Diana Nyad was hoping the fourth time would be the charm when she set off to swim across the Straits of Florida from Cuba to Key West over the weekend.
But 72 hours later, she was forced to abandon her effort after enduring countless jellyfish stings as well as stormy weather, the threat of hypothermia and her team members being forced to fend off sharks.
'I've been dreaming of this crossing for 35 years now and tried it four times. And should I say that there's no disappointment? No,' she told members of the press Tuesday. 'I'm not going to get that moment I dreamed of for so long.'
The lesbian athlete, who turns 63 today (22 August), logged 41 hours and 45 minutes of swim time. By the time she was forced to quit, her lips were swollen from jellyfish stings but she insisted her muscles weren't even sore.
Nyad is not ruling out a fifth attempt but not committing to one either.
'I'm not a quitter, but the sport and this particular ocean are different than they used to be,' she said. 'These jellyfish are prolific. And, you know what? To me, there's no joy in that.'
'This isn't swimming,' she added. 'It's like some Navy SEAL.'