3 Sep 2013

Swimmer makes record breaking Cuba-Florida crossing

4:22 pm on 3 September 2013

American endurance swimmer Diana Nyad has succeeded in becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to the United States without a shark cage.

The 64-year-old reached Key West in Florida after 50 hours of non-stop swimming.

Hundreds of well-wishers were waiting to greet her on the beach as she swam in escorted by boats and her support team.

Speaking to the well-wishers, the exhausted swimmer said people should never give up.

"You are never too old to chase your dreams," she said.

The swim was Nyad's fifth attempt, in 35 years, to cross the Florida Straits without a shark cage. Her crew says she also set a record for the longest ocean swim without a shark cage or flippers.

As she neared land, doctors aboard a support vessel had said Nyad's tongue and lips were swollen, causing her speech to be slurred and raising concern about her breathing.

They said she was also "very cold" and had cancelled scheduled feeding stops overnight in the hope swimming would keep her warm.