U.S. endurance swimmer Diana Nyad completed Monday her swim from Havana to Key West, Florida, after 52 hours in the water without the protection of a shark cage.

Nyad, 64, had attempted the feat and failed on four other occasions, but this time set out on her 160-kilometer (103-mile) journey with better protection against jellyfish.

To the more than 1,000 people waiting for her in Key West, Nyad said: "We should never ever give up. You are never too old to cherish your dream."

Nyad began her latest adventure Saturday from the Ernest Hemingway International Nautical Club in the Cuban capital at 9:00 a.m., accompanied by a team made up of 39 professionals including divers, doctors, mariners and other assistants.

As Nyad approached the coast, spectators gathered around her in the water to cheer her on.

In the course of her successful sports career, Nyad became the best long-distance swimmer in the world, setting several records including the 7 hours, 57 minutes it took her to swim around Manhattan when she was 50 years old.

In June, Australian swimmer Chloe McCardel's attempt to reach Florida from Cuba had to be called off after 11 hours at sea because of jellyfish stings.

Up to now, only Australia's Susie Malroney had achieved the goal of swimming from Havana to Key West, but she did it with a cage protecting her against shark attacks. EFE