64-Year-Old Swimmer Breaks World Record for Distance Swim

Veteran swimmer on fifth attempt to cross the Florida Straits

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Ernesto Mastrascusa / LatinContent / Getty Images

American swimmer Diana Nyad prepares her jump before starting her fifth try of swimming across the Florida Strait, on Aug. 31 2013, in Marina Hemingway, La Habana, Cuba

Diana Nyad, the 64-year-old swimmer who has already made four attempts to cross the 103 mile stretch of water between Cuba and Florida, is on the verge of completing her journey today.

With just 17 miles to go, she has already broken the world record for longest distance swim, unseating the previous champ, Penny Palfrey, for her 2012 slog over the same stretch of water.

Nyad swam without the protection of a shark cage or a wet suit, though she did strap on a prosthetic face mask to shield her from stinging jellyfish. Her support team wrote on the swimmer’s website that she still has to contend with, “currents, shipping lanes, reefs and swarms of jellyfish.” Endurance swimming fans can track her progress here.

MORE: Cuba-to-Florida Swimmer Diana Nyad Makes Fourth Attempt