Diana Nyad – Skeptics Doubt Her Victorious Swim Through the English Channel

Diana Nyad – Skeptics Doubt Her Victorious Swim Through the English Channel

After last week’s results, skeptics question the validity of Diana Nyad’s victorious feat of swimming the 110-mile trek from Cuba to Florida.

What is making so many of her fellow marathon swimmers doubt the 64-year old’s successful swim?

The term causing those to doubt the swimmer’s success is unaided.

Any swimmers to successfully swim 10 miles or more fall under the English Channel rules. In a very basic outline, when swimming the English Channel a swimmer must:

  • wear goggles, one swimming cap and standard swimwear.
  • wear only latex and silicone materials. Neoprene material is not allowed
  • be seen starting the swim on land.
  • be seen finishing the swim on land.
  • not ever touch the boat or person while swimming.

Diana Nyad – Skeptics Doubt Her Victorious Swim Through the English Channel

In a nutshell, those who successfully swim the English Channel cannot use or adorn anything that will improve their buoyancy, speed, endurance or help the swimmer in retaining heat. Thus, the swimmer would then have to omit wearing a wet suit and fins. In addition, having contact with a boat or person during the swim would automatically disqualify the swimmer from the event.

Reviewing the basic English Channel rules, the suit Nyad wore to protect herself from jelly fish stings and the streamer that she used which was attached to the boat to guide her through the channel would immediately suggest disqualification from the event.

But what raises more doubt amongst her skeptics is the lack of having an independent observer on board to observe her victorious swim through the English Channel. It is the observer’s job to record and document the swim, giving proof that the feat was a success in addition to providing information on the tides and currents aiding in the swimmer’s success.

Unbiased evidence is the best proof for documenting a successful swim or so states Evan Morrison, a marathon swimmer who created the Marathon Swimmers Forum.

Skeptics are accusing Nyad of withholding a detailed account of her swim. And like all caged animals in the zoo, her feeding schedule during the run is in question.

During a 7.5-hour period, Diana did not eat or drink. Her swimming crew advised that her lack of eating was because she did not want to stop swimming due to being cold. Benjamin Levine, a sports cardiologist who has studied endurance athletes, confirms this line of reasoning.

However, skeptics question this action. How, over the course of 38 hours of swimming and puking, can a person not refuel their energies by eating? Doesn’t the energy supplied by food increase the metabolism and heat up the body? Without having an independent observer present during the swim, some feel that Nyad got back on the boat to rest during those 7.5 hours in question.

Another issue under consideration is Nyad’s rate of speed during the swim. In the past, the swimmer told the media her swim rate is less than two miles per hour. But on Sept. 1, Nyad’s support team states the swimmer’s speed during a nine-hour period to be three miles per hour. It seems the water currents certainly must have been watching her backstroke.

However, David Barra, who created the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, doubts the authenticity of the three-mile per hour statement. The satellites and real-time flow chart of tides during this period did not show that the water flow was actually that strong to have her back.

So why are all Nyad’s fellow swimmers trying to discredit her feat which would also discredit the accomplishments of the marathon swimming organization?

The answer is not the skeptics discrediting Nyad, but to improve how a swimmer can victoriously conquer the waterways such as the English Channel, which was until Diana’s feat believed to be unconquerable.

Written by Lisa Graziano

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5 Responses to Diana Nyad – Skeptics Doubt Her Victorious Swim Through the English Channel

  1. dee September 9, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Gracious, but there are certainly a lot of haters in that swim world.
    Congratulations, Diana! You are such an inspiration.

    Reply
  2. Shay Fountain September 9, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I live in the Keys, the water here is very warm, full of things that like to nibble on you and we have weather that can change three times in a hour. Although I have never been near the English Channel, It is my understanding that it is narrow, cold and relatively free of things that wish to eat you. It would make no sense to swim here by Channel rules unless you wished to continue failing. However, I suggest that some of the doubters come down and swim the Straits under the Channel rules, I think the results would be amusing.

    Reply
  3. Jason September 9, 2013 at 7:15 am

    WHy is the title about the English Channel. she didnt just swim the English channel.

    Reply
  4. Sophia Philo September 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Eng Ch has no deadly marine life, and is extremely narrow & shallow compared to Fl Ch.

    Comparing the 6km EngCh & 150km FlCh swims is exactly like comparing:
    — normal 26.2mi marathon – only hydration allowed.
    — 150mi ultramarathon – eat, sleep, medic, change shoes/clothes …all permitted.

    Those who do NOT realize these are completely different races — completely different requirements, needs — are dimwitted morons who intentionally ignore facts.

    WHILE SWIMMING/TREADING water, Nyad did get food, med chks….
    … and she did put on/off HEAVY SILICONE (not light neoprene) suit/mask to guard from parlyzing stings, bites, etc — from fish/predators not present in EngC.

    Jealous ignorant twits.

    Reply
  5. k September 8, 2013 at 9:50 am

    “So why are all Nyad’s fellow swimmers trying to discredit her feat?”…
    … Are you kidding — “ALL Nyad’s fellow swimmers… ” —

    Reply

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