KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) – A 49-year-old grandmother and veteran endurance swimmer has scuttled her quest to become the first woman to swim unaided from Cuba to the Florida Keys.
Penny Palfrey was unable to close the gap on the last 26 miles of a more than 100-mile ocean odyssey.
Palfrey had fended off painful jellyfish stings while keeping an eye on hammerhead sharks as she attempted the crossing without a shark cage. But her support team says the tricky currents of the Florida Straits proved to be her biggest obstacle. According to her husband, they pushed her east so that she ended up losing ground just as she was achingly close to her goal.
The British-born Australian athlete was about three-quarters of the way into her swim when she gave up the effort about midnight, just 26 miles south of Florida’s Key West. She had been swimming nearly 41 hours since plunging into balmy waters near Havana, Cuba, on Friday.
Her doctor says she was dehydrated and had low blood pressure and is receiving IV drips at a hospital.
Her husband says it’s too early to discuss the possibility of another attempt.