110 miles, 53 hours: Questions for Diana Nyad

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  • edited September 2013
    evmo wrote:
    How Cook swims are classified for Cook swim records is the decision of the Cook swim sanctioning body, i.e., Phil Rush.

    If a Cook swimmer set a speed record that included a shark break, I suppose Phil has the prerogative to recognize it, but I hope he wouldn't.

    If a Cook swimmer did a 4-way crossing and claimed a world distance or time-in-water record, but the swim included a shark break, then I'd say no way, no how, should that swim be considered for an unassisted world record (non-geographically specific).

    Thanks evmo for clarifying. Even though the swims are similar in distance and time, I think it's fair to say the EC rules are not imposed on the Cook swim and its sanctioning body, Phil Rush. Given the 110 mile distance and 53 hours swimming in jelly invested waters, why is the EC community imposing rules for swims ranging from 10-15 hours, 22-26miles in waters that are not considered as risky or dangerous sea creature-wise? I'm curious how Phil Rush broke away from the EC to keep the Cook swim fair and safe, but is still recognized and respected by the EC community (or maybe not). Must of been a political mountain for Phil to climb at that time, but he must have believed it was necessary to preserve the Cook swim and swimmer safety.

    The chatter on this forum has quieted over speed, distance and favorable currents - and moved on to the suit, mask and handlers or "assistance". There looks to be enough supporting info from independent experts (and not those who recently tapped into their inner oceanographer), Diana's swim speed and distance are mostly no longer in question. Are you (and others on this forum) now accepting the distance and swim speed in both favorable and unfavorable currents - in other words Diana was not towed or ferried?

    Stuart

  • I think the issue now should be whether this is an "assisted" ( YES!!) or unassisted ( NO)
    swim. While I agree there are soooo many things that do not add up, I won't go into them here, picking at them is not the way to help the general public, the news or even those who might be interested in OWS understand and appreciate our sport.
    I feel it must be made clear that the swim was NOT the first, and was ABSOLUTELY an ASSISTED swim.
    We must also make clear the reasons for calling it ASSISTED, to whatever nebulous ratifying body there is for this swim.
    It is important as a COMMUNITY that we speak up. If we do not, then future swims, whether to/from Cuba or any other as yet unaccomplished swim can be called into question.

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • edited September 2013
    Interesting article from Boca Ranton News, May 14 1997 reporting controversy over Susan Maroney's Cuba-Florida swim. Apparently Susan didn't immediately disclose the use of a protective shark cage until sometime after swim was complete, held shark cage when going to restroom, alteration using finer mesh to draft, etc. Sue Swam 110 miles, 24.5 hours. Apparently fast currents pushing swimmers up to 6mph are not uncommon through the Florida straight. Diana Nyad was quoted supporting/defending Sue's swim as well. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1291&dat=19970514&id=QEFUAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Uo4DAAAAIBAJ&pg=3717,3756021

    Stuart

  • Niek wrote:
    gregoc wrote:
    Niek wrote:
    Ok Diana if we agree to that it is Susie Maroney who has the privilege.
    No, the late Walter Poenisch should have the privilege.
    I stand corrected.
    More info about that swim http://www.swim4peace.com

    This just keeps getting more and more fascinating.

  • sylmarinosylmarino San FranciscoMember
    edited September 2013
    From http://www.swim4peace.com
    "Walter had to defend his swim by filing a lawsuit against marathon swimmer Diana Nyad and others who called Poenisch a ‘cheat’ and a ‘fraud’. The lawsuit settlement out of court was over non-compliance with a Florida Statute not by Poenisch’s desire. He won a small monetary sum in 1983 and letters of retractions from Ms. Nyad, the International Swimming Hall of Fame and a public relations agent."

    http://www.nbc4i.com/story/23336843/widow-of-columbus-man-says-he-completed-cuba-to-florida-swim-first
    "As far as I'm concerned, she helped destroy my husband's life," Faye said through tears.


    Pondering about tigers and stripes.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    @sylmarino
    There is a ton of fascinating history here. After all the superficial network news coverage, one wishes a weekly or monthly (New Yorker mag?) would get in on the action...
  • smithsmith Huntsville, ALMember
    While refraining from using Doc Counsilman's quote from the late 1970s, is there now a definite consensus that Nyad caught a current on this swim, or do questions still exist regarding the abrupt and prolonged speed increase?

    Keep moving forward.

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    It is worth (re)listening to @KarenT's talk.

