When Diana Nyad waded into the shores of Smathers Beach in Key West, Fla. Monday, the parched, swollen endurance swimmer spoke her testament “never, never give up.”
Nyad, 64, became the first swimmer to officially complete the 110 mile venture between Havana, Cuba and Fla., fighting jellyfish and frigid waters after failing four previous attempts. Her last attempt was in 2012.
According to the Associated Press, the swimmer wore a protective silicone mask and a full-body “jellyfish suit” that protected her body from jellyfish and other stinging sea life.
She was accompanied by a support team that generated a faint electrical field to keep sharks at bay. A boat served as a navigation tool to keep her course of track and maintained stroke pace. Nyad’s team told AP they spotted thunderstorms on the horizon and she swam across busy ship lanes.
The 53 hour swim departed from Ernest Hemingway Marina into the waters of Havana Saturday. AP reported Nyad would take occasional breaks for nourishment but never was pulled out of the water.
“This is a lifelong dream of mind and I’m very glad to be with you,” Nyad told her team according to her website. “Some on the team are the most intimate friends of my life and some of you I’ve just met. But I’ll tell you something, you’re a special group.”
Nyad’s swim received national recognition from President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.