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Thread: After three decades swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, finally completes Cuba-to-FL swim

  1. #1
    Elite Member Laurent's Avatar
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    Thumbs up After three decades swimmer Diana Nyad, 64, finally completes Cuba-to-FL swim

    Diana Nyad Completes Cuba To Florida Swim At Age 64 (VIDEO/PHOTOS)

    AP | By JENNIFER KAY Posted: 09/02/2013 2:04 pm EDT | Updated: 09/03/2013 12:02 am EDT

    KEY WEST, Fla. -- Looking dazed and sunburned, U.S. endurance swimmer Diana Nyad walked on to the shore Monday, becoming the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the help of a shark cage.

    Nyad swam up to the beach just before 2 p.m. EDT, about 53 hours after she began her journey in Havana on Saturday. As she approached, spectators waded into waist-high water and surrounded her, taking pictures and cheering her on.

    "I have three messages. One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you're never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team," she said on the beach.

    "I have to say, I'm a little bit out of it right now," Nyad said. She gestured toward her swollen lips, and simply said "seawater."

    Her team said she had been slurring her words while she was out in the water. She was on a stretcher on the beach and received an IV before she was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

    "I just wanted to get out of the sun," she said.

    It was Nyad's fifth try to complete the approximately 110-mile swim. She tried three times in 2011 and 2012. Her first attempt was in 1978.

    "It's historic, marvelous," said Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich, the Hemingway Marina commodore who helped organize the Cuba side of Nyad's multiple attempts.

    "I always thought she could do it given her internal energy, her mental and physical strength, her will of iron," said Diaz Escrich, whom Nyad has described as a longtime friend.

    "More than the athletic feat, she wants to send a message of peace, love, friendship and happiness ... between the people of the United States and Cuba," he said.

    Her last try was cut short amid boat trouble, storms, unfavorable currents and jellyfish stings that left her face puffy and swollen.

    This time, she wore a full bodysuit, gloves, booties and a mask at night, when jellyfish rise to the surface. The new silicone mask caused bruises inside her mouth, making it difficult for her to talk, she told her team when she was about 2 miles from land.

    Doctors traveling with Nyad were worried about her slurred speech and her breathing, but they didn't intervene, according to Nyad's website.

    Nyad's journey began Saturday morning when she jumped from the seawall of the Hemingway Marina into the warm waters off Havana. She stopped from time to time for nourishment, but she never left the water.

    The support team accompanying her had equipment that generated a faint electrical field around her, which was designed to keep sharks at bay. A boat also dragged a line in the water to help keep her on course.

    Sumaya Haddin, of Miami, had been tracking Nyad's swim before her family's trip to Key West this weekend. She was surprised to see Nyad's flotilla from a parasail off Smather's Beach on Monday morning. She thought Nyad wasn't due for another day.

    "You couldn't see her, you could just see the boats. It was very exciting," she said.

    Haddin said Nyad still had her fighting spirit when she got to the beach. "Getting into the ambulance, she had her peace sign up, her fist up. She was still fired up."

    Australian Susie Maroney successfully swam the Strait in 1997 with a shark cage, which besides protection from the predators, has a drafting effect that pulls a swimmer along.

    In 2012, Australian Penny Palfrey swam 79 miles toward Florida without a cage before strong currents forced her to abandon the attempt. This June, her countrywoman Chloe McCardel made it 11 hours and 14 miles before jellyfish stings ended her bid.

    In 1978, Walter Poenisch, an Ohio baker, claimed to have made the swim using flippers and a snorkel. Critics say there was insufficient independent documentation to verify his claim.

    Nyad first came to national attention in 1975 when she swam the 28 miles around the island of Manhattan in just under eight hours. In 1979 she swam the 102 miles from North Bimini, Bahamas, to Juno Beach, Fla., in 27.5 hours.

    Nyad is also an author of three books, a motivational speaker and has been a reporter and commentator for NPR.


    Associated Press writer Anne-Marie Garcia in Havana contributed to this report.
    Diana Nyad Completes Cuba To Florida Swim At Age 64 (VIDEO/PHOTOS)
    “What are you looking at, sugar-tits?” - Mel Gibson

  2. #2
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    The toughest athlete in America is a 64 year old woman!!!!
    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.

    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

  3. #3
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    fellow traveller


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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I was VERY, very happy for her. Huge feat for someone that age. I tried to explain the significance of it to my family this morning (nobody had heard of her before). I was saying something like, "Guys, this is something she has been trying to do for like the last 30 YEARS." So much for sitting around feeling sorry for myself when I don't want to go running early in the morning......
    Bluebonnet likes this.

  5. #5
    Gold Member MentalNotes's Avatar
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    Good for her! Just shows you should never give up.
    "Boredom's not a burden
    Anyone should bear."
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  6. #6
    Elite Member Quazar's Avatar
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    Now SHE is a true role model and someone to look up to.
    The more people I encounter, the more I like my animals.