    @smith, I can buy that she got a great current. But that 7.5 hour of no feeding or water on night two, and the fact that now that post in which her crew talks about the lack of feeding is changing, well, I remain skeptical. I'm trying to think of other ultra-endurance sports in which the facts change about the event a week or more after, and spectators or fans or other athletes are supposed to accept it. I can't.

    Still, from the very beginning, I've been ready to accept her swim as assisted (streamer, suit). Having crew of hers like Chris here helps.

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

  • smithsmith Huntsville, ALMember
    No matter how you analyze, fillet, slice, dice, or sautee it, her swim is assisted. IronMike: The 7.5 hours were apparently written off as a misquote during the conference call, so that's most likely a non-issue now. If previous indiscretions or shenanigans don't surface, benefit of the doubt should be given. Niek: Great points.

    Keep moving forward.

  • So somebody go do it without a suit, a streamer, shark divers, jelly fish clearers, a perfect current, and with 2 official observers you don't know and then you will be first.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    edited September 2013
    @Jimeboy, the next person only has to do it without one of those things (except the 2 observers) and they will have bested her "record." ;)

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

  • Niek
    Are there rules on late and not late regarding "complete notes" ?
    The data collected is extremely complete and as specific questions come out I am sure that answers will be forthright.
    Lack of enthusiasm when we caught the Northerly moving current? The Team was aware that our movements were effected by "conditions" of current , wave, wind and of course a constant swim on Dianas part.
    Most team members I observed were very tired doing their specific jobs with short sleep opportunities. For instance, aboard the Phat Cat there was myself Capt John, and Captain Scott we tried to stick to a 3 hour on 3 hour off duty at the helm and running of the crew and vessel. The kayakers had a duty set up at 1 1/2 hrs in the kayak and 3 hours off. This was our schedule. The other vessels each had their own schedules for instance there were 4 shark divers , they were tired no doubt. Steering the Voyager in it self was demanding in holding a course with Diana Nyad off the starboard side any where from 10 ft to 60 ft away on their course. There was rotation of helmsman constantly on all vessels.
    Real excitement came when we saw the lights of Key West, and all were tired , sleepy and performing their duties as a team to the end, Diana did what she said she would do and could do as long as we did our duties.
    At six am on the final morning when fishing boats started heading off shore , communications with cruise ships came into play as to their course of entry into SE ship channel, we all knew that we had succeeded with only 5 miles to go. We still had to get those 5 miles done Diana led the way and team support was there throughout till the end.
  • More interesting history regarding Walter Poenisch - Back in the day (1978), and 3 days following his swim, Walter was angered by critics who questioned his claim due to the lack of any body of official observers. The swim was observed by his wife and the crew of the escort boat. His use of fins, snorkel, being towed in a shark cage behind an escort boat, and taking several breaks out of the water were also cited.

    Diana Nyad's first attempt at the swim was scheduled for 10 days following the swim by Poenisch. Despite being called a gimmick, a cheat, and "not a legal marathon swimmer" by 28 year old Diana Nyad, Walter stated that his next maritime activity would be to help authenticate Diana's swim. "Walter Poenisch is going to see what he can do to help some other people now...I couldn't get nobody to listen to me. With Diana Nyad I'm going to take myself and two nice good reporters along to help her...we'll definitely be there."

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=950&dat=19780714&id=VWFQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=kVgDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2916,3258841

    http://www.nytimes.com/2000/06/18/sports/walter-poenisch-86-swimmer-who-covered-record-distances.html
  • rckayakrckayak Westchester County, N.Y.Member
    edited September 2013
    Niek wrote:
    What is strange besides the 7.5 hours no feeding is the lack off enthusiasm in the blog when they caught the north current. One expects some (bragging) notes about that during the swim.
    What is truly bad are
    1/ the late and incomplete notes of the observers, .......
    May I add, John Bartlett did not mention in any detail the purported and significant northbound eddy in his video explaining the charting her course.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ygvDnljbnts

    Bartlett did mention the difficulty Nyad had crossing a strong West-to-East (slicing on a bias) current and then indicates that the currents get more favorable for her on the north side of that. Anyone can listen and reach their own conclusion. Was it a regularly (monthly) occurring eddy that local mariners know about? Was it a very rare once or twice a year eddy? Was it a miracle? Or, perhaps is it all make believe? I leave it to you all to consider and decide.
  • I agree about the lack of enthusiam about the fast current, Niek. Whenever I do an open water swim, the first thing I want to do is talk about conditions. Great, awful, whatever. It is part of what makes open water marathon swimming so much fun.
  • b9chrisb9chris Member
    edited September 2013
    Niek wrote:
    The only observer notes we got are from Janet Hinkle
    Both observers notes are posted as of yesterday: Roger McVeigh Janet Hinkle.

    Navigator's Log is also posted: John Bartlett - which says much about the favorable current. I added a note in the comments on that page with a link to the Navy current map from that date range - which was originally posted here in this forum. Their measurements match the print out John had from 8/30 - both showing a clear northeast push right from the Cuba shore to midway.
    rckayak wrote:
    John Bartlett did not mention in any detail the purported and significant northbound eddy in his video explaining the charting her course.
    He says "The boat's been travelling pretty much sideways" pointing the pencil northwest to indicate the way the boat is facing, moving the pencil northeast to illustrate the impact of the east/northeast current. He then says "for the last few hours we've been able to steer the boat around closer to the direction of the current, because the current's become more favorable." He then turns the pencil north. So in fact I'd say the whole video is about a northerly current.
  • rckayakrckayak Westchester County, N.Y.Member
    b9chris: Any chance of explaining how Roger Mcveigh, the observer, for the notes covering his shifts offers significantly more detail than John Bartlett does in his log. Yes, I see John's charts and plotting but Roger is offering significantly more detail. Also, during the conference call John mentioned having plotted out the course prior to arriving in Cuba and then making changes along the way (either northbound or as he traveled south). Any chance the two documents could be presented to confirm that course changes were made along the swim? Last item, there was mention of a report of some sort from W. Frank Bohlen in CT that informed you of an eddy or favorable current. Is that available for review? I do greatly appreciate that these documents are being made available. Thank you in advance.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    edited September 2013
    How is it I am just learning about her TED Talk?

    http://www.ted.com/talks/diana_nyad_extreme_swimming_with_the_world_s_most_dangerous_jellyfish.html

    At around 10:48 she defines staged vs non-stop swims.

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

  • Walter Poenisch, Cuba-Florida swim, 128.8 miles, 33.5 hours - averaging 3.84 mph, 00:58 100m pace. Susan Maroney, Cuba-Florida swim, 110 miles 24.5 hours - averaging 4.5 mph, 00:51 100m pace. Both Walter and Susan swimming in protective shark cage. Did they both have favorable currents the entire distance 128.8 and 110 respectively, possibly drafting off of the front mesh of shark cage - or combination of both?
  • Peonisch used fins and a snorkle didn't he? I think that puts him a completely different category. Like no category imho. I would have argued that he didn't deserve the recognition either. It would be like somebody doing a triathlon on a moped.
  • Poenisch is an assisted swim, just like Marroney and DN.

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    suziedods wrote:
    Poenisch is an assisted swim, just like Marroney and DN.

    And Poenisch's shark cage was self-made out of chicken wire, so I'm not thinking he got much benefit from it, either re: current or protection!

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

  • I didn't know Walter used fins/snorkel, yup whole different category of "assist" and explains the speed. Was that DN's beef with Walter - fins/snorkel? Not sure how Suzan avg 4.5 mph, she use fins too? @suziedods. All long distance swims are assisted swims.
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    All long distance swims are assisted swims.

    Assisted/Non-Assisted has a pretty specific definition in marathon swimming. Yes, all marathon swims have support in terms of carrying and administering feeds. But Non-assisted means a traditional costume, not aiding buoyancy, speed, or heat retention, and not being touched during your feeding, among other things.
  • I wouldn't say what Poenish did is anywhere near what Maroney and Nyad did. Fins and a snorkel is not fair.
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    Jimeboy wrote:
    I wouldn't say what Poenish did is anywhere near what Maroney and Nyad did. Fins and a snorkel is not fair.

    Just playing Devil's Advocate here, but what is fair and who determines what is fair? According to DN it the the first person to complete the swim and that was Walter.

  • edited September 2013
    timsroot wrote:
    All long distance swims are assisted swims.
    Assisted/Non-Assisted has a pretty specific definition in marathon swimming. Yes, all marathon swims have support in terms of carrying and administering feeds. But Non-assisted means a traditional costume, not aiding buoyancy, speed, or heat retention, and not being touched during your feeding, among other things.
    Thanks timsroot. You missed one big assist, navigation by expert Pilot/Navigator - means the difference between success and DNF. Touching seems a bit subjective, but is allowed in Cook swim when sharks present. EC community doesnt seem to have an issue with added "assist" for safety in Cook swim. Are all swims, all channels, in all seas governed by EC rules or final approval?

    DN's suit looks more like a rash guard providing neither buoyancy nor reduced drag - looked more like adding drag. The mask? Neither provide buoyancy nor locomotion and both seem very unpleasant to swim in not to mention the energy requied to put a rash guard like suit on in middle of ocean. So is this the assist that renders DN's swim null/void or invalid by EC protocol?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    @StuartMcDougal. Please read the thread from beginning to end before posting again. Thanks.
    So is [the suit] the assist that renders DN's swim null/void or invalid by EC protocol?
    No.
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    @StuartMcDougal - I agree that Nyad's suit probably hindered her strike as much as it aided her against the jellies, but most sanctioning organizations clearly define their rules as far as swimming costume. Most swims also aid from navigation of the boat, that's even whether you are wearing a wetsuit or not.

    I suppose touching can be a bit subjective, but if someone is helping you change suits, that is pretty clearly assistance by most definitions.
  • So wait a minute. In the Cook swim you can get out of the water for sharks?....lol....you got to be kidding me? And you guys accept that as an unassisted swim but Nyad wearing a jelly suit is no good? Somethings smells fishy around here. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You really need to get your act together. EC rules or it's assisted. Even I can understand that.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    @Jimeboy, what you're missing is the Cook swim is done under Cook Strait rules, not EC rules.

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

  • edited September 2013
    IronMike wrote:
    @Jimeboy, what you're missing is the Cook swim is done under Cook Strait rules, not EC rules.
    Correct, but why is EC community imposing EC rules on DN's swim and not on a Cook swim? Why isn't the Cook Straight rules chiming in on DN's Florida Straight swim? Maybe because there are no Florida Straight rules. I asked these questions earlier - no answer.
    evmo wrote:
    @StuartMcDougal. Please read the thread from beginning to end before posting again. Thanks.
    So is [the suit] the assist that renders DN's swim null/void or invalid by EC protocol?
    No.
    Thanks evmo. Ok, the use of protective suit and mask are no longer in question. I read through all threads regarding suit, and appears, it's the assistance helping DN put suit on and off - checking lungs, and applying anti-stick and lotion. Although I didn't see anything to support help removing suit. The pic from the blog, shows handlers starting suit at the feet.

    To clarify what now seems generally accepted by the EC community regarding DN's Florida-Straight swim, Cuba to Key West:

    1. DN was not towed or ferried, forward locomotion was entirely under her own power though freestyle and breaststroke type strokes.
    2. DN did not board a boat or hang onto boat for rest or locomotion - or board a vessel to slip on protective suit and mask.
    3. Protective suit and mask are reasonable precautions for a swim in this geographical area, and OK.

    What is in question that dismisses DN's swim or is considered an "assisted" swim similar to Walter and Susan's crossing

    1. Handlers helped put DN's suit on starting at feet as she floated on her back.
    2. Applying anti-sting to lips with applicator
    3. Applying sun-block or some type of protection to her back after 30 hours in the water.
    4. The doc checking her lungs with stethoscope as DN floated on back after she complained of tightness in the chest, a possible asthma condition.

    Is there anything that's in error or missing?
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    edited September 2013
    Correct, but why is EC community imposing EC rules on DN's swim and not on a Cook swim? Why isn't the Cook Straight rules chiming in on DN's Florida Straight swim? Maybe because there are no Florida Straight rules. I asked these questions earlier - no answer.

    Because she did not state any rules before her swim. In the absence of stated rules, the default becomes English Channel rules. Most major channel sanctioning bodies base their rules off of English Channel rules, but adjust them based on local needs, I.e. the Cook Straight shark rule.
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    gmacdona wrote:
    How can a 64 year old vomiting constantly approach almost 5 miles an hour for a sustained period?

    Extremely favorable currents.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited September 2013
    Jimeboy wrote:
    So wait a minute. In the Cook swim you can get out of the water for sharks?....lol....you got to be kidding me? And you guys accept that as an unassisted swim but Nyad wearing a jelly suit is no good? Somethings smells fishy around here. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You really need to get your act together. EC rules or it's assisted. Even I can understand that.

    Swing and a miss..... But thanks for playing.

    Cook strait rules are for cook strait swims.... And they don't use shark cages, divers, or electronic deterrents. Please refer all questions about the eligibility of delayed swims for records in the cook strait to Phillip Rush. I'm sure he would love to hear from you!

