Nyad defends record-breaking Cuba-U.S. swim against doubters

Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:47am EDT
 
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By Chris Francescani

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad vigorously defended on Tuesday her record-breaking, 110-mile (177-km) swim from Cuba to southern Florida after skeptics raised questions about the grueling trek.

"I swam ... in squeaky-clean, ethical fashion," Nyad told a conference call late on Tuesday that included journalists and fellow marathon swimmers, some of whom have publicly questioned aspects of her challenging journey.

"I honored the rules," Nyad said at the start of the conference call. "I was an ethical swimmer."

A triumphant Nyad, 64, staggered ashore in Key West, Florida, on September 2, after having swum about 53 hours, to become the first person to complete the treacherous crossing without a shark cage.

Nyad's swim was her fifth attempt and only successful one. The highly publicized crossing sparked a social media debate about whether her journey meets the requirements to break the world record.

Some have questioned how Nyad was able to more than double her pace about halfway to Florida, and have wondered whether she was towed at any points by tracking boats.

Marathon swimmer Evan Morrison was among a number of members of the long-distance swimming community who publicly questioned Nyad's feat on social media.

"In reading through Diana's crew's live-blog, trying to suss out how this incredible swim happened, I was struck by how little information there actually was," Morrison wrote on the online Marathon Swimmers Forum.   Continued...

 
U.S. long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad finishes a conference call with a group of fellow endurance swimmers to answer skeptics about her record-breaking crossing of the Florida Straits last week, in Huntington Beach, California September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo