Cuba: Marathon swimmer Nyad eyes new Florida swim

AP News
|
Posted: Sep 22, 2011 4:43 PM
Cuba: Marathon swimmer Nyad eyes new Florida swim

Cuban authorities said Thursday that American Diana Nyad plans to take another shot at what would be a record swim from Cuba to Florida after falling short of her goal last month.

An email from Cuban press officials invited journalists to an encounter with the famed endurance swimmer Friday at a marina in Havana.

"Diana Nyad will offer a news conference before once again beginning to swim across the Florida Straits between Havana and Key West, in continuation of the attempt realized on Aug. 7," the invitation read.

A spokeswoman for Nyad declined to comment on her plans, saying she would do so at the news conference. Her website said later Thursday that she was in Cuba, and a message sent via her Twitter account hinted: "What are you doing this weekend? Hope you can join us once again."

The Los Angeles woman set out Aug. 7 from a Havana jetty and swam 29 hours before calling it quits about halfway through the 103-mile (166-kilometer) crossing.

Nyad, who was trying to break her own 102.5-mile (165-kilometer) world record for open-water swimming without the aid of a shark cage, had roughly 53 miles (85 kilometers) to go when she pulled the plug due to excruciating shoulder pain, debilitating asthma, choppy waves and sea currents that were pushing her east of her intended course.

She said at the time that she wouldn't make a second attempt because she didn't want to put her team through the ordeal of training again.

"I think I'm going to have to go to my grave without swimming from Cuba to Florida," she told CNN.

Nyad first tried to cross the Florida Straits as a 28-year-old back in 1978, when she swam inside a steel shark cage for about 42 hours before ending the attempt.

Now 62 after celebrating her birthday Aug. 22, she has said she hopes to inspire people to lead active lives into their golden years.

Nyad also has called the swim symbolic for increasing understanding between the United States and Cuba, two nations torn by five decades of animosity and mistrust.