Last week, Diana Nyad became the first person to complete the long-distance swim from Cuba to the United States without the benefit of a shark cage. While her accomplishment drew widespread praise and media coverage, some fellow long-distance swimmers remain skeptical.
Nyad started her journey in Havana and arrived in Key West, Fla., about 53 hours later. It was the 64-year-old American’s fifth attempt at the 110-mile feat. She wore protective gear to prevent jellyfish attacks, which were an issue during previous attempts.
This piece from Slate remark how she is alleged to have received help. Diana Nyad set to meet with skeptics about her marathon swim.
Critics say some of the GPS data is inconsistent and point to one seven-hour stretch where Nyad’s average speed of 3 miles per hour was double her normal 1.5 mph average. Nyad’s team maintains the change in speed was due to favorable currents, but that hasn’t been enough to quiet speculation that she either got in or held on to the support boat during this stretch.
But this report is comprehensive and contains remarks from experts who said she could have done it with the prevaling currents.
Mitch Roffer of Melbourne-based Roffer’s Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service Inc. said he got an email questioning whether Nyad’s swim was a hoax, so he decided to look at the charts for himself. What he saw convinced him that she could do it.
Janet Hinkle, a Key West boat captain and acquaintance of Nyad’s, was called to be an observer for the swim when Steve Munatones, a former U.S. national open-water coach, was unable to make it. “I can say unequivocally she swam every stroke without question,” Hinkle said.
The criticism has come from “truthers” on a swimming forum. This is the graph from the data that shows the dramatic increase.
She plans to meet with her skeptical colleagues to answer their direct questions. This had been her fifth attempt.
Tip: Steve Liberace