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    @StuartMcDougal, thank you for your questions. You're new here, and evidently not a marathon swimmer yourself, so I understand some confusion. That's why I encouraged you to read the thread from beginning to end. I realize it's rather lengthy at this point.

    However, I find myself reluctant to engage with you, because underneath your questions, you evidently think we're just jealous, insecure misogynists.

    You posted the following comment to Terry Laughlin's blog last night [link]:

    I have been surprised at the swimming community, specifically the marathon swim community, quickly dismissing and finding any reason to discredit Diana Nyad’s incredible accomplishment. I’ve read characterizations from cheater and lier (including her crew) to self serving media whore – and I’m sure there’s many more. Pretty awful stuff that I’m sure if Diana were a man, would never be said. So yes – is it more about a woman accomplishing something a man hasn’t and the insecurity that follows? Tough one to answer, but I can’t help but be curious too.

    So the questions strike me as a bit disingenuous.

    I'd be interested to hear what the many women participating on this thread think about your comment, but on second thought maybe it's best not to give it more attention than it deserves.
  • Most of the swimmers attempting this crossing have been women. Half of Ocean's seven finishers are women. It seems like marathon swimming is one of the few sports with a level playing field between men and women. Frankly I never even considered DN's gender. Age yes, gender no. It is quite remarkable at her age.

    I've wanted to believe her all along. I am glad that she did indeed have a favorable current. When she bad-mouthed other swimmers (also women) and logged that weird 7.5 hour stage in the night, it was hard not to wonder what happened. -Sarah
  • Jimeboy wrote:
    So wait a minute. In the Cook swim you can get out of the water for sharks?....lol....you got to be kidding me? And you guys accept that as an unassisted swim but Nyad wearing a jelly suit is no good? Somethings smells fishy around here. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You really need to get your act together. EC rules or it's assisted. Even I can understand that.

    Swing and a miss..... But thanks for playing.

    Cook strait rules are for cook strait swims.... And they don't use shark cages, divers, or electronic deterrents. Please refer all questions about the eligibility of delayed swims for records in the cook strait to Phillip Rush. I'm sure he would love to hear from you!

    So you make the "rules" as you go and as long as you state them ahead of time it's ok? Doesn't that take the integrity out of the whole thing? I understand there are conditions out there but isn't that what makes it so hard? And if you change the "rules" you should recognize that swim as an assisted swim. It's simple. Why are you complicating it? EC rules or it's assisted. Period. Ever hear of the Barkley's Trail Run? There's no changing rules in that race no matter what the conditions are. And if too many people complete the race one year the next year they make it harder. There are no grey areas.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited September 2013
    @StuartmcDougal, like @evmo I am loathe to respond to your deliberate & uninformed provocation, illustrated clearly by your writing elsewhere, unlike the people here who are above board.

    But you wrote:

    "To clarify what now seems generally accepted by the EC community"
    ...

    1. DN was not towed or ferried, forward locomotion was entirely under her own power though freestyle and breaststroke type strokes.
    2. DN did not board a boat or hang onto boat for rest or locomotion - or board a vessel to slip on protective suit and mask.


    The EC community as you call it, is the loose worldwide community of English Channel swimmers, pilots & crew, observers, volunteers and fans. This forum and the Google Channel Chat group are probably the two largest groups of Channel swimmers in the world. On the English Channel Chat group there has been almost no discussion of this swim (1 comment only to be precise that I saw), none of this discussion. Having returned from Dover yesterday and with other forum members over there also, I didn't hear anyone express any supportive comments of Diana Nyad, but most people just don't care. For what it's worth, Dover remains the centre of the marathon swimming world. But that's just what I experienced, and unlike you I am not attempting to speak for an entire group. This playing fast and loose with precise terms as understood by actual marathon swimmers by Diana Nyad's team is a symptomatic factor of much of this discussion in the media and elsewhere.

    Unlike you, I was actually on the panel, and have not seen those conclusions for 1 or 2. Perhaps you could point out your source for the people here to evaluate? Otherwise please don't assign universal agreement where it doesn't exist and stop playing to the media gallery with such statements as All long distance swims are assisted swims which actual marathon swimmers know is nonsense.

    I certainly wonder what it is about Diana Nyad supporters that are so hostile to questions by actual marathon swimmers, that they resort to untruths and name-calling and threats and such a defensive reaction to the few who understand the subject. Is it because they buy a t-shirt (Livestrong armbands anyone?) they feel involved. If they were all so sure, why care what us few misguided souls were asking and saying? Why not just continue to call us haters and forget us? After all I'd hazard a guess few of us will be buying the movie or the t-shirt or paying for the motivational speeches.

