Friday, September 13, 2013
A solution to Diana Nyad's controversy?
After five grueling attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida, sixty-four year old Diana Nyad succeeded. She was cheered worldwide for her great strength, perseverance and determination for her 110 mile marathon swim. I applaud her and salute her. Within hours of her swim, global media coverage reported controversy regarding rules followed during her epic swim. As a marathon swimmer, I wanted to evaluate for myself her claim to a world record for the first unassisted swim and claims by her critics. I read several hundred online comments for and against Diana's historic swim. My conclusion: Diana Nyad successfully swam from Cuba to Florida. She did not advance by holding onto a boat or being in a boat. She was assisted into a jellyfish suit by being touched by her crew. There is no Cuba to Florida Swim Association to dictate rules therefore Diana did not cheat. She cannot be judged by other governing bodies such at the English Channel Swim Association/Federation or the Catalina Swimming Association because the Strait of Florida is not in their jurisdiction. The words assisted or unassisted swim should not be used in a swim of this magnitude. The purist of marathon swimmers do not include jellyfish protective gear, being touched by a crew member as an unassisted swim. So to satisfy all parties, I believe that Susie Maroney of Australia world record should be listed as the first person to swim Cuba to Florida with an asterisk by her name stating **use of a shark cage. Diana Nyad should receive the world record for the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage and have an asterisk by her name **use of jellyfish protective gear, touched by crew. And, for future marathon swimmers especially the "purist" group, the title should be world record for the first person to swim Cuba to Florida ***without a shark cage, jellyfish suit. All parties will be satisfied with getting their rightful respect in their own swim accomplishment. Now, let's move forward....Congratulations, to Susie Maroney and Diana Nyad for their world record accomplishment. And, I hope Penny Palfrey and Chloe McCardle from Australia attempt the Florida Strait again. They have the talent and speed to reach Florida without a shark cage, jellyfish suit, or being touched by their crew. And, when one of them reaches the Florida coast she will have the world record for the first person to swim Cuba to Florida and have an asterisk by her name ***without a shark cage, jellyfish suit,or being touched by a crew member. I'm looking forward to watching the next adventure swimmer attempt the grueling Florida Strait.