U.S. endurance swimmer Diana Nyad is nearing completion of a life-long dream -- becoming the first person to swim the treacherous waters between Cuba and the U.S. without the protection of a shark cage.
Her support team reported Monday that she was within about three kilometers of reaching the Key West shoreline at the southern tip of (the U.S. state of) Florida, and could soon complete the 180-kilometer journey.
The 64-year-old Nyad was making her fifth and final bid at completing the Cuba-to-U.S. swim, a feat she first attempted in 1978 when she was 28. More recent attempts since 2010 were thwarted when she was overcome with exhaustion, attacked by poisonous jellyfish and confronted with thunderstorms.
Before she jumped into the water Saturday, Nyad said she was confident, yet scared.
''My adrenaline is pumping very hard. Which means that in one half I'm excited and I feel confident, I did all the training. The body is ready, the mind is ready. On the other hand, I admit I'm scared.''
On this swim, Nyad is wearing a specially designed prosthetic face mask to ward off stinging jellyfish attacks, along with a full body suit, gloves and shoes. After more than 24 hours in the water, her team reported Sunday that she was swimming at a pace of nearly three kilometers an hour.
Australian swimmer Susan Maroney, with the protection of a shark cage, completed the swim through the Florida Straits in 1997 when she was 22.