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Do you want to know what important thing happened last week? The marathon community, a community of amateurs, spoke out and was heard. That to the best of my knowledge has never happened previously.

    Diana Nyad's not-so-transparent panel appearance only happened BECAUSE OF THIS FORUM.

    I call that a result and I am extremely proud of this community's members, regardless of their opinion or the conclusion.

    loneswimmer.com

  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    Here is a great article covering Marcy MacDonald's thoughts on the DN swim.

    http://www.courant.com/sports/hc-riley-column-0915-20130914,0,1664692.column
  • sylmarinosylmarino San FranciscoMember
    @gregoc - best quote of that article:

    "I don't want to bring her down," said MacDonald, who was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2005 and is a member of the board of directors. "I just want to put her in a different category."
  • JimeboyJimeboy Guest
    edited September 2013
    Serious question. Would it be harder to swim using fins for such a long time? I know it would be faster but for me using fins kills my legs after a while. I guess if you trained with them your legs would be like tree trunks and you might be used to it.

    I have nothing but admiration for anyone who attempts something like this I'm only wondering why these other assisted swims did not raise as much hoopla? I know you are saying that the rules for them were presented ahead of time and Dn's were not but is that enough to scoff at DN's swim or is there a history there that is in play between her and you guys? I'm figuring ( and I'm not a smart man by any definition ) that some of you believe she is a proven liar and she probably lied about stuff during this swim too. Am I close?
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    Once again, great investigative work by a forum member, this time @Niek!

    loneswimmer.com

  • edited September 2013
    evmo wrote:
    @StuartMcDougal, thank you for your questions. You're new here, and evidently not a marathon swimmer yourself, so I understand some confusion. That's why I encouraged you to read the thread from beginning to end. I realize it's rather lengthy at this point.

    However, I find myself reluctant to engage with you, because underneath your questions, you evidently think we're just jealous, insecure misogynists.
    Thanks evmo: Correct, I'm not a marathon swimmer, but avid open water enthusiast, swim coach, triathlete , swam a few 10k's and slightly longer swims in challenging OW conditions - and find this to be my favorite swim/event (10k). I understand a 10k swim is a "marathon swim", but clearly nothing near a channel swim. Maybe someday a channel swim - other than time and money, it no longer feels beyond my reach. As for "jealous, insecure misogynists" those are your characterizations - not mine. There's no hidden agenda and I think it's important to challenge one's opinion or bias without characterization, and remain impartial and objective in the process. If your opinion is solid and supported, why be reluctant to engage?
    evmo wrote:
    You posted the following comment to Terry Laughlin's blog last night [link]:

    I have been surprised at the swimming community, specifically the marathon swim community, quickly dismissing and finding any reason to discredit Diana Nyad’s incredible accomplishment. I’ve read characterizations from cheater and lier (including her crew) to self serving media whore – and I’m sure there’s many more. Pretty awful stuff that I’m sure if Diana were a man, would never be said. So yes – is it more about a woman accomplishing something a man hasn’t and the insecurity that follows? Tough one to answer, but I can’t help but be curious too.

    So the questions strike me as a bit disingenuous.

    Thanks for quoting my response in Terry's blog post "Life Lessons from Diana Nyad" http://www.swimwellblog.com/archives/2069/. My response [above] you posted slightly out of context. Jeanne posted (in this blog): "I just want to make one point and that is that I hope we’re not all piling on Ms. Nyad because she’s a female and will criticize males who do athletic performances like this in the same way." Jeanne made a very good point and it left me curious as well given what I've read here and in other forums, facebook, etc.

    I understand that you feel my questions are disingenuous - the questions, actually seven statements, are intended to clarify and be specific without emotion. As an impartial "non marathon" swimmer looking to this forum for advice, thoughts and opinions. When discussions get heated - it's important to find where most folks line up. It appears (to me anyway) that most (not all) on this forum concede DN's swim pace/speed lines up with currents that did exist; other than favorable tail current, forward locomotion was under DN's own power, there was no artificial assist from buoyancy, fin or ferry.

    I realize this is a forum and not the CSA, and possibly the chairman and its board members participate in this forum and have on this DN thread, but I don't know (plenty of anonymous members here). In either case this forum seems to carry significant weight validating (or invalidating) DN's swim and active members such as David Barra have been quoted in National Geographic. The responsibility of any organization or sanctioning body is to remain fair and impartial until all data is in, a review has been made without bias, and a conclusion has been reached. I have found little that's impartial or objective regarding DN on this forum - that's my perception as an outsider.

