KEY WEST (CBSMiami/FKNB) – A day before the one-year anniversary of her successful swim from Havana to Key West, marathon swimmer Diana Nyad was honored on the beach where she stepped out of the ocean Sept. 2, 2013.READ MORE: Convicted Killer Dayonte Resiles Sentenced To Life In Murder Of Jill Halliburton Su
Monday’s ceremony at Smathers Beach featured Keys officials unveiling a bronze plaque that is to be installed by the City of Key West on the promenade wall in front of the beach. Plans call for a life-size sculpture of Nyad, to be commissioned by the Key West Art in Public Places Board, to augment the plaque at a later date.
Several hundred spectators listened as Nyad praised the team members who supported her during the almost 111-mile swim, and recalled the dream of success that buoyed her during four previous attempts.
“So many people ask me, as I was swimming up to the shore, could I even believe it? But I could. I had that vision for 35 years that I would see the beautiful shore of Key West here,” she said. “I never lost faith in it.”
Nyad first tried the long-distance swim in 1978 at age 28. More than 30 years later she began training to try again, making two attempts in the summer of 2011 and another in August 2012.READ MORE: Coral Springs Police: 3 Separate Crime Scene Tied To One Suspect
She was 64 years old when she succeeded, completing the Florida Straits crossing in 52 hours and 54 minutes and becoming the first person ever to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.
“When someone says to me, ‘Are you going to do it again?’, I just shake my head and say, ‘Are you insane? Why would I do that again?’ There are other mountains to climb,” said Nyad. “This one was a 35-year dream, and it’s over. How could you have a better story and a better ending?”
At Monday’s ceremony, Nyad danced with city officials to the recording of a song honoring her historic feat that was written by a local musician.
She also announced plans for a summer 2016 walk from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., to increase awareness of America’s obesity epidemic and related health issues.
The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.MORE NEWS: School Bus Driver Accused Of Molesting 7-Year-Old Girl In Mami-Dade
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