110 miles, 53 hours: Questions for Diana Nyad

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  • @heart, Outside Online printed gross inaccuracies lies about the tragic loss of Sandycove swimmer and our friend Paraic Casey, and irrelevant personal details about Sandycove members. How would you construe that? I'm happy to provide references offline.

  • Apologies for going slightly off topic. I note that the documentary premieres on 26th September and DVDs can now be pre-ordered!

    http://www.theothershoremovie.com/index.html
  • Donal, I'm not commending them as a paragon of journalism. All I'm saying is, given what their publication is about, I am not surprised that they're championing Diana's swim, and given some of the posts we have out there, I'm not surprised that someone predisposed to champion her would be put off by what s/he read here.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    I want to commend @malinaka again for his analytical effort... truly a defining moment in this forum's history.

    I messed around with his Excel sheet a bit, in an attempt to simplify the main graph of Diana's speed across the channel. Hopefully this is easier to interpret for the less quantitatively-inclined.

    image

    EDIT: The 6-period (~40-minute) smoothing remains the same. So, that brief spike to 10 km per hour should be interpreted as an average of 10 kph sustained over 40 minutes.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer Admin
    edited September 2013
    Not arguing with you @heart. Despite my own thoughts, we are and I am trying to keep threads (edit: left out ) balanced. In this case though I want to make sure that the balance about Outside Online from the point of view of swimmers here, in the same subject area, is also clear.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    heart said:

    can't fault them for resenting some of the early posts on these threads, which were laced with acid and ad-hominem remarks.

    @heart and anyone else: You are welcome to PM the Admins about any posts you feel are ad-hominem or egregiously acid, and we will review them for removal. Or if it's my own comment, PM Donal (and vice versa).

    Mild acid is OK ;)
  • heartheart Member
    edited September 2013
    @evmo, please keep us posted as to whether Diana accepts your invitation (not that she needs one to join, but it was courteous to extend her one.)
  • Great analysis, malinaka. Regarding the assumption of even time intervals between points, what if you used the (rough) timestamps in the /swim/mapdata JSON to calibrate/time-correct the points in /swim/currentswim where they overlap?
  • rckayakrckayak Member
    edited September 2013
    Following currents, swimmer speed, and question.

    I just listened again to the video from the boat pilot posted on MarathonSwimmers.org and apparently on YouTube. He explains what he has in front of him to be vector graphing and how the boat had been traveling sideways:

    "to get across the strong current" which is clearly drawn on his pad.

    He next says pointing to the space above a left to right line indicating the current that "up here the currents become more favorable."

    Would you tell me if I am reading too much into this, please? Nyad's crew is asserting that they got a once-in-a-lifetime strong following current the entire time pushing them North from start to finish. That is not what the pilot is stating and his graph pad indicates.

    If they had a following current then the bow of the escort boat would be pointing North (toward Key West) the entire time. No where did he mention that there was a strong following current. And, he merely states that the currents "become more favorable."

    So, once again, how does she 'gain the extra speed from a following current that actually is a current she is crossing? Magical currents again, I suppose?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    @mbklein - great idea. If you have the data skills & are so inclined, we'd love to see what you come up with!

    I'm currently occupied dealing with the unprecedented site traffic this discussion has generated...

    In other news, more re-reporting of Suzanne's National Geographic piece:

    http://www.grindtv.com/outdoor/excursions/post/was-diana-nyads-epic-swim-as-remarkable-as-it-was-portrayed-to-be/
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    @mbklein and others: I've gotten a lot of very good comments and questions today about my earlier post, yours included. I've been playing Devil's Advocate with this since I found the data, and some of you have as well - which is great! The time I spent last night researching my post only led to more questions. Sure, there's an easy way to have them all answered...but here we are.

    Perhaps after I get my Downton fix, I'll switch to Sherlock. The British one, of course.
    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member
    evmo said:
    Until they start quoting me, don't pay any attention to the stories on these online rags.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    evmo said:
    One involves a 7.5-mile stretch late during the swim, in which Nyad appears not to have accepted food or drink. Her crew explained that this was because she was cold and did not want to stop.
    I think they mean 7.5 hours.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member
    "Was Diana Nyad's Cuba-To-Florida Swim Legit? Haters Want To Know."

    Lance Armstrong skeptics were called Lance Haters for years. A healthy dialog welcomes skeptics. From my perspective I just want to know what were the rules before the swim started, and were any of them broken or changed. No hate here.
  • OK, I've taken an ugly, late-night stab at some timestamp calibration by merging the two feeds in /swim/currentswim (416 points, no timestamps) and /swim/mapdata (45 points, with timestamps, but see note below).

    Unfortunately, the listed times (which I call "Post Timestamps") refer to the time the related blog entry was posted, which is sometimes minutes or hours after the events and locations they refer to. However, many of those posts contain rough times in the text – "1pm feeding," "27 hours into swim," "6pm weather update," etc. – that can be used to fix those coordinates. I call those times "Narrative Timestamps." I then filled in the gaps between narrative timestamps by using equal intervals between those fixed times, calling the results "Interpolated Timestamps." The result is still far from perfect, but probably more accurate than using equal intervals from start to finish. They can at least be used to gauge some local speeds between "blogpoints" (my 1am term for "waypoints with blog posts attached").

    I've compiled my results into a Google Spreadsheet, shared here. I lack the time and resources necessary to calculate great circle distances and make fancy plots like malinaka did, but I'm sharing it in the hope that someone can make use of this in a similar way.

    I've still got all my data and code, so if anyone has suggestions on how I can/should tweak the methodology, feel free to comment.
  • Is there AIS data available for the escort boats, similar to that in EC?
  • Is there AIS data available for the escort boats, similar to that in EC?

