Diana Nyad's Directional "Streamer"

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Comments

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    Steve, I said what I said about her calling it a marathon swim because if her hanging on to her boat. It had nothing to do about her stinger suit, which I'd forgotten about until you wrote up your comments above.

    I appreciate your view and your work as observer for her (not to mention ALL your work for OW swimming). But she did not do a marathon swim. Her "marathon swim" ended when she touched the boat.

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    edited August 2012
    Additionally, she didn't tell the world that she was attempting to swim the 103 miles in a series of "short" 31-mile swims. She and her machine stated 103 miles non-stop. When she touched the boat, her marathon swim was over regardless of the distance she had swum up to that point. There is no difference between what she did and what all these triathletes do when they skip laps, walk on sandbars and take breaks on kayaks (read my latest race report on my blog), except for the length swum prior to breaking The Rule.

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • JenAJenA Charter Member
    edited August 2012
    The swim, media and reporting probably would have gone differently had Diana not had to court sponsorship so heavily. (Totally necessary unless you are independently wealthy!)

    With such sponsorship, I would imagine she felt quite pulled between being "a swimmer" and being "a product".
  • MandaiMandai Charter Member
    It took me a while to get a better picture of the whole issue (here in Southeast Asia you don't hear or read a word about this swim, though S. Redmond's swim was reported) and despite earlier sceptism about the strong criticism I got to admit that the points raised by loneswimmer and others here are quite valid. A real pity that a great idea and great effort went so wrong.
  • MunatonesMunatones Charter Member
    I will do my best to answer everyone's concerns.

    1. As an Observer, it is my role to observe and document. If I was an Observer for the CSA, CS&PF, CCSF, SBCSA, FINA or any other generally accepted marathon swimming organization, then my role as an Observer is to observe, judge and document. In the world of professional marathon swimming with FINA, if an athlete breaks the rules (i.e., receives 2 yellow cards or 1 red card), then I am obliged to immediately stop the swimmer and demand that they leave the water (i.e., we pull them into the boat and place a DQ after their name in the official results). I do not know if the CSA, CS&PF, CCSF, or SBCSA does the same (i.e., immediately pull the swimmer if any rules are broken. [Side note: can a representative of each organization tell me what happens if a rule is broken? That is, is it the obligation of the pilot and observer to immediately pull the swimmer as we do in FINA? I honestly do not know this answer.] But on these long expedition swims, I observe and document; I do not pull a swimmer. I guess many of you would pull a swimmer, but I simply observe and document.
    2. The rules that I discussed with Diana are the same rules that I discussed with all the solo swims and relay swims that I go on. The exception to these rules is the stinger suit. This was a very key issue that I surveyed key marathon swimming representatives about. Many of these representatives are members of this forum. They all received the background information and my personal opinion of stinger suits. The survey was done in strict confidence, but I was very surprised that an overwhelming number of EC, CC and SBC swimmers voted that a stinger suit was acceptable. This issue came up not necessarily only for Diana, but also for Penny Palfrey. Therefore, the exception was told to Diana in person, on the telephone and via email.
    3. Diana competed on the professional marathon swimming circuit and attempted the EC in the 1970s, so the rules are not unknown to her.
    4. It was clearly noted in the Observer's Report what happened. I have copied a bit of information below. This information is what I know and what I observed. I was out in the Caribbean Sea doing my best as a volunteer.
    9:43 pm Sunday, August 19
    Diana Nyad is swimming at 9:43 pm on Sunday evening at 48 strokes per minute on the right side of her primary escort boat the Voyager as reports of squalls were first heard and a squall protocol was discussed. Nyad was to be placed alongside a inflatable rib with 2 shark divers, observer and a pilot in order for her to continue swimming. But this idea was nixed for safety reasons.
    Her course is due north.
    Distance traveled: 30.4 statute miles
    Destination: Key West in the state of Florida.
    11:43 pm Sunday, August 19
    Tremendous thunderstorms continue to be seen all around the boat in a 360° panorama. Voyager had 11 people onboard. Nyad continued to swim in the increasingly turbulent seas with streaks of lightening closing in, howling winds, with every next stroke.
    12:13 am Monday, August 20
    Diana Nyad stopped swimming at 12:13 am on Monday evening. In an emergency action, all the escort boats were asked to come in close. She was pulled inside the sinking Voyager in the middle of a squall after 31 hours 30 minutes in the water and the kayakers were asked to board the other escort boats. Due to the dangerous situation, Nyad and 3 kayakers were placed inside the escort boats to wait out the storms. Lightening strikes were seen all around the flotilla. The Voyager started to take on water and was sinking. Most of the crew, including Nyad, was evacuated to the other escort boats Quest and Sentimental Journey. A skeleton crew was left on the Voyager to attempt to keep the vessel afloat. The boats then spread out in formation but still within eye/radio contact as was the recommendation of the local mariners. Location is documented by GPS.
    Her course is due north.
    Distance traveled: 30.4 statute miles
    Destination: Key West in the state of Florida.
    1:43 am – 6:43 am Monday, August 20
    Diana Nyad is left on the escort boat Quest with other members of her escort crew to wait out the squall. The Voyager is being salvaged as the skeleton crew using pumps throughout the night. Boats have to continue to motor into the waves and cannot simply float in such turbulent seas. Therefore, all boats move increasingly away from the point where Nyad was evacuated. As the squall passes over the course of the early morning, the flotilla moves back to the GPS location noted at 12:13 am.
    7:33 am Monday, August 20
    Diana Nyad started swimming again at 7:33 am on Monday morning at 50 strokes per minute on the right side of her primary escort boat the Voyager.

    I can write more, but really Diana, her crew and myself were stuck in a squall in the Caribbean. I have been on hundreds of swims, but I have never experienced anything like this. Some reporters may think it was not anything (much or dangerous), but my opinion differs. Her crew was discussing rules, and I said the rules are secondary to safety. We pulled Diana not because she wanted to be pulled, but we overruled her wishes because we were concerned for her safety and the safety of others. Was this the issue discussed in the media? Heck, I don't think so but I was out in the middle of the Caribbean in a squall on a sinking boat in the middle of the night with 4 people (swimmer + 3 kayakers) in the water. Her crew knows exactly what was being discussed and the measures we took to make sure everyone was safe.

    I apologize for being curt to anyone, but I have had a lack of sleep over the last week and I can attempt to answer better later. Perhaps it is easier if a representative of this forum calls me and I can answer all their questions and then this person can inform everyone? I am just exhausted due to travel and the number of hours I have been awake.

    Thank you very much for your understanding.

    Also, the information above is the copyrighted content of this blog so it should not be cut-and-pasted to other publications without the permission of the owners of this blog.

    Steven Munatones
    www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com
    Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.

  • Thanks Steve, that clears it up for me.
    Very different to what I interpreted in the media.
    ie. 40-60hrs continuous swimming, versus 31.5hrs.
    Seems DN was up against all the elements, 31.5hrs travelled 30.4miles. Strong currents on top of everything else.
    Still a very impressive swim for anyone, especially at 60+years.
    The research on Jellies will be very interesting.
  • jgaljgal Member
    What would have happened if she got back in after this squall passed and swam all the way to Florida? Would we even be hearing about her time spent on the boat? Would that have been deemed a hush hush piece of information? Based on all the other discrepancies we've seen and discussed, I bet it would.

    Recently, a number of swimmers were pulled just shy of the French coast in the Channel due to fog...completely out of their control, but they didn't just float around off shore and wait to get back in and swim when it was safer. The swims had to be aborted, and it was by no fault of the swimmer. These swimmers, boat crew and observers stuck by the standards set by the sport of marathon swimming, even though I am certain it pained a good few of them.

    Once you start muddling what constitutes as Rule and what constitutes as 'hmm, well in X circumstances...' the swim enters controversial waters. Which is why, in ALL circumstances, it's just easier to follow the rules and respect the sport in which you are partaking.
  • MunatonesMunatones Charter Member
    jgal, my report was written (partly noted above) and based upon the actual situation. I did not change the information nor would have changed the information. The same thing happened to me last year when people did not believe my reports that stated that Penny Palfrey's crew did not slaughter sharks on her Cayman Islands swim of 2011. I was a volunteer in both these swims and it is unfortunate that some do not believe what I report.

    That being said, I am the first to admit that out in the Caribbean, at night, in a squall with 60 people in small boats, with 4 people in the water, strong winds and whitecaps, that the last thing that I was thinking about was what the land-based media was reporting or what others were thinking. Many people would have made different decisions, but at the end of the day her swim was an unsuccessful swim and she did not achieve her goals. I feel sorry for her and every other swimmer whose swim does not end in success.

    I do not believe any news report stated anything but an unsuccessful swim. These "what if..." discussions will continue but news reports stated it was an aborted swim.

    I went on public record (in Swimming World Magazine and elsewhere) in 2010 and 2011 that I did not think this swim was doable. But I would have greatly appreciated the effort if Penny or Diana would have proved me wrong. Perhaps someone else in the future will prove me wrong...and I will be among the first to congratulate them and write an article about their swim.

