Today a panel of marathon swimmers (including several who spearheaded skepticism regarding the validity of her Cuba to Florida swim) and media convened via teleconference to hear directly from Diana Nyad, her navigator John Bartlett, and her crew chief Bonnie Stoll.
Nyad led off the call by thanking the group for the opportunity to address the group and offered complete transparency with regard to data and information regarding the swim. She affirmed her respect for general rules of marathon swim community: never grab on to the boat or another person. She affirmed her and her teams’ commitment to the “basic rules of having any aid for floatation or propulsion”
John Bartlett conducted 100’s ‘modeling’ exercises over the past several years on the route between Cuba and Key West. In fact, one model showed that the swim could have been completed in 37 hours. Bartlett explained in great detail when the weather lined up the currents were ideal for the swim. “The good gulf steam is what allowed this thing to happen.”
Panel members appeared to be mixed between skeptical and curious. Many of the questioned were very nuanced and concentrated on ocean currents which were very favorable for Nyad’s swim.
Nyad affirmed to the group – what I witnessed during her second 2011 attempted – the orders were clear and consistent that she was not to be touched while in the water.
“I never touched the boat in any way” Diana Nyad emphatically reported to the group.
After 3 hours of discussion, it was clear the marathon swimmers are passionate about putting ‘fence posts’ around the definitions of what constitutes a ‘real’ swim. But ultimately Nyad and her team were forthcoming and open in answering all the question posed by the group.
Here’s a few things that seem clear: