Posts Tagged ‘Swimming hoax’

Was Diana Nyad’s Cuba to Florida swim a hoax?

September 8, 2013

Oh dear.

I have the same sense of disappointment as when I read that yet another top athlete has been found to have been using drugs. I suppose we are all  looking for the stories of individuals who exemplify the ever stretching limits of human endurance and achievement. I was thrilled and I had only admiration a few days ago when the publicity machine exploded on 64 year old Diana Nyad having completed a 110 mile swim from Cuba to Florida. It made me feel good to be human. But it may all have been too good to be true.

Yet another “feel-good” bubble may be bursting.

Could the glare of the spotlight be so alluring and so lucrative as to lead to such an elaborate hoax?

CBS News:

Diana Nyad’s 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida has generated positive publicity and adoration for the 64-year-old endurance athlete — along with skepticism from some members of the small community of marathon swimmers who are questioning whether she accomplished the feat honestly.

… long-distance swimmers have been debating whether Nyad got a boost from the boat that was accompanying her — either by getting in it or holding onto it — during a particularly speedy stretch of her swim. They also question whether she violated the traditions of her sport — many follow strict guidelines known as the English Channel rules — by using a specialized mask and wetsuit to protect herself from jellyfish. ……

 It was her fifth try, an endeavor apparently free from the boat troubles, bad weather, illnesses and jellyfish encounters that have bedeviled Nyad and other swimmers in recent years.

Nyad’s progress was tracked online via GPS by her team, and some critics say they think information is missing. 

Many wonder about a roughly seven-hour stretch when Nyad apparently didn’t stop to eat or drink, recalling her 2012 attempt when she got onto the boat for hours during rough weather. Nyad eventually got back into the water to try finishing, but her team was criticized for delaying the release of that information to the public. 

Malinak said the hours-long spike in Nyad’s speed after 27 hours of swimming is particularly questionable — she went from her normal pace of roughly 1.5 mph to more than 3 mph, then slowed down again as she approached Key West.

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