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updated: 10/10/2013 11:05 AM

Nyad ends NY swim, raises $103K for Sandy victims

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  • Associated Press/ Invision for P&GActress Nikki Reed hugs long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad during her 48-hour continuous "Swim for Relief" to support Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in New York's Herald Square.

      Associated Press/ Invision for P&GActress Nikki Reed hugs long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad during her 48-hour continuous "Swim for Relief" to support Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in New York's Herald Square.

 
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad ended her 48-hour swim benefiting Superstorm Sandy victims to the enthusiastic cheers of spectators gathered Thursday morning around a 40-yard pool set up at a busy Manhattan intersection.

"It honestly was tougher than I ever imagined it to be," the 64-year-old Nyad said as she emerged from the pool at 8:48 a.m. Her words were drowned out by the crowd's whooping, claps and cheers.

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Minutes later, looking well but bundled up in a blanket, she told "Good Morning America" that her shoulders hurt and she felt nauseated but was otherwise happy. Her effort raised $103,001.

Edith Windsor, the 84-year-old widow who challenged the federal Defense of Marriage Act after she was forced to pay $363,000 on the estate of her late wife, was among the spectators. She called the event "thrilling, just thrilling."

Nyad started the marathon swim Tuesday morning in the pool set up in Herald Square in midtown Manhattan. Her aim was to raise money for people still struggling a year after Sandy.

Last month, the New York native became the first person confirmed to have swum from Havana to Key West, Fla., without a shark cage.

Other spectators Thursday included Carol Shattuck, 67, of Riverside, Conn., the chief of staff of AmeriCares Foundation, which will distribute the funds that were raised.

Shattuck said she and other staff members swam in a relay with Nyad on Tuesday for 15 minutes.

"It was so exciting because Diana is such an inspiration," she said. The message is "you're never too old to try something new."

"We're there for the long haul," she said of AmeriCares. "And obviously Diana is too."

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