Fighting off jellyfish and chilly waters, and achieving a tremendous physical feat after failing on four previous attempts, American athlete Diana Nyad, 64, completed a roughly 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida on Monday.
By reaching Smathers Beach in Key West, Fla., after swimming for more than 48 hours, Nyad became the first person to officially complete the swim without the help of a shark cage.
Two miles from the end of the swim on Monday morning, Nyad had stopped her swim to address her support crew.
"This is a lifelong dream of mine and I'm very very glad to be with you," she told her team, according to an update on her website. "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."
As expected, the swim was physically punishing. Nyad's tongue and lips were swollen and doctors had expressed concern about her airways on the final stretch of the swim. Her crew reported that she had not stopped to eat overnight out of concern that the waters had gotten too cold.
Nyad began her swim at the Hemingway Marina in Havana on Saturday morning.