Friday 20 October 2017

Swimmer ends Cuba endurance effort

Marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey has ended her bid to complete a record swim from Cuba to Florida (AP)
Marathon swimmer Penny Palfrey has ended her bid to complete a record swim from Cuba to Florida (AP)
Penny Palfrey and her husband Chris rub cream on her body in preparation for her bid to complete a record swim from Cuba to Florida (AP)

Endurance swimmer Penny Palfrey has ended her effort to become the first woman to swim unassisted from Cuba to the Florida Keys, her support team said.

Ms Palfrey halted her effort early on Sunday about 26 miles south of Key West, roughly three-quarters of the way through, because of a strong ocean current, team member Andrea Woodburn said.

Ms Woodburn said she was in contact with Ms Palfrey's boat and was told the swimmer had gotten out of the water around about midnight. She added thatthe British-born Australian is well, but gave no further details.

Ms Palfrey had been swimming steadily and reported no physical complaints other than jellyfish stings earlier in the day on the 100-mile-plus swim.

The Florida Straits are notorious for fickle ocean currents, including the powerful Gulf Stream.

Roughly 37.5 hours into the swim, the 49-year-old grandmother was 76 miles from her starting point at a marina in the Cuban capital Havana, according to her website's GPS tracking report.

At the time, she was positioned about 30 miles south, south-west of Key West.

Previously, Ms Palfrey's personal best was 67 miles when she swam between Little Cayman and Grand Cayman islands last year, according to Ms Woodburn.

The swimmer had reapplied sunscreen and grease to prevent chafing and said the water conditions had been excellent other than the extreme heat on the first two days of the swim. She spotted a few hammerhead sharks and dolphin pods on the way.

Crew members said she was in full control of the effort at the time, instructing team members who were accompanying her on kayaks and a catamaran.

Press Association

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