Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad attempts swim from Cuba to Florida - again
This isn't the first time the New York-born athlete has attempted the swim, in choppy, shark-infested waters
A 62-year-old endurance swimmer has set off on her fourth bid in three years to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.
Diana Nyad set off on the 110-mile slog from Havana at 9am on Saturday. The Florida Straits is a dangerous, shark-infested stretch of water, where jellyfish stings often curtail such bids. It is also prone to sudden, violent storms.
If she succeeds, she will bag the world record for the longest unassisted open ocean swim.
Nyad, New York-born and Florida-bred, tried the journey three times in 2011 and 2012. Her last attempt was cut short amid boat trouble, storms, unfavourable currents and jellyfish stings which swelled her face.
Australian Susie Maroney successfully swam the Straits in 1997 with a shark cage. As well as protecting the swimmer from predators, a cage has a drafting effect that pulls a swimmer along.
In 2012, Australian Penny Palfrey swam 79 miles toward Florida without a cage before strong currents forced her to abandon the attempt, and in June her compatriot Chloe McCardel had a similar bid cut short by jellyfish stings.
Nyad also made an unsuccessful attempt in 1978 with a cage.
She said: "I admit there's an ego rush. If I - three days from now, four days from now - am still somehow bringing the arms up and I see the shore ... I am going to have a feeling that no one yet on this planet has ever had."
She said she'd understand if people asked "why would I come back to a place where maybe I'm lucky I didn't die before," and that this will be her final try - though she has said that before.
Likening her past despairing comments after failed attempts to the sadness after a failed marriage, she said: "Every person who's married, the day after they get the divorce they say, 'Never again!'
"But you need to heal, your heart needs to heal, and pretty soon not all men are bad again."
She hopes a new silicone mask will protect her from jellyfish this time, and will at times wear a full bodysuit, gloves and boots.
She will also use equipment that generates a faint electrical field around her, to deter sharks, and be followed by a 35-person support team in five boats.
"My adrenaline is pumping very hard," she said. "Which means in one half I'm excited. I did all the training. The body is ready. My mind is ready. On the other hand, I admit I'm scared."
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nick Kyrgios calls former Olympian Dawn Fraser a 'blatant racist' after she tells Wimbledon star to 'go back where their parents came from'
- 3 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 4 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
- 5 The Greece debt crisis explained in less than 100 words
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis as it happened: EU chiefs at loggerheads hours before Alexis Tsipras’s last ditch deal proposals
Florida teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing three pupils
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...