Diana Nyad completes 48-hour swim, says 'this one was a bear'

NEW YORK -- Distance swimmer Diana Nyad pulled herself from a pool in midtown Manhattan on Thursday, finishing a 48-hour swim to raise funds for Superstorm Sandy victims that she declared was even harder than her historic Havana-to-Key West feat.

"I thought for sure ... that the ocean would be much harder," Nyad, 64, told Robin Roberts of ABC's "Good Morning America" as she stood shivering seconds after the swim ended. "This one was a bear."

Nyad said she had never swum so long in a pool -- this was a 40-yard-long one set up in Herald Square -- and wasn't certain she could make it to 48 hours. "It was just by a thin line that I made it to the end," she told Roberts, who was standing poolside when Nyad finished.

A crowd watching urged her on with a final 10-second countdown, by which time Nyad had pulled off her swim cap and clearly was eager to get out of the water.

According to a website tracking donations, the effort raised more than $103,000 for victims of Sandy. The storm made landfall last Oct. 29, killing dozens of people and destroying or damaging tens of thousands of homes and businesses along the East Coast.

The money Nyad raised will go toward the AmeriCares Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, which says it has distributed more than $6.4 million in aid since the storm hit.

On Sept. 2, Nyad completed a 110.4-mile swim from Cuba to Florida, becoming the first person confirmed to have made the swim without a shark cage.


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