    CraigMoz, the information and research on the jellyfish was extremely interesting. The scientists rigged an array of cameras that captured images of marine life in visible and invisible light and the identification of marine life throughout the swim was fascinating. The protocols and products that will result from this research will help many ocean-goers who get stung in the future.

    Steven Munatones
    www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com
    Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 2012
    Steve, I've read through all your responses a couple times now, and I still see no mention of the boat-touching.

    To be clear: We're not talking about the 20+ hours she spent ON the boat during the storm, which theoretically is allowable under stage swim rules (even if said stage swim was being promoted as an "unassisted marathon swim"). We're talking about her physically hanging on the boat during feeds under sunny skies, which was captured on video for all to see.

    A few very simple questions:

    - Do you agree that intentional physical contact with a support vessel (IPCSV) merits disqualification under the rules of marathon swimming?

    - Was IPCSV one of the rules you discussed with Diana before the swim?

    - If so, was she understood to be adhering to this rule, or not?

    - If she was not following this rule, why wasn't this disclosed before, during, or after the swim?

    - As official observer, did you personally see Diana touch, hang, and push off the boat, as everyone who watched the video did?

    - If you did witness it, did you note it in your official report?
  • AquaRobAquaRob Humboldt Bay, CACharter Member
    edited August 2012
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    really? c'mon... one does not simply 'discover' 10 more hours of their swim. That's either a major pile of bullshit or a phenomenal math error
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    If there was a discussion of the rules prior to the swim, as I believe there was (I believe Steve M), then the minute she touched the boat the swim should have been stopped. (Side note: I hope that when I'm 62, I can swim straight for 31 hours.)

    I agree with @jgal that if DN had made it to FL, then we wouldn't have heard about the squall. We also might not have seen the youtube boat touch video.

    And I still go back to a simple fact. Don't call something a marathon swim if it doesn't follow commonly-held rules. I think Steve M said it best when he said "But on these long expedition swims..."

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited August 2012
    JenA wrote:
    The swim, media and reporting probably would have gone differently had Diana not had to court sponsorship so heavily.
    ...
    With such sponsorship, I would imagine she felt quite pulled between being "a swimmer" and being "a product".
    @PennyPalfrey had to raise a bunch of money & sponsorships for her Cuba-Florida attempt, and no doubt felt enormous pressure to be successful. Unlike Diana, she played by the rules and was straightforward and honest in her publicity. To me, that indicates the problem isn't the pressure of sponsorship; the problem is Diana, her team, and their tendency to elide facts in favor of a better "story."
    KarenT wrote:
    I agree that DN (and her team) haven't perhaps been as clear as they could have been about the details of the swim and the 'rules' they were following, but I also think that we shouldn't draw too straight a line between DN and the media output.
    I'm not inclined to give Diana a pass on the inaccurate media reporting - because Diana is herself a member of the media. She was a long-time reporter for NPR and other outlets. The incredible publicity surrounding her swims wouldn't be possible without her vast connections in the American media. She knows very well what is being reported on her behalf, and makes no effort to correct it.

    Earlier in this thread @heart said: "I surmise there's some serious history there that I'm too new to appreciate." And there is. She has a long history of making deceptive, misleading statements about her swims. As recently as last year, she was still claiming to be the first woman to have swum around Manhattan. This only stopped when NYC Swim started systematically requesting corrections from journalists she misled.

    No less a swimming eminence than Doc Counsilman once described her as a "phony-baloney promoter...a very mediocre swimmer with a very good publicist." That was in 1979! She's been rubbing people the wrong way for decades.
  • Over on ABC news, they had this quote. Still, a hell of a long way to swim at 62.

    "Nyad was not allowed to touch or be touched by any of the support crews or vessels."

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/diana-nyad-pulled-from-water/story?id=17046946#.UDa1aEQ1fuN
  • MunatonesMunatones Charter Member
    I believe an Observer's Report is a private document between a swimmer and the organization that governs the swim. I am not trying to hide anything, because I am not disagreeing with the statements that are made (e.g., touching boat, touching handler). I am simply telling you that when I was out there, I documented what I saw and experienced.

    And my major take-away from Diana's swim was different from others, including Diana. Everyone seems to talk about the definition of a marathon swim and did she touch the boat or be touched (yes), but I was on a boat for days and was very concerned about getting everyone out of the water and on the boats back to shore safely.

    Honestly, I had never been in a squall at night on a sinking boat with 4 people in the water 40 miles from shore with waves and winds. While everyone was concerned about rules and what was reported in the media, I was...scared and concerned about others and myself. I am not trying to elude anything or keep anything hush-hush, but I had no idea everyone was getting upset on land when I was on a small boat on a big storming sea.

    Yes, rules and media reporting are important, but frankly, I had other things on my mind.

    You are all correct. I saw what I saw and it was no different from what you saw on videos. But that information was documented, not hidden.

    Steven Munatones
    www.worldopenwaterswimmingassociation.com
    Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A.

  • smithsmith Huntsville, AlabamaMember
    edited August 2012
    Regarding Evmo's comment:

    I remember when Counsilman said that (I'm an older fellow in my late 40s). He also went on to say something along the lines that any swimmer can catch a current, and and a "real" marathon swimmer like John Kinsella could do what Nyad does with one hand tied behind his back.

    I remember being pretty surprised when Counsilman said that because he was a prototypical Midwesterner who was prone to understatement instead of hyperbole. In context, however, Counsilman swam the English Channel at age 58 while suffering from the onset of Parkinson's Disease. Nyad failed at the Channel 3 times. Truth be told, she failed under much different conditions, but a swimmer like Des Renford never failed at a Channel attempt, and many of those crossings were done under the worst possible conditions. He didn't really start swimming until around the age of 40.

    In the end, I think the long standing issue with Diana Nyad is that she's a very accomplished athlete who has done some great things, but she spends so much time selling herself to the public that it detracts from other swimmers who are far more accomplished. In sports history, with the exception of someone like Muhammad Ali, the best don't really have to tell you how great they are because they already know it.

    Keep moving forward.

  • @Munatones Wondering when the DNOWS is going to report on the facts of the DN swim.

    Because this is just comical. Following extracts from DN's blog.

    "The disappointment of exiting the ocean yesterday, after 42 hours of once again attempting to swim from Cuba to Florida, weighs heavily on my heart.

    The first go was 1978, as a prime-time athlete, age 28. Unpredicted fierce winds whipped up and blew us west.

    Perhaps ironically, that time spent in water was 41 hours, 49 minutes. This time it was 51 hours 5 minutes."

    So it was 42 hours oh no it was 51hr 5mins.
    Oh at last the record is set straight.

    "Open Water Swimming authority Steve Munatones has issued a correction on Diana's total number of hours swum in her Cuba attempt.

    Diana spent a total of 51hrs, 5mins in her Herculean effort to survive deadly jellyfish, large sharks, life-threatening storms.

    At age 62, this was the longest time she ever spent in the water."

    Mmmmm seems to be a minor detail missing, like Diana spent 31.5hrs swimming, then was pulled out for safety, then continued to swim after X hours, for another X hours.

    You can only laugh really. Pity cause it was still a good effort.
  • lcolettelcolette Charter Member
    edited August 2012
    The truth is over-rated apparently.

    You know it was a good swim on it's own merits as were the attempts last year. Then the drama comes....

    The over dramatization and skewed truths are what make it even more of a circus. They are what I object to personally.

    The tweet she sent out that said the suit was 'Approved by the sport of ocean swimming' was just absurd. There is no organization. (Aug 2nd) even though the tweet appears to have been removed.

    When in doubt, she just makes stuff up and goes with it. That kind of behavior is damaging to our sport.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    Munatones wrote:
    And my major take-away from Diana's swim was different from others, including Diana. Everyone seems to talk about the definition of a marathon swim and did she touch the boat or be touched (yes), but I was on a boat for days and was very concerned about getting everyone out of the water and on the boats back to shore safely.

    Honestly, I had never been in a squall at night on a sinking boat with 4 people in the water 40 miles from shore with waves and winds. While everyone was concerned about rules and what was reported in the media, I was...scared and concerned about others and myself. I am not trying to elude anything or keep anything hush-hush, but I had no idea everyone was getting upset on land when I was on a small boat on a big storming sea.

    Steve, I think we're all with you, and thank God nothing horrible happened like that boat going down with all hands, or any hands. In my mind Safety First. And if ever I do some huge swim like a channel crossing, I will ensure I have both an observer and coach who also put Safety First.

    But if she's going to advertise that she's swimming according to marathon swim rules, then squall or no squall, the minute she touched the boat, swim should have been over. When she got out of the water, whether to change into a new suit or she was forced out (I think, rightfully) because of the weather, then the swim was over.

    If she continued (as she did), then immediately all media avenues under her and/or her team's control should have reported that her swim was now a stage swim or adventure swim, and should have clearly reported what she'd done.

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Scottsdale, AZCharter Member
    Quotes are from @Munatones
    For Penny, she has arguably the greatest escort kayaker/paddler alive (Jeff Kozlovich of Hawaii) at her side. Jeff, an experienced lifeguard from Oahu and an outstanding endurance athlete in his own right, can paddle diligently for days non-stop and was very willing to paddle for Penny for however long it takes. But Jeff is unique and special. Diana does not have a Jeff, but she did have other paddlers who are good in 2-3 hour shifts.
    I'm amazed that Diana Nyad didn't have the resources to find competent paddlers. I wish she would have called me. I could have hooked her up with at least 2-3 experienced paddlers who could take 8-10 hour shifts.

    A paddler whose limit is 2-3 hours doesn't sound very seaworthy. No wonder there was so much chaos when the conditions got rough.
    I believe an Observer's Report is a private document between a swimmer and the organization that governs the swim.
    Which organization is that?
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    WaterGirl wrote:
    Which organization is that?

    The sport of ocean swimming, I believe. She said that was who approved her stinger suit.
  • Some swims can be done in Speedos just as some sprint runners wear standard shorts and others wear lycra. But lets remember that Captain Scott chose different clothes because his event required it. So it is with some swims. The development of swims bigger than the Channel allow the swimmer to choose what additional things are required for extreme swims to be undertaken, otherwise such swims remain impossible. I am suggesting that 100 mile swims probably rank as the greatest distance possible for a traditional swimmer in 75 degrees (and certainly in 63 degree water, impossible). But does that mean we should not be looking at ways to swim 2000 miles and deciding for ourselves what we need to make such a journey? The difficult question is whether we still call such journeys, a swim.
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    Ultimately, it was a large tropical storm that finally forced a weakened Nyad from the water.

    I thought it was hypothermia and the jellies? I didn't think the tropical storm went through there until last weekend?
  • rosemarymintrosemarymint Charleston, SCCharter Member
    The tropical storm had nothing to do with the weather conditions that night in the water. It was still hundreds of miles away. There was a series of serious squalls over the water that night, but they were unrelated to any tropical cyclone system.

    Blame the reporter or Nyad's camp for that one. Both are completely possible.
  • AquaRobAquaRob Humboldt Bay, CACharter Member
    edited August 2012
    while we're picking apart inconsistent media coverage that continues to spiral numbers upwards...
    She was pulled out of the water on Aug. 21, on the eve of her 63rd birthday, 70.1 miles and 52 hours into the swim. It was her fourth attempt in nearly 30 years and her farthest yet of the 103-mile goal.

    http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Diana-Nyad-Open-Ocean-Swim-Florida-Straits-Cuba-Key-West-Success-Reaction-167781285.html

    Steve's original report to us was of a 31 mile swim and a 19 mile swim for a total of about 50 miles, where'd the other 20 come from? Were they found with the extra 10 hours of swimming? Also news outlets continue to skip mention of the extended break on the boat... it's kind of a major piece of information in this kind of swim, just sayin'
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    I am so over her now...

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    edited September 2012
    Sorry for breathing life into this thread, but I've been away and haven't had a chance to respond to a couple of comments made. So in an attempt to restore my good name (such as it is) and follow up on some things, here are a few observations, comments and responses.

    First let me say that Diana is a terrific athlete and marathon swimmer who left the sport for 30 years and came back. I greatly admire her for that. However, I think her approach to the sport is different than the prevailing philosophy in the marathon swimming world. (Keep in mind I am very new to the sport) Diana is a promoter of herself first and foremost, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Just different. As I’ve said before, it’s when she puts herself out there as the representative of the marathon swimming community that I have problems. Nevertheless, that should not diminish her achievements. I don’t care if she didn’t mention previous swimmers in her comments to the press. It was her swim. However, what I did mind were the statements she made to the press taking some credit for Penny’s attempt at the time, saying that she was sure that Penny learned from DN’s prior swims. That was Penny's time and she just should not have commented about Penny's swim before it was over. It just made her look like she just couldn't step out of the spotlight for a moment. Frankly, I don't think she could. I can only imagine what she would have said to the press if Penny had succeeded.

    I have previously stated in another thread concerning Penny’s swim that I consider jelly suits a safety device. Safety has always been a focus of mine since I started guarding on the Atlantic Ocean at the age of 16. Nevertheless, if people choose to engage in activities in a way that increases the risk of harm they are free to do so. I know i have, but I have never recommended it to others. Moreover, If I can spread something on myself to protect me from jellies what is the difference if I wear a suit? Frankly, as far as I can tell jelly suits slow you down, can lead to abrasion issues and offer no floatation advantage, Moving on.

    Let me address the question of ever changing rules during a swim. Frankly I don't care so long as it is accurately recorded and reported. Based on my experience with the press in other matters you can count on the media screwing up the story. Good reporters get most of the story right and then either get the facts wrong or embellish/twist the facts to make it a more interesting story for the readers. You have to be realistic, great reporters do not report on personal interest and sporting events. They report on things that are truly important in the world. If a swimmer wants to embrace the "getting across any way I can" so be it. But as far as I know this is not considered a traditional marathon swim. Constantly changing rules during a swim essentially guarantees that the press will get it wrong and the public will believe things which are simply not true. DN's swim is a perfect example. That in itself is a very good reason to dismiss that kind of swim. If I understand it correctly, all she did was get in the boat during a squall which then lost all modern navigational devices and then got back into the water after the squall passed (and it blew her 3 miles toward her goal. I'm not saying that happened - Steven said it didn't and I believe him of course - but without a report from an observer we would never know.)

  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    edited September 2012
    Which brings me to what I consider one of the more important issues that has been raised and will crop up again. It is the question of the designated observer also acting as a member of the media reporting on the event. My thoughts on this are completely independent of Steven's actions in this matter.

    Steven raised the issue of people not believing him about the alleged acts on Penny Palfrey's swim. It seemed to me that it wasn't that many people didn't believe him, but that where he was and what he reported made it clear that IF sharks were killed they were done where he couldn't have seen them - away from the boat. His factual reporting was very clear that it was based on what he saw. But the reporting of the story is a whole different issue. In my mind he clearly took up the banner in defense of the individual in question. However, an observer should be an impartial and detached from the interests and pressures that are the focus of the swim and it's success. If his factual statements had been accurately reported by media unconnected to the the swim then his statements would have more credence. I'm not saying Steven said anything that was not 100% true to any member of the press or on his website, but there is at least an appearance of a conflict between his duties as a member of the media and his role as the official(?) observer.

    Steven said that an observer's report is a private document between the swimmer and the sanctioning body. If so which sanctioning body was DN's observer's report submitted to? If it wasn't then as far as I am concerned with all due respect there was no observer. If the report is released then there is the transparency that DN declared she wanted. Without an official report people might just as well assumed she was towed by the boat, or in the alternative draw up a dozen possible scenarios by piecing together the erroneous and conflicting news reports.. Or worse, the story of the swim is constructed from the quotes of people involved in the endeavor such as the absurd one made by DN's operations manager. In this case it seems it is all of the above.

    Which brings me to the circus. I believe Steven is right in supporting redundant safety boats and personnel in a swim of this magnitude, but you don't go from 2 or 3 boats with divers and multiple paddlers to 5 boats with 60 people without the circus coming to town. One could argue that increasing the size of the flotilla brings its own set of problems. What would have happened if the research boat went down, although it wouldn't surprise me if it was the most seaworthy. However, I think once you start including people who are not directly needed for the success of the swim you are just opening the door for additional problems. Marine research is great, and I find it very interesting but it could have been done at anytime in many places. In fact it would have been more helpful if it was done before the swim. How would they respond if we wanted to tag along on one of their research trips with a swimmer in the water. I'm sure they'd politely decline because we would just get in the way and put the success of their research at risk. Don't get me wrong, this was not the first circus in a marathon swim, but it was a circus nevertheless.

    Since I have don't know facts I will not comment on the events that led up to the near sinking of the lead support vessel. In fact as best as I can tell there aren't any rumors either. However, it sounded like something in addition to the squalls. As for encountering unsettled weather in peak hurricane season (which starts in August), this should not have been a surprise to those with maritime experience. The same thing happened to me (thankfully it was during the day) while crewing on a 75' schooner in the South Pacifc. I signed on with the boat in Fiji (I had absolutely NO experience) and sailed to the Solomon Islands, a 900 mile trip where we did not see land for 6 days. This was at the start of the cyclone season. I learned a lot of things on that trip, some of which it would have been helpful if someone had given me a heads up on. Running into a squall under full sail may not have been as exciting as it would have been if happened during the night, but it was exciting enough.

    Which brings me to my dingy joke. My apologies if I was not clear that it was a joke. My first thought was to make reference to a truck mounted on a boat. However, I thought the vision of someone crossing from Cuba to Florida in a dingy, in what is generally considered peak hurricane season, was absurd enough. My statement that I doubted that the swim was halted for the safety of the crew arose from a story that made it looked like DN got out of the water for their safety - thus painting her as the selfless hero. I know it was just a news story, but I thought it reeked anyway. Clearly the swimmer's safety would be considered at risk long before the crew's, or it at least should be.

    So what would I have said if DN had successfully completed the swim? Congratulations. It would have been an amazing accomplishment. I know many of my marathon swimming friends strongly disagree with me on this, and there is a good chance I am wrong. However, I would do so only if there were neutral observers on board watching her day and night, AND the report was made public. Otherwise I would consider it a stunt along the lines of what Houdini did. A simply amazing accomplishment that required incredible preparation, courage, conviction and fortitude, but a stunt nevertheless. Nothing wrong with that. Stunts made Houdini very famous.

