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Diana Nyad raises $100,000 in 48-hour swim for Sandy victims

U.S. long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad begins her 48 hour continuous swim at Herald Square in New York October 8, 2013. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
U.S. long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad begins her 48 hour continuous swim at Herald Square in New York October 8, 2013. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

By Luke Swiderski

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Diana Nyad, the first person to successfully swim from Cuba to Florida without a cage, completed her latest endurance swim on Thursday without having to worry about sharks, jellyfish or the current.

Her 48-hour continuous charity swim in New York City raised more than $100,000 for Hurricane Sandy recovery, and came little more a month after the 64-year-old made her historic swim across the Straits of Florida. At 96 miles, her pool swim was shorter than her 110-mile (177-km) swim in the sea.

The fundraising total, still growing from online donations, was destined for AmeriCares, a humanitarian relief organization, which said it will use the funds to address the health needs of Hurricane Sandy survivors.

With more than 25,000 people still displaced from the storm, many survivors need help for basic healthcare access. Others face anxiety, depression and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), said Lindsay O'Brien, who manages the organization's Hurricane Sandy Relief program.

"That is exactly where this money will go," O'Brien said.

AmeriCares has used a grant of $110,000 to bring mobile mental health clinics to children and families in the Gerritsen Beach section of Brooklyn.

Nyad's two-day swim brought out celebrities including actor Joe Manganiello and Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, who swam alongside her, as did Sandy victims and first responders from the U.S. Coast Guard and the New York police and fire departments.

Even though she did not have to contend with the ocean, "it was by a thin line that I made it to the end," Nyad told ABC television's "Good Morning America" after leaving the pool. "This one was a bear."

(Reporting by Luke Swiderski; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Andrew Hay)

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