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U.S. swimmer Diana Nyad gives a press conference to announce her swim from Cuba to Key West, Florida, in Havana, Cuba, on Friday. (AP)

Stings Halt Diana Nyad's Cuba-Florida Swim

by Melisa Goh
Sep 25, 2011

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A member of Diana Nyad's support team accompanies her as she begins her swim from Cuba to Florida at the Hemingway Marina in Havana, Cuba on Friday.

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Diana Nyad, the 62-year-old endurance athlete, has given up her attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida. The cause: painful man o' war stings, which medics warned could be life-threatening.

Nyad's Twitterstream announced the news just after posting the 67-mile mark:

@diananyad: After over 40 hours of swimming and two Portuguese Man-of-War stings, Diana ended the swim at 11am

CNN says:

Her swim had been halted Saturday night after being stung by jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-wars, but she returned to the water Sunday morning in an attempt to complete the effort.

The Miami-Herald reports:

Nyad was very swollen from multiple stings to her face and body, said Vanessa Linsley, who worked on Nyad's team.

"She's pissed. Nobody blames her. There isn't anything that can change this ... there's nothing that has to do with your swimming capabilities. You can't control mother nature," Linsley said.

Nyad attempted the same swim last month, but had to quit after a serious asthma attack made it difficult to breathe. On her website, her "Xtreme Dream Team" reports Nyad was philosophical:

From the water, she called out to her flotilla of four escort boats and addressed each of them in a strong voice. "The medical team said I should not go another two nights in the water and risk additional likely Man-of-War stings which could have a long term cumulative effect on my body. But for each of us, isn't life about determining your own finish line? This journey has always been about reaching your own other shore no matter what it is, and that dream continues."

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