Skip to content

Diana Nyad defends record swim in face of skepticism

Sep 11, 2013, 10:20 AM EDT

Diana Nyad Reuters

Diana Nyad spent three and a half hours answering questions from fellow swimmers on a conference call Tuesday night, many of whom were skeptical about her Cuba-to-Florida swim that wrapped up in Key West on Sept. 2.

In an interview with NBC News, Nyad said categorically that the 100-plus-mile swim over more than 50 straight hours was done honorably.

“I did this swim with my own body and my own mind, fair and square, squeaky clean,” she said.

Nyad, 64, said she didn’t cling to or climb aboard a boat at any point during her fifth attempt of the endurance swim. She wore a mask and a protective suit to guard against jellyfish stings.

“I was in the open sea the whole time,” Nyad said.

Her speed more than doubled her average of 1.5 miles per hour at some points, drawing skepticism, according to The Associated Press. Nyad said the speed increased because of fast-moving currents.

“Don’t I deserve a little luck, after I’ve had so much bad luck on my previous four tries,” Nyad said.

Nyad said notes taken by her navigator during the swim and two official observers will be made available.

“Many of us are pursuing this as a technical matter,” Richard Clifford, a New York attorney and a kayaker for open water swimmers, told the AP. “Having the information out there helps us analyze it, measure it, test it, smell it, you know, decide if it looks right and is right, and you guys keep saying it is. So, let us look at it.”

Nyad, who plans to swim in a pool in New York’s Herald Square for 48 straight hours for charity next month, is not surprised by the skepticism.

“When you set a huge world record like this, you’ve got to vet it,” Nyad said. “You’ve got to ask every question. You’ve got to put the swimmer under a microscope and make her answer all these questions.”

Olympic swimming community reacts to Nyad’s record

Latest Posts
  1. Rory McIlroy ruptures ankle ligment

    Jul 6, 2015, 1:18 PM EDT

    U.S. Open - Final Round U.S. Open - Final Round

    An injury to the world’s top-ranked golfer could threaten his qualification status for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

  2. U.S. Women undefeated after opening of indoor volleyball Grand Prix tournament

    Jul 5, 2015, 9:16 PM EDT

    Volleyball: USA vs Italy Volleyball: USA vs Italy

    Looking for their sixth Grand Prix title, the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team ended the weekend with three straight wins.

  3. Lucena, Brunner finish fourth while Brazilians claim victory at Beach Volleyball World Championships

    Jul 5, 2015, 6:35 PM EDT

    150705_BeachVolleyball Getty Images

    Brazilian teams finished on top of the podium in both the men’s and women’s finals.

  4. Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce dominate at Paris Diamond League

    Jul 4, 2015, 6:57 PM EDT

    ATHLETICS-DIAMOND-FRA ATHLETICS-DIAMOND-FRA

    The two claimed victory in the men’s and women’s 100 meters, while American Evan Jager came heartbreakingly close to making history in the steeplechase.

  5. 2012 Olympic 4x100m relay medals officially reallocated after U.S. team stripped of silver

    Jul 4, 2015, 10:12 AM EDT

    Olympics Day 15 - Athletics Getty Images

    Trinidad and Tobago have been upgraded to silver and France to bronze.

  6. Bicycle fall takes swimmer Kosuke Hagino out of Worlds

    Jul 4, 2015, 9:11 AM EDT

    Kosuke Hagino Kosuke Hagino

    The Japanese swimmer confirmed that his right elbow is fractured.

  7. Nick Lucena and Theo Brunner final American team in Beach Volleyball World Championships

    Jul 3, 2015, 5:13 PM EDT

    AVP Championships at Huntington Beach AVP Championships at Huntington Beach

    Three of the four remaining American teams were knocked out in the quarterfinal rounds. Lucena and Brunner will face the Brazilians in semifinals on Saturday.

  8. Jordan Burroughs on Rio: ‘My chances of winning’ are better than in London

    Jul 3, 2015, 2:13 PM EDT

    US' Jordan Ernest Burroughs celebrates a US' Jordan Ernest Burroughs celebrates a

    In an interview before the July 4th stop of the Road to Rio tour before Philadelphia, the Olympic wrestler explained how his age has become an advantage.

  9. Rio 2016 Olympic torch unveiled

    Jul 3, 2015, 12:26 PM EDT

    Screen shot 2015-07-03 at 11.35.56 AM

    The torch will begin in the capital city of Brasilia, passing through a planned 500 cities before reaching Maracana Stadium in Rio for the Opening Ceremony.

  10. Allyson Felix considering 200-400m double at Worlds

    Jul 3, 2015, 11:11 AM EDT

    150704_AllysonFelix Getty Images

    Won’t face Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who will forgo 200 meters to focus on 100.

  11. Japanese swim star Kosuke Hagino potentially out of World Championships

    Jul 2, 2015, 11:29 AM EDT

    Comments Off on Japanese swim star Kosuke Hagino potentially out of World Championships
    Japan's Kosuke Hagino competes in the me Japan's Kosuke Hagino competes in the me

    A suspected elbow fracture may force Hagino to pull out.

  12. Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross historically dominant at World Championships

    Jul 1, 2015, 10:07 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Walsh Jennings had never been part of such a rout with Misty May-Treanor.

  13. USOC eyes majority support for Boston 2024 ‘relatively soon’

    Jun 30, 2015, 7:33 PM EDT

    Boston 2024

    “We’re not discussing right now the possibility of not submitting a bid.”

  14. Usain Bolt pulls out of July track meets

    Jun 30, 2015, 2:37 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Bolt flew to Munich to treat an injury.

  15. Brazil’s president offers Barack Obama ‘standing invitation’ to Rio Olympics

    Jun 30, 2015, 2:25 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Obama has never attended an Olympics as president, and this is his last chance.

  16. Simon Shnapir retires from figure skating

    Jun 30, 2015, 2:08 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Shnapir won Olympic bronze in Sochi.

  17. Missy Franklin named top NCAA female athlete

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:37 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Franklin beat out another Rio 2016 Olympic hopeful for the honor.

  18. Cristiano Ronaldo ‘a possibility’ for Rio 2016 Olympics

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:19 AM EDT

    Cristiano Ronaldo Getty Images

    Ronaldo debuted at the Olympics two years before his first World Cup.

  19. Angela Ruggiero to become fourth women’s player in Hockey Hall of Fame

    Jun 30, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT

    AP AP

    The 2015 Hall of Fame class also includes four men’s Olympic medalists.