HAVANA TIMES — US swimmer Diana Nyad launched a new attempt today to swim from Cuba to Florida without the protection of a shark cage, after four failed efforts.
The 64-year veteran swimmer intends to make the journey of 100 nautical miles, in about four days if the weather is favorable. To achieve this she now has the help of a protective suit especially designed to prevent jellyfish stings.
“This is my dream, my inspiration, I have the mind sharp, the body ready and my team is ready,” Nyad told the media, just before jumping in the water at the Ernest Hemingway International Nautical Club, in Havana.
During the voyage Nyad will be accompanied by a team of fifty people, composed of divers and doctors, who will supply her with special injections to prevent the effects of the jellyfish venom.
Diana Nyad’s last attempt was in August 2012. On that occasion she managed to swim 96 kilometers (60 miles) without the protection of a shark cage until the poisonous jellyfish stings made ??her desist. In other attempts physical exhaustion was the cause of failure.
Diana Nyad has not been the only person trying attempt the feat of swimming across the dangerous waters that divide Cuba and the United States.
Previously, in the middle of the crossing, the Australian swimmer Chloe McCardel desisted from jellyfish stings, and the British swimmer Penny Palfrey had to desist because of a strong ocean current.
So far the Australian Susan Maroney is the first and only person to swim the Florida Straits from Cuba. She succeeded in May 1997, but was protected by a shark cage.