Cuba was hit hard by an outbreak of the virus in 2021, prompting health authorities to call for countrywide lockdowns and severe restrictions on movement. But a successful vaccination drive in the otherwise poor nation has prompted a return to normalcy for many.
The elderly swimmers, clad in bright, tight-fitting swim trunks, told Reuters the loosening of restrictions had given them a new lease on life.
"I turned 80 on December 25, 80 years old. Two years of no swimming was tough on me, but I have started swimming again and I am happy again, both physically and mentally," said Havana resident Fernando Sergio Paneque.
The "masters" swim clubs gather early in the morning, as the sun rises, swimming in shallow, protected areas along the urban coast of Havana.
Cuba, an island nation ringed by clear, tepid waters, is an ideal place for swimming in the sea.