    I don't need to repost the seven statements (1-3 and 1-4), these are listed previously. I am still curious of your thoughts and corrections, as well as any other members of this forum that wish to engage.

    Stuart
  • jvjjvj Charlotte, NCMember
    edited September 2013
    Jimeboy wrote:
    I have nothing but admiration for anyone who attempts something like this I'm only wondering why these other assisted swims did not raise as much hoopla?
    I think because they were admitted assisted swims. I think the main question here is how to classify DN's swim. (Assisted, IMO)
  • edited September 2013
    Niek wrote:
    In the past pre 2006 every FINA swim was called a marathon swim.

    Most swimmers on this forum and neither we on http://openwaterswimming.eu follow the FINA policy.
    You have the Olympic 10 km and marathon swims that are longer than 10 km.
    Got it. Thanks for clarifying Niek.

  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    I am of the opinion that DN's swim was assisted. Let me explain my biggest objection for calling it unassisted.

    DN says the jelly suit was required because the swim could NOT be done without one. To attempt without one would be putting her life at risk. Assuming this is correct let me ask the following:

    I found a swim I wanted to do in extremely cold water,let's say it was half the length of DN's swim. I think it is fair to say that experts would agree that it was impossible, and to attempt would be risking my life. In an effort to address the problem I partnered up with a bunch of scientists that developed a magic suit that would protect me from the cold, but added no buoyant advantage. In fact due to the material it's effect was to slow me down.

    So I do the swim with the magic suit. Can I then claim it was unassisted since I was the first one to do the swim and had declared that it was not swimmable without my heat-retaining magic suit?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    If your opinion is solid and supported, why be reluctant to engage?
    Because, Stuart, when you join this Forum, don't bother to understand the community (calling it the "EC community"), immediately start posting provocative, uninformed statements ("All long distance swims are assisted swims") to just a single thread, make other statements indicating you haven't read (or are purposely ignoring) the full discussion, and are meanwhile insulting the community on other websites, well.... you come off as a troll. And I have better things to do than engage with trolls.

    I'll credit you for using your real name - that's not typical troll behavior. So I'll give you the benefit of the doubt for now. Here is what I believe (it may or may not line up with your questions):

    1. I am not aware of any evidence that DN "cheated" - took a nap on the boat, got towed by a boat, etc.

    2. Her navigator said the currents (a rare south-to-north eddy of the Gulf Stream) account for her surprising progress. Her navigator seemed credible and professional.

    3. I remain curious why the current flow charts & data available to DN and her team don't seem to match up with the publicly available charts we were looking at during and after her swim.

    4. DN and team promised to release their data, logs, video, and other evidence. So far, I've seen only a fraction of it - the observer logs & disappointingly brief navigator log. Without the full set of evidence, I find it difficult to form a complete opinion of the swim.

    5. DN continues to make statements that lead me to wonder about her commitment to facts.
    - Saying on Facebook that she "never" touched a boat or another person, and then admitting on the conference call to physical contact with her crew.
    - Saying she didn't remember whether she touched the boat on last year's attempt, despite video evidence to the contrary.
    - Saying on CNN that "We have now provided all our logs," when at the time, none of them had been publicly released.
    - [There is another point here which Donal should explain rather than me.]

    6. And the truly fundamental issue, underlying all of this, is the failure to bring credible, independent observers on board the swim. None of this would have been necessary if there were observers who were known and trusted by the community, who had said, "The swim is legit." I remain confused that someone who's been doing marathon swims for longer than I've been alive, who was attempting a swim that could go down as the greatest ever, with so much money and reputation on the line, could fail to find good observers - or have a backup plan when the original observers weren't available.

    7. I believe DN's swim is an assisted swim, because of the repeated physical contact with her crew.

    @StuartMcDougal, I hope it's just the case that we got off on the wrong foot here, and since you say you're an avid open water swimmer, I hope we can expect contributions from you on other threads.
  • Aloha Marathon Swimmers Forum members,

    I was a member of Diana's team, her "jellyfish expert". I have been an avid ocean lover, sailor, swimmer and diver since childhood. I was in and out of the water most every hour each night of the swim to look for hazardous marine threats-sharks,jellies, fire worms etc. I have tried to get the gist of the questions raised in this forum over the past few days. I feel that there have been many areas of insufficient communication between the Marathon community and Diana's crew. I would be happy to provide answers to any questions that I can, related to her swim.

