Nyad's feat attacked by skeptics
Diana Nyad had to overcome fatigue, jellyfish and unkind currents to make her historic Havana-to-Key West swim. Now she faces an even tougher foe — skeptics.
The doubters come from those who should be cheering the 64-year-old the most — the long-distance swimming community. In their online forum and via social media, they are casting doubt that Nyad has really become the first person to make the 110-mile swim according to the established set of rules for this sport.
Swimmers are not allowed to touch anything or a person that would help enable them to rest. And there is supposed to be an independent observer — someone not connected to the swimmer — who charts the trip. So here is the big beef from other marathon swimmers: Where are all the details? For her 53 hours in the ocean, they want to know her speed, eating schedule and GPS coordinates.
"Because it's a solitary sport and not watched live by many people, it's important to record notes and take down documentation so when people ask the question, 'Did you actually do this?' you have evidence,'' Evan Morrison of San Francisco, creator of the Marathon Swimmers Forum, told National Geographic.
Another marathon swimmer, Mo Siegal of Piermont, NY, said: "I'm skeptical if she swam every stroke of that 110 miles. I'd love to be proved wrong."
Something else raising their doubts: after 38 hours, a stretch of 7.5 hours when Nyad didn’t eat or drink because she didn’t feel like stopping. No refueling for such a period at that point in the swim? It doesn’t ring true, the skeptics say.
"Is it possible she rested on the boat and she's not telling us?" Morrison said.
Nyad and her team haven’t responded to this talk yet. Here’s a suggestion, though, directed at these other swimmers in a way they’d be sure to understand: Guys, you’re all wet.