Woman Swims Cuba to Florida

September 2, 2013 Updated Sep 2, 2013 at 11:22 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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September 2, 2013 Updated Sep 2, 2013 at 11:22 PM EDT

BUFFALO (WKBW) It happened in Florida, but it has the nation talking. One woman, 64 years old, 53 straight hours swimming in the ocean, 110 miles between two countries, as Diana Nyad became the first person ever to swim Florida to Cuba without a shark cage.

Obviously exhausted, her lips swollen, Nyad had a three part message for the crowd of spectators gathered at her finish line.

"One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you're never too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it's a team," Nyad said.

Back here in Western New York, local beachgoers shared their thoughts on the accomplishment.

"Oh I thought it was amazing. Good for her," one said.

"I am not that old and I could not swim nearly that long, so it really is a wonderful thing," another added.

63 year old Scott Pearson of Lakeview says he can identify with Nyad's age and her will to stay active. Pearson was out on Lake Erie on Monday, kite surfing.

"As long as you can do it, just keep doing it. I think that's what she has sort of inspired people to think about," Pearson said.

Back in 2003, a group of distance swimmers attempted a 26 mile swim from Dunkirk to Crystal Beach in Southern Ontario. The goal was to raise money for Carly's Club and support cancer research.

Bad weather derailed that swim, but a decade later, the swimmers finished the journey as part of the Carly's Crossing swimming fundraiser, now in its 12th year.

In comparison, you would have to complete that trip four times to match Nyad's feat.