Saturday 18 November 2017

Murky waters as epic-swim woman defends her record

Nick Allen Los Angeles

Diana Nyad, the 64-year-old woman who become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the help of a shark cage, said she will meet with sceptics who have been questioning her extraordinary feat.

Ms Nyad's inspiring 110-mile swim was accomplished on her fifth attempt and was hailed by no less than President Barack Obama, who said it showed people should "never give up on your dreams."

But the historic achievement has led to debate among other long distance swimmers.

Some of them have claimed Ms Nyad could not have picked up as much speed as she says she did from the fast-moving Gulf Stream current.

They have been discussing on internet forums whether she could have got into, or even held on to, the boat that accompanied her.

Alexandra Crotin, a spokeswoman for Ms Nyad, said the endurance athlete intended to address the questions head on, and would meet with her "peers in the swimming community" on Tuesday.

TRANSPARENCY

The spokeswoman said: "Diana is proud of what she and her team accomplished last week, and she is committed to complete transparency."

Janet Hinkle, one of the official observers for the swim, said: "I can say unequivocally she swam every stroke without question."

Ms Nyad finished the swim on September 2 after roughly 53 hours in the water.

Her progress was tracked by satellite navigation systems and the data fuelled speculation about her speed though the Florida Straits.

For one seven-hour period Nyad apparently did not stop to eat or drink, while at times she moved considerably faster than her usual 1.5 mph swimming speed.

Her navigator John Bartlett said the increased speed was due to the Gulf Stream working with her, and nothing more.

He said: "At some points we were doing almost 4 mph.

"That's just the way it works. If the current is in your favour at all, that explains it." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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