Post submitted by Adam Bradley, HRC Communications Intern.

Openly lesbian endurance swimmer Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage on Monday, arriving in Key West nearly 53 hours after she began the 110-mile journey.

Nyad arrived on the beach just before 2 p.m. EDT, summoning the strength to walk ashore and even make a brief statement to the crowd of cheering onlookers, who welcomed her with American and rainbow pride flags.

“I have three messages,” Nyad said. “One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you’re never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team.”

Nyad, an icon in long-distance swimming, set multiple world records in her competitive career, including the longest open-water swim by a person of any gender, 102 miles from the Bahamas to Florida. She came to prominence in 1975 when she swam the 28 miles around Manhattan in under eight hours. Her previous four attempts at the treacherous Cuba-Florida swim had come up short.

The New York native has written and spoken publicly about her sexuality for years, including in a 2012 interview with Out Magazine.

Watch ABC's video coverage of her historic swim:


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