Nyad Defends Swim: I Had Right to Set Ground Rules

And it was a 'squeaky-clean'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2013 7:03 AM CDT
Nyad Defends Swim: I Had Right to Set Ground Rules
Diana Nyad, 64, greets her support team before her swim to Florida from Havana, Cuba, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

Cuba-to-Florida swimmer Diana Nyad answered skeptics quite literally last night, in a lengthy conference call between the new record holder and about a dozen members of the marathon swimming community. To the purists who questioned her gear, Nyad claimed the right to set the ground rules, noting the sport awards that honor to the first person to complete a crossing. Going forward, "Florida Straits Rules" will allow for the innovations she employed, including the full-body suit and prosthetic face mask she used to safeguard herself from jellyfish. Also on the rules list: No holding on to the boat or exiting the water, which Nyad insisted she didn't do.

"I swam. We made it, our team, from the rocks of Cuba to the beach of Florida, in squeaky-clean, ethical fashion," Nyad said, in response to those who questioned stretches where GPS data indicates her speed dramatically increased. The AP reports she pledged to hand over the observations and notes recorded by her navigator and two official observers, which one swimmer on the call described as "a great first step." Nyad also clarified an earlier misstatement: A published report from her doctors said she went seven hours without drinking; she in fact never went more than 45 minutes without water. (More Diana Nyad stories.)

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