U.S. Author Abandons Cuba-to-Florida Swim

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 21 2012 11:54 AM

American Author Abandons Cuba-to-Florida Swim

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A man meditates on a Florida beach in this file photo

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

We can't say we completely understand all the media attention this story's getting (perhaps it's a symptom of some sort of post-Olympics withdrawal, which Slate of all places can understand), but: American author/long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad was forced today to abandon her latest bid to swim from Cuba to Florida.

Nyad, 62, was about halfway through the endurance test when she called it quits this morning. She'd been in the water for about 60 hours when the twinned obstacles of jellyfish stings and a storm left her unable to press on, CNN explains. After being pulled from the water, an extremely sunburned Nyad could barely walk and, according to the Washington Post, was sent to Key West for medical treatment.

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As the Los Angeles Times explains, the feat of making the 103-mile swim has actually been accomplished before—in 1997 by Susie Maroney—but Nyrad was hoping to become the first person to do it without the protection of a shark cage. Maroney made the crossing in a rather absurd time of 23 hours, 47 minutes; Nyad had originally been aiming to do the same in around 60 hours.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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