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Fighting off jellyfish for record swim

Fighting off jellyfish for record swim

Mon August 20, 2012 11:35am

SWIMMER Diana Nyad soldiers on after a horror night of painful jellyfish encounters on her open-water swim from Cuba to Florida.

After 24 hours in the water, the 62-year-old was about a third of the way across the Florida Straits and the 50-member crew accompanying her said she was "very comfortable and confident."

Nyad was swimming steadily at 50 strokes per minute despite painful jellyfish encounters overnight which left her with stings on her lips, forehead, hands and neck, the team said in updates to fans via social media.

"Today is more like swimming. I don't know what you would call last night... probably surviving," Nyad said, according to a blog run by her support crew.

She had planned to wear a new-and-improved bodysuit, which covers her from head to toe except for holes for the eyes, nose and mouth, at night, when jellyfish tend to rise to the surface.

The suit did not, however, prevent all stings. At least two were from the dangerous box jellyfish, which forced her to cut short her second of two attempts last year as toxins built up in her system.

Nyad used backstroke at night to keep her face out of the water and avoid being stung, said the crew, which works from five yachts and includes divers with shark experience as well as jellyfish experts.

She returned to freestyle swimming after dawn.

Nyad, who turns 63 on Wednesday, is making her third attempt since last year at a cageless crossing of the Straits of Florida. She also made a failed try with a cage in 1978.

Australian Susie Maroney successfully swam the Straits in 1997, but she used a used a cage.

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