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Diana Nyad Makes it from Cuba to Key West

Two and a half days after jumping into the water at the Marina Hemingway in Havana, Cuba, swimming legend Diana Nyad made it to Key West’s atlantic shore Monday afternoon. This was her fifth attempt. She now holds the world record for open water swimming without a shark cage. 

Nyad was greeted by a crowd of thousands who were cheering and waving flags – American flags, Cuban flags, conch republic flags, and rainbow flags.

Earlier in the day, as word spread around the island that it looked like she would make it, people began flocking to Smathers Beach. A lot of them said they were in awe of Nyad’s perseverance and considered her a heroine - especially because of her age. She’s 64.
Mallory Square tightrope walker Will Soto was blowing a conch shell to celebrate.

Nyad prepared like never before for the 111-mile swim. She wore a silicone mask and a special cream to ward off jellyfish stings. Her navigator John Bartlett, who was there for two previous attempts, said this time everything fell into line.

"You really need the weather and the gulf stream to cooperate. Without those two things being really good for you, this is an undoable event for a swimmer as many swimmers have found", Bartlett said. "This time we got lucky with that."

Nyad’s lips and tongue were swollen from the saltwater, but she was in good enough shape to reflect on the epic swim she first attempted in 1978.

"There’s always the debate between the journey and the destination", Nyad said. "Everybody when I failed these last few years said oh but the journey was so beautiful and you had so many life lessons"

Nyad says this time, she got the those life lessons - and the destination.