Sports

Critics Question Diana Nyad's Historic Cuba-Florida Swim

| by Michael Allen
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Some long-distance swimmers are questioning whether Diana Nyad, 64, had any help during her historic 110-mile swim from Cuba to Key West, Fla. without a skark cage.

People posting on the Marathon Swimmers Forum are openly questioning if Nyad got into, or held onto, the boat that was tracking her swim.

Nyad is also being criticized for wearing a custom-designed mask and wetsuit to protect her body from jellyfish stings.

Apparently, English Channel rules do not allow special wetsuits, but neither Nyad nor her team ever promised she would not wear her specialized suit.

John Bartlett, the navigator of the boat that accompanied Nyad, and one of the official observers, Janet Hinkle, told the Associated Press that Nyad completed her record-breaking swim without any help.

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

"I can say unequivocally she swam every stroke without question," added Hinkle, who has provided housing for Nyad when she stayed in the Florida Keys.

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"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. She was giving her all and I would give her my best," said Hinkle.

Mitch Roffer, of Roffer's Ocean Fishing Forecasting Service in Melbourne, Australia, did believe it was possible for the grandmother to make the swim.

"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," said Roffer.

Source: Associated Press