Diana Nyad Forges Ahead In Florida-To-Cuba Swim Despite Jellyfish Stings

Diana Nyad is attacking her 103-mile swim from Florida to Cuba with a sense of renewed energy Sunday, one day after a harrowing night filled with jellyfish stings and labored swimming.

Team members for the 62-year-old swimmer said she continued her swim on Sunday after a difficult evening where she wasn’t swimming as much as she was “surviving” the Associated Press reported. Diana Nyad, a Los Angeles woman, said she was comfortable, confident, and steady as she made close to 50 strokes per minute.

Diana Nyad wore a swimsuit that she hoped would offer better protection against the debilitating stings of jellyfish. When she tried to complete the Florida-to-Cuba swim in September 2011 she was forced to stop after receiving several stings. Doctors told the swimmer than any more encounters with Portuguese man o’ war stings could prove to be life threatening.

On Saturday night Diana Nyad suffered four stings — one each on her neck, lips, hand, and forehead — her team members told fans through social media.

“Today is more like swimming,” one member tweeted. “I don’t know what you would call last night . probably surviving.”

Members also noted that a change in swimming strategies proved helpful to Diana Nyad.

“There are so many jellyfish,” said another tweet. “Diana is swimming backstroke right now leading with the cap-covered part of her head to minimize contact.”

“The backstroke is working!” it added.

Diana Nyad has swum more than 20 miles so far in her third attempt at swimming the Strait of Florida. Aside from her attempt last year she also failed in a 1978 try, which she made with a shark cage as protection. Australian swimmer Susie Maroney completed the swim in 1997 using a shark cage, while fellow Aussie Penny Palfrey made it 79 miles into the trip this June before being pushed too far off course by currents.

Diana Nyad said she isn’t discouraged by her failed attempts — in fact, they even provide some help in her latest try, Fox News Latino reported.

“You have to learn from your mistakes. You don’t do it the first time,” Diana Nyad said at a news conference before the swim. “We need some luck, but we do feel like we’ve solved all the problems.”