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Sports News Roundup: Nyad gives Cuba-Florida swim last shot

Associated Press The Florida Strait, a dangerous stretch of sea full of sharks and jellyfish that is prone to sudden, violent storms, has stubbornly resisted Diana Nyad’s repeated attempts to conquer it. Yet the Florida-raised endurance athlete was back in the water once again Saturday, launching her fourth bid in three years to become the first person to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys without a protective shark cage. “I admit there’s an ego rush,” Nyad said. “If I — three days from now, four days from now — am still somehow bringing the arms up and I see the shore ... I am going to have a feeling that no one yet on this planet has ever had.” She expects to take about 80 hours to arrive somewhere between Key West and Marathon, more than 110 miles from Havana. Nyad, who recently turned 64, tried three times in 2011 and 2012. Her last attempt was cut short amid boat trouble, storms, unfavorable currents and box jellyfish stings. She says this will be her final try. She has said the same after previous defeats, but likened those statements to the rash promises of a heartbroken spouse. “Every person who’s married, the day after they get the divorce they say, ‘Never again!’ ” Nyad said. “But you need to heal, your heart needs to heal, and pretty soon not all men are bad again.” Nyad has spoken of night swimming in particular as a mystical, almost out-of-body experience where she finds herself contemplating the nature of the universe. Nyad hopes a new silicone mask will protect her from jellyfish at night when they rise to the surface more. She’ll also don a full bodysuit, gloves and booties. The kit slows her down, but she believes it will be effective. A 35-person support team will accompany her at sea. Equipment that generates a faint electrical field around her is designed to keep sharks at bay, and she stops from time to time for nourishment.

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