Diana Nyad began one of history's more audacious attempts at an endurance swim on Monday; early Tuesday morning, the 61-year-old swimmer was forced to abandon her swim from Cuba to Florida after 29 hours in the water, citing exhaustion.
"I am not sad. It was absolutely the right call," she said.
Nyad was removed from the water by boat, and her large retinue of support personnel — over 30 people to monitor her progress, watch out for sharks, and help chronicle the effort for a CNN documentary that will air in September — pointed to shifting winds and rough seas as two major obstacles that ultimately scuttled Nyad's attempt to be the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.
Nyad previously attempted the feat in 1978, when she was 28, swimming nearly 80 miles of a route from Havana to Key West in a large shark cage before abandoning that effort after 42 hours. Despite having more success previously, Nyad has claimed that she considers herself fitter at this current stage of her life than any other.