Australian Chloe McCardel will battle swift sea currents, jellyfish stings, dangerous sharks and her own physical limits this week when she attempts a record swim from Cuba to Florida.

The 29-year-old is bidding to become the first person to make the 100-mile (161-kilometer) Straits of Florida Crossing without the protection of a shark cage.

McCardel said Monday in Havana that the marathon swim is attracting lots of attention. Two other women have failed in four separate attempts the last two years.

She says being the first to complete the swim would be like "winning a gold medal."

McCardel's support team is scheduled to join her Tuesday, with an eye on making her attempt the following day.