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Diana Nyad, the 64-year-old endurance swimmer who had attempted to swim solo from Cuba to Florida, has finally done it, completing her dream to become the first person to make the journey without a shark cage.
Nyad reached Key West at 2 p.m. EDT, 52 hours after she took off from Havana, notes the Associated Press. It was her fifth try at completing the 110-mile swim - her previous try came last year. She made her first attempt in 1978.
According to the Los Angeles Times, she stopped just two miles before finishing the journey to make a speech to her team, which monitored her as she made it to Florida.
“This is a lifelong dream of mine and I'm very very glad to be with you,” she said. “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.”
“I'm beaming with pride,” she told NBC News when she arrived. Nyad was taken to a nearby hospital for a evaluation.
She needed to be treated right away, as she faced plenty of challenges along the way. These included extremely cold temperatures on Sunday night and fighting off jellyfish. She had to wear a silicone mask to keep jellyfish away, but it made it hard for her to speak when she talked to her crew.
— Diana Nyad (@diananyad) September 2, 2013
Nyad has retweeted several messages congratulating her on her trip. Even President Obama congratulated her:
Congratulations to @DianaNyad. Never give up on your dreams.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 2, 2013