    She was touched by support crew but she did not touch the vessel or receive any floatation support.
    She swam from point A (rock ledge at Hemingway Marina approach) and walked out at point B (sandy shore at Key West) without touching the vessel or receiving assistance in the form of flotation or forward momentum. I understood those to be the "rules" of the crossing.
    She swam through various jellies and avoided stings by a combination of cumbersome drag inducing technologies- her full body Finis suit, gloves and booties with a mask the first night and then her suit, gloves, booties and sting stopper only face coverage the second night. She stopped regularly for food and water each night. She threw up a few times the first night reportedly due to the sea water that she swallowed due to the limitations of the silicon mask. I feel that avoidance of life threatening box jelly stings to be a specific challenge inherent in this particular crossing. Mitigating hazards has long been an ethical aspect of extreme athleticism from football helmets to quick release ski bindings. I would advocate that the Marathon community consider that protocols to predict, assess, detect, avoid and mitigate box jelly exposure are ethically prudent steps in waters in which these animals are found and could lead to death. I do not like to see the worlds finest athletes be put in harms way.

    We crossed into the gulf stream and held our breath as all seemed to be remarkably in favor of our rhumb line. I have seen how bizarre the gulf stream can be. Last year we were spun out of control by eddies, then hit by horrific thunder and lightning storms. Frankly I did not feel confident that we could make it until we crossed the shipping channel on the Key West approach and then my fears were reignited as we hit a massive patch of jellies. There was a bit of a celebration though when we saw the lights of Key West in the second night. We were all mentally prepared for a 3 night crossing.
  • edited September 2013
    Many of the complaints i have read on this forum seem to be include upsets over what and when Information has been available. I hope folks will appreciate that this was a very busy fast paced crossing with all hands fully engaged and heavily task loaded.

    I hope i am not walking into a hostile environment in writing to offer information to this forum. I had no time for "blogging" obviously. I got about 4 hrs of sleep in the 53 at sea. The blog was written by folks traveling on the "press boat" based on snippets of observation when they cycled on Voyager. The bloggers were not on Voyager all night long each night, I was. Lack of stings was a non event. The bloggers were focused on events not non events.

    That said Diana again and again thanked me in her interviews after the swim for our successful jelly protocols. She swam through jellies without being stung. That was the point of the protective garb. The good news was also that models showed we were fully out of phase for box jellies. The danger was still there but the situation was completely different in 2012 when the nightly crossings corresponded to box jelly upwellings precisely in phase.

    We did encounter box jellies after the Shipping lane in Key West and I collected a voucher sample for colleagues at the Smithsonian. The voyage photographer took many photos of jellies collected along the crossing. These were representative samples. We could not though "clear" a path. The swimmer was encountering these jellies. My objective was to keep an eye on what she would encounter and implement protocols to avoid and or treat specific types of stings. Fortunately the nights involved threats from only deep sea siphonophores, hydrozoans and fireworms-no box jellies were spotted until the third morning as we crossed the reef edge 100 ft lip.

    Unfortunately Diana had taken off her stinger suit after sunrise so i reapplied sting stopper at that time. She never experienced a sting. We vetted the technology in 2012 under vastly more difficult circumstances where she encountered a virtual sea of upwelling box jellies each night. She swam through them with only minor stings to the lips that we promptly treated and she continued on. Still that was excruciatingly painful in the context of extended salt water exposure but left no hemolytic marks (untreated stings result in visible red marks due to tissue destruction and hemolysis) on her lips.

    This crossing was better from the standpoint of nil box jelly occurrence for 2 nights but make no mistake there were the usual mix of pelagic jellies each night. The lack of in-depth discussion on this topic by the bloggers is likely due to the fact that I did not discuss all this in detail with them as I was quite busy eyes on and working round the clock diving to detect and direct different levels of protection to assure that jellies were not an issue for her. My role was to direct marine hazard protocols so that the swim was about athletic accomplishment not about blind gambles with life threatening stingers.

    She accepted the drag and difficulty of night swimming in the stinger suit as the cost of crossing this unpredictable marine environment where these animals can be encountered in vast upwelling numbers. I have experience night diving in pelagic environments where box jellies exist- here in Hawaii, Saipan, Bonaire, FL Straits. I am developing predictive models of the field ecology of various pelagic and near shore box jellies. These stingers present serious issues in many tropical and subtropical areas.
This discussion has been closed.