Long-distance swimmer, Diana Nyad, 62, chose Friday at 6:05 p.m. EDT to make her third attempt to fulfill her dream to become the very first woman to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. The trip is 103 miles. Her first attempt was in 1978 but she quit after 42 hours due to huge life-threatening waves.
On August 8th, this year, she tried again, abandoning that effort after 29 hours, battling ocean swells and suffering from shoulder pain and asthma. Media reports said she was vomiting when she was pulled out of the water.
Only 12 hours into her 3rd journey the determined swimmer was attacked by a Portuguese Man O War (jellyfish) which stung her on both arms, the side of her body and her face.
Her team tweeted that she was trying to "clear herself of tentacles and continue to swim" right after she was stung.
After treading water for an hour she was able to recover from the stings and continue swimming but her challenging night continued as her stroke pace dropped from 52 to 55 strokes per minute and then down to 48.
Unfortunately after surviving the jellyfish stings she started to have breathing problems with trouble getting oxygen to her muscles. At 5:50 am she stopped swimming completely. Although her last attempt as ended in part by an unexpected asthma attack, for this third attempt the swimmer was equipped with prednisone shots along with oxygen and other medications. After treading water for an hour, she continued her swim at 8 a.m.
The team remains extremely hopeful that Nyad will complete the swim this time. Her chief handler, Bonnie Stoll encouraged Nyad belling her "You're doing better, I can see it." The team believes she can recover from the stings and breathing problems to get back on course.
Before taking this third trip Nyad was very optimistic she would make it. She tweeted on Friday night “This weekend is my magical moment.” She also tweeted "I can’t imagine any other ending than making it to the other shore." At a news conference in Havana, Nyad told reporters that despite her age she is in the best shape of her life.
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