering. She has suffered from asthma attacks for hours on end and jellyfish stings that were extremely painful when they were not also paralyzing.

For this go-around, Nyad wore a suit and a mask that were designed to protect her from jellyfish stings. Last year her attempt to swim those 100 miles failed because a jellyfish stung her tongue. This time is seemed as if fatigue would be her undoing. Early Monday morning her tongue and her lips were swollen, which caused her to slur her speech.

Nyad’s journey is personal but also a sign of strength for many. When explaining how she picked up where she left off more than 30 years before Nyad says, “It’s all authentic. It’s a great story. You have a dream 35 years ago — doesn’t come to fruition, but you move on with life. But it’s somewhere back there. Then you turn 60, and your mom just dies, and you’re looking for something. And the dream comes waking out of your imagination.”