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Victory! Diana Nyad completes record-breaking Cuba-to-Florida swim (+video)

Diana Nyad completed her swim from Havanna to Key West Monday afternoon, after swimming about 110 miles in 53 hours. One other person has swum the distance, but with the help of a shark cage that sped her through the journey in 25 hours.

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A 64-year-old American long-distance swimmer, Diana Nyad, completed a 35-year-long quest to cross the Florida Straits on Monday, becoming the first person to swim from Cuba without a shark cage.

Nyad came ashore in Key West about 53 hours after she set off from Havana, completing the estimated 110-mile journey to the Florida Keys.

Nyad was making her fifth attempt in 35 years to make the crossing. She set a record for the longest ocean swim without a shark cage or flippers, according to her crew.

Only 2 miles (3.2 km) short of reaching Key West 50 hours after she set off from Havana, Nyad paused briefly to thank her support team, treading water as she addressed the vessels bobbing in the sea around her, according to blog updates on her website.

"This is a lifelong dream of mine, and I'm very, very glad to be with you," she said. "So let's get going so we can have a whopping party," she added before resuming her journey.

The marathon swimmer has said this would be her final attempt, this time using a protective silicone mask to better protect her from potentially deadly box jellyfish that forced her to end one of two attempted crossings last year.

Her doctors aboard a support vessel said earlier on Monday that Nyad's tongue and lips were swollen, causing her speech to be slurred and raising concern about her breathing, the blog reported. Nyad was also "very cold" and had canceled scheduled feeding stops overnight "in the hopes that swimming would keep her warm."

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