First person completes Cuba-to-U.S. swim
Aussie swimmer reaches Key West
May 12, 1997
Web posted at: 12:44 p.m. EDT (1644 GMT)
FORT TAYLOR BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- Australian distance
swimmer Susie Maroney wearily stepped ashore at Key West,
Florida, Monday afternoon, the first person to swim the
112-mile Florida Straits from Cuba to the United States.
"I'm really happy about it," Maroney said as she was helped from the surf on Key West's Fort Taylor Beach.
Maroney, who failed in an attempted to make the same swim
last June, completed the crossing just over 24 hours
after diving into the water in Havana, Cuba. Strong winds and
rain overnight nearly forced the 22-year-old swimmer to
abandon this crossing as well, but Maroney felt strong enough
at first light to finish her journey.
|Australian swimmer ends first successful swim from Cuba to the U.S.
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Support team member Joe Pagniatello told CNN that the cage
protecting the swimmer from sharks was damaged
overnight, but neither the cage damage nor the poor weather
was enough to scuttle the swim.
"Before sunrise, they were talking about not completing the
swim," he said.
The swimmer passed her original destination -- uninhabited
Sand Key, Florida -- earlier Monday, and decided to continue
on to Key West, seven miles beyond.
Maroney, whose crossing was the first of 50 official attempts
to be completed, has crossed the English Channel twice and
holds the record for the Manhattan Island race.
She also held the record for most distance covered in 24 hours -- 58 1/2 miles (94.1 kilometers). Her Florida Straits swim eclipsed that record.
Last year, Maroney stopped 12 miles from her goal when
dehydration and illness forced her to leave the water after
38 1/2 hours and 107 miles.
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