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Diana Nyad's swim picks up pace as she strengthens

U.S. swimmer Diana Nyad begins her swim from Cuba to Florida at the Hemingway Marina in Havana on Friday as she attempts for a second time to set a world record at the age of 62. 

Associated Press

U.S. swimmer Diana Nyad begins her swim from Cuba to Florida at the Hemingway Marina in Havana on Friday as she attempts for a second time to set a world record at the age of 62. 

HAVANA — Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad suffered another jellyfish sting Saturday night around the halfway point of her bid to make the 103-mile crossing from Cuba to Florida, but was still intent on continuing the trip.

Nyad's face and eyes were affected and her crew were trying to determine what kind of jellyfish had delivered the sting, according to online updates posted by her team. She was being treated aboard a support vessel.

"At this moment it appears that Diana wishes to continue," read a message sent on her Twitter account.

It was the second painful sting Nyad has experienced more than 24 hours into her attempt to break her own record for an open-water crossing without a shark cage by about a half-mile. Earlier Saturday, her assistants reported that she had swam 49 miles since setting out from a Havana marina the previous day.

She also got a visit from a curious shark, though her handlers downplayed the afternoon encounter.

Barracudas were also spotted in her general vicinity.

Nyad's run-in the previous night with a Portuguese Man o' War, described as "scary," left her with stings on her face, arms and side.

Complaining of difficulty breathing, she received oxygen and a steroid shot from her doctors and trod water while she recovered.

When she resumed swimming her handlers noted that her stroke count had dropped to 48 per minute, down from 52-55, but as the day went on she picked up the pace.

"This afternoon — it is stunning to actually witness — Diana is swimming stronger and stronger," her website read. "Her strokes are up to 50 per minute."

The Los Angeles woman pauses every 45 to 90 minutes to rest and refuel on food that her assistants pass to her in the water, but without getting on the boat.

Nyad is making her second attempt in as many months at the Cuba-Florida crossing, a lifelong dream that she first tried as a 28-year-old back in 1978. An attempt this August fell short after 29 hours due to an asthma attack.

Diana Nyad's swim picks up pace as she strengthens 09/25/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 25, 2011 12:07am]
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