    And by the way, DN has changed one thing for me, and that is I have taken to calling myself a channel swimmer instead of a marathon swimmer. I have swam a channel, and I swim under channel rules. Nevertheless, people still have a hard time understanding how I do it without holding on to the boat. DN held on to a boat doesn't everyone? They can't understand why I don't.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Is that your Fundoshi or are. You just happy to see me?
  • oxooxo Guest
    edited February 2013
    who is we ?
  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    For those who would like to see Doc Councilman's quote: By taking on the Channel, Counsilman also hoped to help plot a truer course for a sport that he feels is being exploited by "phony-baloney promoters." He cites the example of Diana Nyad, "a very mediocre swimmer with a very good publicist. Most of her swims have been failures. For instance, she has attempted to swim the Channel three times and has never finished. Still, when she gets into the tide off the Bahamas and rides it to Florida, a swim that truly great marathoners like John Kinsella could do with one arm tied behind their backs, she gets all the attention. The result is that more deserving marathoners like Loreen Pass-field, the current women's world champion, go begging."

    For the entire article: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1095399/1/index.htm
    The above quote is on page 2 of the article
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Scottsdale, AZCharter Member
    I don't think anyone would raise an eyebrow about "directional streamers" if it hadn't been for the fact that Diana Nyad introduced the idea as part of her media circus.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited February 2013
    I'd put it somewhat differently:

    I don't think most people would have known about streamers if not for Diana Nyad.

    For example, it only recently came to my (and others') attention that some swimmers have been using streamers on Tsugaru swims. Apparently it is tradition there -- and I think that's fine -- but eyebrows were raised.

    A swim aid is a swim aid.
  • KNicholasKNicholas ArizonaCharter Member
    I'm not a fan of directional streamers. Black tiled line on the bottom of the pool - sure.
  • evmo wrote:
    I'd put it somewhat differently:
    A swim aid is a swim aid.
    KNicholas wrote:
    I'm not a fan of directional streamers. Black tiled line on the bottom of the pool - sure.

    I'm very new to the community, so please pardon my naivete. The question below is meant straightforwardly, not in an argumentative tone.

    In what way is a directional streamer a swim aid? It doesn't touch the swimmer, isn't supportive, doesn't provide warmth, flotation, or propulsion. I've read the comments above about it possibly impacting the flow of water and I'm deeply skeptical. Besides, if it were found to do so, couldn't it be simply submerged further so it didn't?

    This next part is meant as a gentle criticism: The Amish have splintered in part because of arguments over various relatively simple technologies that to an outsider seem like a distinction without a difference. Two sects in the area where I grew up are split because of a particular type of block and tackle that can be used to raise hay bales into a barn. The result is that people who could probably gain a lot by working together. . . don't. That's too bad, not helpful to anyone.

    I hope that the disagreements of the marathon swim community don't splinter its already-small-but-critical mass.

    Jon
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    I'm still on the fence about this directional streamer thing. I guess I don't see a major issue one way or another. Sure, it's a swim aid, but so is an escort boat, lanolin, modern Carbo mixes, swim caps, and modern swimming suits. I don't think it makes a swim significantly easier when using one. I have issues swimming in a straight line myself, especially at night, and I can actually see some major safety improvements in using one. That being said, I sorta like it when I go off course- it keeps me and my crew on our toes. :-) I guess that means I agree with @jonML and that this debate almost feels like we're splitting hairs on a small and pretty insignificant detail of marathon swimming. If someone wants an artificial black line so they don't run into the boat when they're 15 hours in and delirious, what's the harm?
  • The problem just grows as more people come up with some very clever ideas that they think will help their swim. Some will become accepted norms.

    I would love to be able to swim straight for miles and wonder when someone will invent a head up display to go inside my goggles. Until then I have a GPS watch, locator beacon, flares, tow float, radio, packed lunch, cuddly toy ....... You think I am joking on the cuddly toy. (Facebook Deepest Bear).

    Maybe one day it will be acceptable to swim the channel with just a rowing boat and compass.
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    edited February 2013
    Maybe one day it will be acceptable to swim the channel with just a rowing boat and compass.

    ...in a wool suit, doing breast stroke, with brandy and bananas for feeds?
  • Yep, and if you were good enough you would be the 11th , not the 1500th.
  • Haydn wrote:
    I would love to be able to swim straight for miles and wonder when someone will invent a head up display to go inside my goggles.