  7. #7
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    Huge feat for someone that age.
    Ahem. Huge feat at any age.
    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.

    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

  8. #8
    mjw is offline
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    MIAMI -- Diana Nyad's 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida has generated positive publicity and adoration for the 64-year-old endurance athlete - along with skepticism from some members of the small community of marathon swimmers who are questioning whether she accomplished the feat honestly.

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

    "When you know how hard it is, you kind of want those details," said Andrew Malinak, a Seattle long-distance swimmer who crunched the data available from the GPS positions tracked on Nyad's website and concluded that he didn't trust what he saw.

    Nyad's navigator and one of the swim's official observers told The Associated Press this weekend that Nyad didn't cheat and that she was aided during the rapid part of her swim by a swift current. And neither Nyad nor her team ever said she would follow English Channel rules, developed for swimming the waters between England and France. Those rules outlaw protective wetsuits and contact with a support boat. Nyad wore her wetsuit mostly at night, when jellyfish are a particular problem, and removed it once she got over the reef on her approach to Key West.

    According to Nyad's team, she finished the swim Monday afternoon after roughly 53 hours in the water, becoming the first to do so without a shark cage. It was her fifth try, an endeavor apparently free from the boat troubles, bad weather, illnesses and jellyfish encounters that have bedeviled Nyad and other swimmers in recent years.

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

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

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

    Nyad's spokeswomen did not immediately return telephone calls this weekend, but her navigator and Janet Hinkle, one of the official observers for the swim, told the AP that Nyad didn't cheat.

    Navigator John Bartlett said the increased speed was due to the fast-moving Gulf Stream working in her favor, nothing more.

    "At some points we were doing almost 4 miles an hour," Bartlett said. "That's just the way it works. If the current is in your favor at all, that explains it."

    The data collected by Bartlett and two observers will be submitted to three open-water swimming associations and the Guinness World Records for verification, Bartlett said.

    An oceanographer not affiliated with Nyad's team said the swimmer couldn't have picked a more perfect current to get from Havana to Key West.

    Mitch Roffer of Melbourne-based Roffer's Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service Inc. said he got an email questioning whether Nyad's swim was a hoax, so he decided to look at the charts for himself. What he saw convinced him that she could do it.

    "Many times that current runs west-east and you're constantly fighting the current if you're swimming north. In this case, it was in the shape of an S, and the angle was almost exactly from Havana to Key West," Roffer said.

    Janet Hinkle, a Key West boat captain and acquaintance of Nyad's, was called to be an observer for the swim when Steve Munatones, a former U.S. national open-water coach, was unable to make it. "I can say unequivocally she swam every stroke without question," Hinkle said.

    Critics have said Hinkle was too close to Nyad to be an independent observer of her swim. Hinkle has in the past helped Nyad by providing housing for her when the swimmer stayed in the Florida Keys, but she said she remained on the periphery of Nyad's team. "I think anyone who knows me knows me as a person of high integrity. I believe that's why Diana asked me, and I took my job very seriously," Hinkle said. "She was giving her all and I would give her my best."

    Since none of the various open-water swimming associations dictate how someone should swim from Cuba to Florida - officially accomplished only by Nyad and Susie Maroney, who used a shark cage - Nyad just had to follow generally accepted rules about not getting out of the water or using equipment such as fins.

    Australian Chloe McCardel followed English Channel rules in her attempt to swim the Florida Straits in June. She had to be pulled from the water after 11 hours after being stung jellyfish.

    "Generally the rules are: You walk in, you swim across and you walk out, and you do it under your own power," said Munatones, who consulted with Nyad for this swim and observed her attempts in 2011 and 2012.

    The elaborate, full-body wet suit and protective mask Nyad wore to protect herself from venomous jellyfish actually weighed her down, Munatones said.

    "To put that on is like putting on a wedding gown in the ocean," he said. "It's different from the English Channel rules, but the water is different from the English Channel."

    To many, it seems Nyad hasn't exactly endeared herself to those in the marathon swimming community. Some consider her primarily concerned with gaining the spotlight instead of helping others advance the sport.

    At her post-swim news conference on Tuesday, Nyad admitted that she had not been rooting for McCardel and that she was miffed some members of her team would jump ship to work for a competitor.

    McCardel said she was disappointed to hear Nyad call those crew members "traitors."

    "One of the greatest things, I believe, about international marathon swimming is how people across the world support crew for and mentor each other. I wouldn't change this aspect of our sport for the world!" McCardel posted on her Facebook page.
    Diana Nyad's Skeptics Question Integrity Of Swim, Use Of Mask, Possible Assistance By Boat

  9. #9
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    haters gonna hate.
    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.

    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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