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Endurance athlete Palfrey begins Cuba-FL swim

 British-Australian dual citizen swimmer Penny Palfrey shows a bottle that will be used to transfer food to her as she swims across the Straits of Flo...
  British-Australian swimmer Penny Palfrey begins her bid to complete a record swim from Cuba to Florida, in Havana, Cuba, Friday, June 29, 2012. Palf...
 British-Australian swimmer Penny Palfrey adjusts her cap in preparation for her bid to complete a record swim from Cuba to Florida as her husband Chr...
 British-Australian swimmer Penny Palfrey begins her bid to complete a record swim from Cuba to Florida, in Havana, Cuba, Friday, June 29, 2012. Palfr...

Cuba Swimming to Florida

British-Australian dual citizen swimmer Penny Palfrey shows a bottle that will be used to transfer food to her as she swims across the Straits of Flo...

CORRECTION Cuba Swimming to Florida

British-Australian swimmer Penny Palfrey begins her bid to complete a record swim from Cuba to Florida, in Havana, Cuba, Friday, June 29, 2012. Palf...

Cuba Swimming to Florida

British-Australian swimmer Penny Palfrey adjusts her cap in preparation for her bid to complete a record swim from Cuba to Florida as her husband Chr...

Cuba Swimming to Florida

British-Australian swimmer Penny Palfrey begins her bid to complete a record swim from Cuba to Florida, in Havana, Cuba, Friday, June 29, 2012. Palfr...

Marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey set out on a record bid to traverse the Straits of Florida early Friday, a 103-mile (166-kilometer) unassisted swim testing the limits of human endurance and the will of the high seas.
Slathered with sunblock and lubricant to prevent chafing, Palfrey bade farewell to onlookers, dove headfirst into the bathwater-warm seas off Havana and began stroking slowly northward. She estimates that it will take her 40 to 50 hours to make the crossing.
Palfrey will have to fight through physical and mental fatigue while fending off dehydration, hypothermia and dangerous marine life.
If she succeeds, she'll go in the record books as the first woman to swim the Straits of Florida without the aid of a shark cage. Instead she's relying on equipment that surrounds her with an electrical field to deter the predators.
Australian Susie Maroney made the crossing in 1997 at age 22, but with a shark cage.
American Diana Nyad has made three unsuccessful cageless attempts, including two last year just before and after her 62nd birthday. Nyad called those off due to a debilitating asthma attack and painful Portuguese man o' war stings, but plans to try again this summer.
Palfrey, a 49-year-old mother and grandmother, is more than a decade younger than Nyad.
She is wearing a regular sporting swimsuit instead of a wetsuit, and plans to put on a Lycra bodysuit that provides cover down to the wrists and ankles whenever jellyfish may be a threat.
That's particularly the case at night, according to her support team of more than a dozen navigators, handlers, kayakers and medical personnel who are escorting her on the 44-foot (13-meter) catamaran Sealuver.
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Updated : 2021-07-24 10:43 GMT+08:00