- (Photo: Reuters/Andrew Innerarity)
People have been attempting the impossible Cuba-Florida swim for over 50 years. But earlier this month when Diana Nyad finally completed the challenge, impossible was exactly what critics said. Unabashed, the 64-year-old swimmer has been happy to face opposition this week and provide answers to her critics.
"We swam fair and square, squeaky clean across that thing," Nyad said during one of her first public interviews which occurred Wednesday night on the Piers Morgan Show. "No one's going to take our joy and our moment that the world was inspired by away from us. Nobody."
It was "joy" that Nyad was looking for after she finished the more than 110-mile swim. Joy at overcoming her obstacles, joy at becoming the first person to ever complete the swim unassisted, or perhaps just the simple joy of being alive. But while Nyad celebrated, rumors surfaced that the marathon swimmer, who had made failed attempts at the swim three times before, might have cheated.
Did she take a rest at some point in the race, questioned some critics?
"Never, never took a rest, never touched a boat, never got out on a boat," she insisted Wednesday night.
Further scrutiny has also been thrown on the varying speeds that Nyad hit during her swim. Her average speed was about 1.5 miles per hour, but at times she more than doubled that amount. That seems impossible without assistance said other critics. Nyad explains that it has everything to do with currents.
"If you got lucky, which I did that day and I'm swimming at 1.7 miles per hour I have a current at, let's say, 2. 2 miles per hour... You add them together and you're close to 4 miles an hour. It's easy," she explained.
Others have made the swim in the past but required assistance or used a shark cage. Nyad skipped on both of those things, but did devise a special suit and mask to help prevent her from lethal jellyfish stings. While some said those tools violated an open water swim agreement, Nyad disagrees with that as well.
"I don't mean to fly in the face of your rules, but for my own life's safety, a literal life-and-death measure, that's the way we did it," she told the Associated Press Tuesday night.
Nyad's team has promised to show logs of her swim, which could help prove how she completed the swim.