Asthmatic 61-Year-Old Woman Tries To Be The First Person To Swim From Cuba To Florida Without A Shark Cage

Endurance swimmers are impressive extreme athletes. Swimming long distances is brutal. And bad bad things happen to you in the ocean. Especially when you're 61 and have asthma. Not that that bothers Diana Nyad, who's attempting to make it 103 miles from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. It's a feat that has never been accomplished and would break Nyad's own record 102.5 mile cage-free swim from the Bahamas to Florida in 1979.

Nyad hopped in Havana's Marina Hemingway at 7:45 p.m. on Sunday and started swimming. She plans to take about 60 hours to reach Florida, with brief stops every hour to eat. Ocean kayakers towing devices to repel sharks will accompany her. Nyad tried the same swim in 1978 but failed to finish after going 99.7 miles in 42 hours. She says she's in even better shape this time and trained 12 hours a day for two years to prepare herself. This is clearly not a woman for half measures. Case in point: Nyad's biography says she got kicked out of Emory University for jumping out a fourth-floor dormitory window wearing a parachute.

You can track Nyad's progress here on a real-time CNN map.

Marathon Swimmer Diana Nyad Chases Her Extreme Dream [Jezebel]
Diana Nyad, on 103-mile swim, struggles with shoulder pain, asthma [CNN]