Last year we profiled Diana Nyad before her fourth attempt to swim the 103 miles separating Cuba from Florida. She ultimately wasn't successful in that attempt either after extreme conditions caused her to stop her swim. Today, on her fifth attempt, the 64-year-old swimmer, has succeeded at what seemed impossible, finishing in 52 hours, 54 minutes, and 18.6 seconds, according to her team.
As of 9:30 p.m. last night she had already swum 80.38 miles—farther than anyone else who has attempted to swim from Cuba to Florida. She had already traveled through the main flow of the Gulf Stream, according to Diana Nyad blog, and was swimming though its outer fringes. She's approximately five miles away from completion, and the team is currently trying to navigate the tides and eddies near the Key West coast for the best route. At her current pace, she is estimated to reach Key West between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, September 2, having swum more than 110 miles. (Follow her up-to-the-minute progress on Twitter.)
Remember she did this without a shark cage. Luckily those terrible box jellyfish didn't seem to be as prevalent (the first one was spotted this morning). To learn more about her story as an endurance icon (and role model for LGBT people around the world), check out the documentary The Other Shore, which premiered at SXSW earlier this year and details her previous attempts.
For a taste of what it's been like, watch the video of Don "WoodKayaker" McCumber escorting Diana Nyad during her swim below: