"Nobody decides the swim is over except me," declares her Twitter

By Liz Raftery
Updated August 08, 2011 03:00 PM
Credit: Miami Herald/MCT/Landov

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, who at age 61 is trying to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, was battling asthma, shoulder pain and a counter-current Monday afternoon as she stroked through the Florida Straits, according to updates on her Facebook and Twitter pages.

Nyad left Cuba Sunday night and is expected to arrive in Key West, Fla., on Wednesday. If she completes the 103-mile stretch, she would break her own record of a 102.5 mile swim, which she set going from the Bahamas to Florida in 1979. She attempted the Cuba to Florida route at age 28 and failed. Nyad, whose motto is “60 is the new 40,” has said she hopes the feat will help convince other people her age to live active lives.

“I’m almost 62 years old…. I’m standing here at the prime of my life; I think this is the prime, when one reaches this age. You still have a body that’s strong, but now you have a better mind,” she told reporters in Havana before she slipped into the flat sea Sunday. “This is what I dreamed of: a silver platter,” she remarked.

Nyad is not allowed to touch the support boats that are accompanying her on the estimated 60-hour journey, but members of her support team gave her Tylenol and an inhaler on Monday afternoon, according to her Facebook page, which also reported, “We’re very pleased with her progress.”

Since she is swimming without a shark cage, Nyad is relying on electrical equipment being towed by kayaks to keep predators away. Divers are ready to intervene should they fail.

In addition to her Facebook and Twitter updates, fans can track Nyad’s progress via an interactive map at CNN.com.

Those tracking her can expect success this time, as one Tweet Monday put it: “Nobody decides the swim is over except me. -Diana #fearless #xtremedream.”