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Diana Nyad Completes Cuba to Florida Swim

Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:07:56 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 01:38:09 PM CST
KEY WEST, Florida -

(CNN) Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad reached the shores of Key West on Monday afternoon, becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.

This was the 64-year-old's fifth attempt to make the swim.  She first tried it at the age of 28, in 1978,

Nyad began the swim from Cuba on Saturday morning.

On Sunday night she broke Penny Palfrey's record for the farthest anyone had managed on the trek without a shark cage.

In 1997, Australian Susie Maroney completed the swim from within a shark cage. She was 22 at the time.

Nyad wore a jellyfish protection suit, and also had available a special mask to prevent jellyfish stings to her tongue -- a key factor in her failed attempt in August 2012.

Thunderstorms also helped thwart her last year.

The weather this weekend was much better until 11 p.m. Sunday, when the support team reported winds rose suddenly and a thunderstorm appeared headed toward Nyad's path.

But just before 1 a.m. Monday, the team reported on Twitter: "Diana is swimming strong, everyone is safe, the winds are dying down, and we think we see the glow of Key West! "

The Los Angeles native had said this was her final attempt. She said on her website that she wants to prove "it's never too late to chase your dream."

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