    Google has a prototype pair of glasses that would probably do this. Goggles can't be far behind. :) See http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/gadgetbox/google-shows-prototype-augmented-reality-glasses-653835

    By the way, my father-in-law was on the team that created the first heads-up displays for fighter jets, which in turn became the liquid crystal display. When I was doing my doctorate in education, I tried to read one of his chemistry papers, thinking it would give us something to talk about. In the abstract, I understood the words "of" and "the"; I gave up after that.

    Jon

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    edited February 2013
    @Haydn, I brought up the HUD inside my goggles before. I imagine an arrow in my goggles. As long as I always swim toward the next buoy, the arrow points straight. ;)

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited February 2013
    Pilots or experienced Channel crew will tell you that in the latter part of a swim, swimming south-east on the ebb tide, the swimmer may inadvertently catch a glimpse of the Cap. Let's assume this occurs at 12+ hours. At some point thereafter quite a lot of swimmers will, without any forethought, take off for France. After all they can see it's there, not where the boat is going. They swim directly to what they can see, Wissant, Sandettie, Blanc Nez.

    Now not everyone does it. The fastest swimmers are unlikely to do it because they are in the water less time. It seems in fact to be a subconscious act and is likely to be directly related to swim time or tiredness. The pilot and crew then have to corral the swimmer, not always easy to bring them back to the boat, when they are swimming directly away from the boat at 90 degrees, in a reverie, and with ear plugs. I've been in the situation as crew where this has happened me ( a couple of times), and the most important part is, the pilot couldn't change course to go after the swimmer without risking significant extra time on the swim. In one case where the swimmer was maybe 50 metres out from boat and still going, the pilot said that if he changed course to go after the swimmer, we'd get swept around Blanc Nez, and were looking at 45 minutes to 90 minutes extra swim time.

    In this situation a directional streamer would be huge aid to pilot and crew, and thereby swimmer of course and could reduce swim time, or to be more precise, would reduce the possibility of incurring extra swim time.

    It wouldn't guarantee the situation wouldn't arise but while many of us have I'm sure, swum smack into the end of the lane on a 20k pool session through forgetting to stop, suddenly swimming sideways into the lane line is not something I've yet done anyway.

    The directional streamer would visually reinforce the swimmer's goal to maintain direction. Remember that this occurrence seems related to extended swim time, so its utility is therefore greater in long swims such as Diana Nyad's.

    Edit; typos

    loneswimmer.com

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited February 2013
    JonML wrote:
    In what way is a directional streamer a swim aid? It doesn't touch the swimmer, isn't supportive, doesn't provide warmth, flotation, or propulsion. I've read the comments above about it possibly impacting the flow of water and I'm deeply skeptical. Besides, if it were found to do so, couldn't it be simply submerged further so it didn't?
    There's a clichéd saying about open water swimming: "No Lanelines, No Walls." With a streamer, there are, effectively, lanelines. A more precise analogy would be: the black line on the bottom of the pool.

    One of the built-in challenges of open water swimming is navigation. Or, in the case of an escorted solo swim: maintaining a consistent distance from the escort vessel. A streamer negates this challenge; therefore it's a swim aid.

    I am perfectly capable of swimming straight in flat open water. On my Santa Barbara Channel swim last year, I was being constantly buffeted by waves and chop, and was disoriented by the darkness. It was a constant struggle to maintain a consistent distance from my pilot boat, and I ended up swimming significantly further than the official distance. A streamer would have been incredibly beneficial, and would have saved a lot of time and frustration for both swimmer and crew. But streamers are prohibited by the SBCSA, and I wouldn't feel right about using one, anyway.

    Then there's the issue of regulation. If we allowed streamers, would we then need to define limits on their size? Current streamers may not provide much draft, but what if someone wants to use a bigger "streamer" that effectively "moves water" in front of the swimmer?

    I have no problem with Tsugaru swimmers using a streamer, as a "local exception" to the rules (similar to neoprene caps on Farallon swims). They can decide how to deal with the "streamer size/dimensions" issue... or not.

    Hell, if the first Cuba-Florida swimmer uses a streamer, then I suppose that's their prerogative as the "first." There's no sanctioning body to say otherwise.

    But we should be under no illusions that streamers aren't a swim aid. They are a substantial aid.
  • Excellent highlight on the skill
    Of the pilot too. There are sufficient swim aides already. We don't want any more.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited May 2013
    @KarenT recently gave a fascinating academic talk covering this debate and the Brittany King debate. It has been preserved for posterity on an mp3 podcast:

    http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/sociology/staff/academicstaff/throsby/homepage/channelswimmer/research/podcasts/ws650084.mp3

    The talk is called: ""We cannot let up until our sport is purified": marathon swimming and the troubled boundaries of authenticity"

    Well worth everyone's time to listen. Great work, Karen!
This discussion has been closed.