Key West, Florida - Diana Nyad began her swim on Saturday in Havana with a splash and some 53 hours and 110 miles later, her record-setting journey ended on a Key West beach to the sound of spectator cheers.
In between, stroke after stroke, Nyad battled fatigue, sunburn, cold, and her own doubts. This was the fifth time the 64-year-old had tried to complete the swim. Her first attempt was way back in 1978. During more recent tries, storms, bad currents, and jellyfish stings took their toll.
This time Nyad wore special equipment at night to protect her from jellyfish and her support team created a mild electrical current around her to ward off sharks.
And even though this morning Nyad told her team she was "really hurting", she muscled on and shortly before 2 p.m. a dazed looking Nyad staggered to shore.
Just minutes later, even though her tongue and lips were swollen, Nyad had this message for the adoring throngs in Key West and for people around the world. "One is," Nyad said holding up 1 finger. "We should never, ever give up. Two is, you're never too old to chase your dreams."
The remarks were met by cheers and someone in the crowd yelled "go sister". One of the first of many congratulatory tweets came from President Obama.