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Endurance Swimming Legend Preps For Swim From Cuba To Key West

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This summer, Diana Nyad, 61, will attempt a daunting 103-mile swim from Cuba to Key West through the shark-infested waters of the Florida Straits.

A couple of years ago, swimming legend Diana Nyad was emceeing a swank awards banquet in the Waldorf Astoria ballroom in New York when she suddenly woke up the crowd by stripping off her dress. Standing on stage in nothing but a swimsuit and high heels, dangling her cleavage, she further enlivened the affair by whipping out a bugle and playing reveille.

She was nearing 60 then. Now she’s 61, and just the other day she made a Hamptons cocktail party come alive by popping a biceps muscle, to prove she’s still capable of swimming from Cuba to Florida. She rolled up her sleeve and flexed a muscle the size of a small cannonball. Conversation stopped, replaced by sharp intakes of breath, followed by upset glasses of wine and fumbled cheese wedges.

Some time in June or July, when the weather permits, Nyad will attempt a 103-mile swim from Cuba to Key West through the shark-infested waters of the Florida Straits. This will be no mere party stunt to show off her physique — think of Helen Mirren with brawn. Nyad intends to challenge the limits of the mind and calendar by finishing a job she started 32 years ago, when she was the greatest endurance swimmer in the world.

It’s an undertaking of untold hazards that is projected to require 60 hours of continuous swimming. In addition to sharks there will be risks from man o’ war jellyfish as well as hypothermia, dehydration and cardio-arrhythmia. But the real danger is the unknown.

Read more: Washington Post