Jellyfish Tongue Sting Pain Ends Cuba-Florida Swim for Chloe McCardel

Image: Jellyfish Tongue Sting Pain Ends Cuba-Florida Swim for Chloe McCardel Australian endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel, left, shows painful jellyfish stings to Associated Press videographer Tony Winton Thursday, June 13, 2013, in Key West, Fla.

Thursday, 13 Jun 2013 03:07 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Another swimmer failed in a grueling attempt to swim across the Florida Strait from Cuba to the Sunshine State on Wednesday when an Australian called it off after 11 hours in the water, said The Associated Press.

Chloe McCardel, 28, had hoped to become the first person to complete the roughly 110-mile swim without a shark cage. In the end, it was not the sharks she had to worry about but the jellyfish.

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Her support team said a "severe debilitating jellyfish sting" proved to be her undoing, in a statement to The Associated Press. She reportedly even had painful wounds inside her mouth.

"She got nailed all over her body — back, legs and arms. Nailed multiple times, all at the same time," Bob Olin, skipper of McCardel's support boat, told The Associated Press by satellite phone. Olin said attempts to treat her in the water were futile and she had to be eventually taken onto the boat.

Susie Maroney, another Australian, accomplished the feat in 1997 with a shark cage, according to WBFS-TV.

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, who failed three times to cross the Florida Strait, used Twitter to voice her support for McCardel.

"It's a tough night for Chloe McCardel, a superior swimmer and an exemplary spirit," Nyad wrote, according to The Associated Press.

Nyad complained about the jellyfish as well to "PBS NewsHour" in her last attempt in 2012.

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"The jellyfish, how could it be that a tiny little animal that has a tentacle no bigger than a strand of a hair, I mean, literally, no bigger, no thicker than a strand of a hair, could be out there in this vast wide ocean," Nyad told "NewsHour" after her 2012 attempt. "I'm wearing a suit and creams and repellent, and the only square inch of my entire body that is open and exposed are my lips, because I have got to breathe, how could that tentacle find those lips?"

McCardel is an endurance veteran, swimming the English Channel six times over her career, including two double crossings, said the Miami Herald.

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