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Endurance athlete Palfrey begins Cuba-Florida swim

Updated: June 29, 2012 8:31AM

HAVANA — Penny Palfrey has set out on her bid to complete a record swim from Cuba to Florida.

Palfrey aims to be the first woman to swim the Straits of Florida without the aid of a shark cage. Instead she’s relying on equipment that surrounds her with an electrical field to deter the predators.

Palfrey estimates that the swim, if successful, will take 40 to 50 hours.

The 49-year-old British-Australian mother of three and grandmother of two dove headfirst into the waters off Havana Friday morning.

Australian Susie Maroney made the crossing in 1997 at age 22 with a shark cage.

American Diana Nyad made two cageless attempts last year but fell short of her goal. She plans to try again this summer.

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