She finally pulled off the incredible feat! The long-distance swimmer took 52 hours to swim the 103 miles between Cuba and the Florida Keys, becoming the first ever to do so without a shark cage. And did we mention she’s 64 years old!?
After pursuing the goal for 35 years, Diana Nyad has finally done it — on Sept. 2 she completed the 103-mile swim from Havana, Cuba to the tip of Florida. The 64-year-old had previously attempted the feat four times, falling short again and again.
Diana Nyad Swims For 52 Hours Between Cuba & Florida
But this was her day, or days rather — the swim altogether took 52 hours. She also made the trip without the protection of a shark cage, marking the longest distance anyone has ever swam without one, according to CNN. Previously only one other person had been able to swim the Florida Strait — 22-year-old Australian Susie Maroney in 1997.
Completing the trip is a culmination of a lifelong dream, Diana said on her blog before finishing the last two miles:
I am about to swim my last two miles in the ocean. This is a lifelong dream of mine and I’m very very glad to be with you. 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. You pulled through; you are pros and have a great heart. So let’s get going so we can have a whopping party.
This was confirmed to be her fifth and last attempt at the feat. Over the course of the 52 hours, Diana was followed by five vessels — with doctors aboard — that provided her with food and water during “feeding stops.” And at night, Diana would put on a custom-made suit to protect herself from jellyfish. So she had relative assistance for her trek, but when it comes down to it, it was just her and the ocean out there.
Some of Diana’s other accomplishments include swimming around the island of Manhattan in 1975 and swimming from the Bahamas to Florida in 1979, but this is by far the greatest moment of her career — especially considering her age! What an inspiration.
WATCH: Diana Nyad Completes Cuba-To-Florida Swim
— Andrew Gruttadaro