Diana Nyad swam through cheering crowds of swimmers, boaters and paddlers off the coast of Key West this afternoon as she completed her record-setting swim from Cuba on her fifth attempt.
Nyad's arrival on the beach made her the first person to ever swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.
Just before reaching the two-mile mark, Nyad paused from her 50-hour swim and circled up the five boats carrying her support team members for a final chat before her approach to Key West, Fla. She told team members that she had abrasions in her mouth from her mask but wanted to say a few words, according to an update her team posted to her website.
"I am about to swim my last two miles in the ocean," Nyad said, treading water. "This is a lifelong dream of mine and I'm very very glad to be with you. Some on the team are the most intimate friends of my life and some of you I've just met. But I'll tell you something, you're a special group. You pulled through; you are pros and have a great heart. So let's get going so we can have a whopping party."
Doctors travelling with Nyad during her swim reported today that the 64-year-old endurance swimmer was suffering from swollen lips and a swollen tongue, causing her speech to be slurred, but they had not yet intervened with the swim.
The 112-mile swim has stymied Nyad on four previous attempts, including three since 2010.
This time, Nyad wore a custom-made mask during her swim that helped protect her face from box jellyfish, a stinging jellyfish that had caused her to stop her last attempt because of burns left on her limbs and face.
Nyad, a Los Angeles native, left from Marina Hemingway in Cuba at 8:59 a.m. on Saturday morning and has swum more than 100 miles already, her team said on her website.
Her team said that Nyad had reached "a distance not ever having been close to achieved by any other human being before."
"Diana is on course to swim 112 statute miles. This is 35 more miles than anyone has ever swam," navigator John Bartlett said early this morning on Nyad's website.
"Our navigator John Bartlett is consulting closely with the other captains to plan the best route into Key West. There are tides, eddys, currents, shipping lanes, reefs and swarms of jellyfish to consider," her website said in a 4 a.m. update.
Joining Nyad on this quest was a 35-member crew that monitored her health and supplied her with food and water during the swim. Nyad was not allowed to touch or be touched by any of the support crews or vessels.
For Nyad, the Cuba-to-Florida swim had been an elusive dream for her over the last 35 years. Her first attempt was in 1978 at age 28. Nyad tried again in 2010, 2011 and 2012.