KEY WEST (CBSMiami/AP) – Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad could get her own monument on the Florida Keys beach where she staggered ashore after a 53-hour swim from Cuba.
Key West City Manager Bob Vitas said he plans to discuss a monument to Nyad at Smathers Beach at the city commission meeting Wednesday.
Nyad staggered onto the beach on Labor Day after swimming more than 110 miles from Havana.
No other details about Vitas’ plans were immediately available. However, The Key West Citizen reported that a recommendation from the Art in Public Places board called for the city to announce a $5,000 international competition.
Board chairman Michael Shields said the shape of the monument would be up the artist.
“It’s great for Key West because it’s all positive,” said City Commissioner Teri Johnston. “That was a world record bringing a lot of notoriety to the city. This is one of the most historic occurrences on Smathers Beach that we’ll probably see.”
Mayor Craig Cates said Vitas was asked to look into a possible monument, but he doesn’t know what the city manager’s recommendation will be.
Cates said he supports the idea of a monument to Nyad’s accomplishment.
“It was special and will probably never be duplicated,” he said. “It was quite a feat. It’s worth recognizing because it brings attention to Key West. It’s incredible.”
Nyad completed the swim from Cuba to Florida on her fifth try, becoming the first person confirmed to have made the swim without a shark cage. Some of her critics still debate, though, whether some of the equipment and practices she employed violated the traditions of open water marathon swimming.
Last month, Nyad served as grand marshal of the city’s annual Fantasy Fest parade. The city commission also honored her days after her swim from Cuba.
Nyad recently announced her retirement from ocean endurance swimming.
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