Diana Nyad to try Cuba-to-Florida swim again, tonight
Diana Nyad is back in Cuba.
The 62-year-old long-distance swimmer and sports journalist who tried, and failed, in early August to become the first woman to complete the 103-mile swim between Cuba and Florida without a shark cage has decided to give it another shot.
And she's planning to get in the water tonight, for her third attempt at the epic swim.
She tried for the first time in 1978, quitting after 42 hours in the face of huge waves.
Then, on Aug. 8 of this year, she tried again, abandoning that effort after 29 hours, battling ocean swells and suffering from shoulder pain and asthma. Media reports said she was vomiting when she was pulled out of the water.
“I am not sad,” she told CNN, which was accompanying her at the time. “It was absolutely the right call.”
Immediately after the swim, she said that she would not try again, but she later expressed second thoughts about that statement to L.A. Times columnist Bill Dwyre.
"What I said right afterward is not necessarily true," she told Dwyre in mid-August. "You've got me a week later. Right after, it would be like talking to a boxer on the canvas, still on his back and looking up at the bright lights.
"Now, I do not feel at peace the way this ended," she added.
At a news conference in Havana, Nyad told reporters that she was not interested in putting in another two years of training, and that despite her age she is in the best shape of her life.
She also said she would have medicine ready in case of another asthma attack.
Nyad wrote on her blog Friday:
"What’s that saying, 'the third time is the charm?' Someone wrote me, 'luck is the product of preparation.' Of course it’s not all about luck but I do need some. I need there not to be huge winds and waves. I need not to run into schools of man o’ war jellyfish. I need for sharks not to get too interested in me swimming. But it’s not all luck: It’s going to be that we deserve it.”
Image: U.S. long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, center, poses for pictures with her team in Havana on Friday. Credit: Reuters / Desmond Boylan