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Diana Nyad preparing her hat for the swim as a team member helps apply a protective ointment on her skin. Ramon Espinosa/AP/Press Association Images

US woman attempts Cuba to Florida swim without shark cage

Diana Nyad, 62, pushing to become the first person to make the 166km crossing unaided.

A US SWIMMER has commenced her latest attempt to become the first person to swim the 166 kilometres from Cuba to Florida without the protection of a shark cage.

Endurance athlete Diana Nyad, 62, brought her three-day swim forward due to anticipated bad weather in the area early next week.

She maintained her regular pace of 50 strokes a minute throughout the first 18 hours in the water.

Nyad was forced to abandon an attempting at the daring crossing last September after suffering dangerous jellyfish stings. However, this time she has donned a special custom-made wetsuit to protect her face and body from the stings.

Her team reported this morning that she had a difficult first night and suffered multiple jellyfish stings to her lips, forehead, hands and neck, but that she “looks very comfortable and confident”.

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Among her support team on this trip are jellyfish experts and shark divers. Although she is being shadowed by an electric field designed to deter sharks, divers are on hand to enter the water if she is approached or attacked in an effort to lure the sharks away.

Nyad has been training for the event for three years.

Nyad beginning her journey yesterday accompanied by members of her support team. (AP/Ramon Espinosa/PA)

- Additional reporting by the AP

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