Did Diana Nyad Get a Lift During Her 100-Plus Mile Swim?

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 9 2013 4:33 PM

Did Diana Nyad Get a Lift During Her 100-Plus Mile Swim? Critics Question the Data.

178915442
US swimmer Diana Nyad begins her attempt to swim in a three-day non-stop journey from Havana to Florida on August 31, 2013.

Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images

One week ago, 64-year-old swimmer Diana Nyad became an international sensation, as she completed a 110-mile open water swim from Cuba to Florida. Admiration for Nyad’s success on her fifth attempt to complete the swim, however, turned to skepticism in some corners, as fellow marathon swimmers took to social media and online forums questioning the authenticity of Nyad’s feat.

Nyad’s 53-hour swim was unique, in part, because she was the first to make the nonstop swim without the aid of a shark cage. Her progress was tracked via GPS and a live blog from members of her team in a nearby support boat. Questions have been raised on the Marathon Swimmers Forum website, however, about some of the details of the trip, particularly whether it was, in fact, non-stop.

Advertisement

Critics say some of the GPS data is inconsistent and point to one seven-hour stretch where Nyad’s average speed of 3 miles per hour was double her normal 1.5 mph average. Nyad’s team maintains the change in speed was due to favorable currents, but that hasn’t been enough to quiet speculation that she either got in or held on to the support boat during this stretch.

The data collected during the swim is set to be submitted to several swimming organizations, as well as Guinness World Records, for verification. But, the questions about the details of the data, and their authenticity, have grown loud enough that she is scheduled to meet “her peers in the swimming community” to address them, according to Nyad's spokeswoman.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

Trending News Channel
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 20 2014 1:50 PM Why We Shouldn’t Be Too Sure About the Supposed Deal to Return the Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 20 2014 3:12 PM Terror Next Door Prudie advises a letter writer whose husband is dangerously, violently obsessed with the neighbors.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.