Woman, 61, ends attempt to swim from Cuba to U.S.

August 9, 2011, 1:27 pm
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From Comcast SportsNet Tuesday, August 9, 2011

HAVANA (AP)Wind conditions and less than ideal currents promptedmarathon swimmer Diana Nyad to end her second bid to swim from Cuba to theFlorida Keys about halfway through her journey early Tuesday.Elaine Lafferty, who was on the boat according to Nyads blog, posted onTwitter: Its over. Lafferty said the combination of factors was too muchto safely continue. According to the Twitter feed, Nyad was pulled from the water early in themorning after swimming for 29 hours. The swim was expected to take 60 hours tocover at least 103 miles (166 kilometers).It felt like this was my moment, a quote attributed to Nyad on herTwitter feed said. I dont feel like a failure at all. But we needed a littlemore luck.The Twitter account reported she decided to end the swim herself, afterrealizing the conditions of 5 to 10 knot winds and less than ideal currents.An online chart plotting the swims track showed the Gulf Stream currentspushing Nyad to the east of the intended course. Nyad had hoped to end her swimat Southernmost Point in Key West, Fla.According to the Twitter feed, Nyad was on a support boat after ending theswim and wrapped in blankets. The boat arrived at Key West early Tuesday.In her second attempt, Nyad tried to accomplish at 61 years old what shefailed to do at 28 in 1978. This time, she even attempted the swim without ashark cage, relying instead on an electrical field from equipment towed bykayakers to keep them at bay.In her first attempt in 1978, she quit after being in the water for 41 hoursand 49 minutes due to strong currents and rough weather that banged her aroundin the shark cage.Had the latest attempt been successful, Nyad would have broken her ownrecord of 102.5 miles (165 kilometers) for a cageless, open-sea swim, set in1979 when she stroked from the Bahamas to Florida.Before the swim, Nyad told journalists she hoped her swim would inspireothers her age to live active lives. She said she also hoped it could helpimprove understanding between Cold War rivals Cuba and the United States, evenif just symbolically.