    That's a good question Colm. From the blog there appear to have been four escort vessels in the flotilla. "Voyager I", "Sentimental Journey", "Dreams Do Come True" and "Kinship".
    http://www.diananyad.com/blog/voyager-departs-cuba lists the 4 boats.

    However, it doesn't appear that AIS data is recorded in that particular area of the world's oceans.

    I think @malinaka 's assumption of 6.75 minute time intervals is a fair assumption. The team stated on the blog "For Diana's position, we're actually using 2 satellite GPS trackers, that ping the site directly every 10 minutes or so. This gives us her location in 5-10 minute intervals, depending on how the timing on the 2 trackers is skewing. The position you see on the homepage is not only a direct feed of those trackers, it also keeps updating while the page is open - so that point on the map will actually move without hitting refresh." here http://www.diananyad.com/blog/keeping-you-updated I think it would be interesting to see what the graph would look like if the "slow" periods are assumed to be 5 minute pings and the apparently "fast" periods are assumed to be 10 minute pings.
  • Great stuff @mbklein! I was trying to work on similar with little time.
  • ZoeSadlerZoeSadler Member
    edited September 2013
    Initially I ignored this because I thought it was nothing to do with me and didn't affect my swimming. However, I've realised it affects us all involved in marathon swimming.

    At least 10 different people have said to me this week - and I paraphrase "How far was your English Channel swim?" "21 miles! That's only a warm up compared to the 103 miles done by that 64 year old lady".

    The next time someone says that to me I will spontaneously explode in a mass of pink jelly and goo.

    My point here being that people may be less willing to sponsor or support a 21 mile EC swim (or any marathon swim) given that a 64 year old lady can do 103 miles.

    And ultimately that does affects many of us involved in marathon swimming. That's why we want to see independent verification and data to support this extraordinary swim. It's not about "hate". I actually want to believe this is true.
  • It might be worthwhile to point out that Diana Nyad failed in all of her English Channel attempts, albeit under reportedly very rough conditions.
    Lactate is for wimps.
  • At least 10 different people have said to me this week - and I paraphrase "How far was your English Channel swim?" "21 miles! That's only a warm up compared to the 103 miles done by that 64 year old lady".

    I am up in Magog QC to bring blankets, buoys, etc to the finish of Search for Memphre and when I crossed the border from VT the Border Guard was happy to bring up how that older lady did a much longer swim than 25 miles! "She is something," he said. Yup.
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    From an @evmo Facebook thread just now:
    Diana Nyad: Ron et al...Please allow me to join all of you and respond with each and every question and concern you have. I will post soon as I can to our site (diananyad.com) a blog to introduce the Navigator John Bartlett, who has point by point GPS readings from start to finish, and to our two Independent Observers (Roger McVeigh and Janet Hinkle) who took turns making copious and accurate notes all the way across. I of course intend to be 100% open to any of your and others' valid probing into the accuracies of our historic crossing. I am confident you will find us high-minded, ethical people. Thank you
    I'm holding my breath, Diana. Literally, holding my breath. Please hurry.
    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    Looking forward to this! Want to read the observers' logs.
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member
    At this point, I'm willing to hear her out with a completely open mind. She's earned that..
  • I had to fix the lawnmower today, which gave me some time to think about this rat's nest. Here is what is bothering me: If we assume that Ms. Nyad did ride in the boat or something similar, we would be talking about a conspiracy of approximately 35 people to cover this up. Given that:
    1) Why would they do that? I have a hard time believing that the financial rewards for this swim are that good.
    2) How do you find 35 people who would participate in that level of deception? I tried to come up with a dozen people I felt would participate in this level of deception for me and even if I assumed that it was to keep me out of prison, I couldn't make 12, let alone 3 times that.
    3) Likewise, I have a hard time comprehending that there might be a small subset of the 35 who were plotting this and were able to keep it from everyone else. If they are that good, I'm sure they could get jobs with the CIA.
    4) Question for one of our Legal Eagles: If we assume that there is some financial payout to everyone for a successful swim and the money comes from, say, a third party/corporation, would the entire 35 have potential vulnerability to prosecution under the RICO law?
    5) I realize that the name "Lance Armstrong" might be used as an answer to the above, but it seems to me that the circumstances and money involved were vastly different.

    I am not defending Ms. Nyad, but I am trying to wrap my meager brain around this and maybe trying to play devil's advocate while I'm at it. A strange tale from a strange time.

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • b9chrisb9chris Member
    edited September 2013
    Hi open water swimmers, this is Chris Moschini from Diana Nyad's web team. I was directed to this forum by a few fact checking discussions, and this thread in particular. First of all, I love that someone picked apart the website for the /currentswim json! Glad it was helpful. But, it doesn't have timestamps - so, here is a direct dump from our site of the GPS Spot checkins, with timestamps, in UTC no less:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AilYbJcFwZD4dEFLS3ZhcDVJclRRTmp1eGRfaTVvemc&usp=sharing

    I'm going to post this to the blog as well once I've finished converting it over to GPX format for people to be able to mess around with it in Google Earth or whatever they'd like - I'm sure a spreadsheet is interesting here, but probably less so to Diana's wider audience.

    The checkins come from 2 GPS Spots, one orange and one black. In Track mode they checkin every 9-11 minutes, so together we get between 5 and 11 minute resolution on their position (depending on their skew). They sat on one of the boats that tracked along with Diana. The site polled the 2 Spots as she swam.

    The spreadsheet begins the swim at the bottom, and row 3 is the final checkin. The second row (the final point) is the only entry that didn't come from the Spots - it's an approximated point on shore, because obviously the boats couldn't follow Diana up the beach.

    So, one important impact of that time skew is it means the timestamps are very much not uniform, as you'll see in the data. Here's a concrete, hypothetical example. Say I hit Track Progress on Orange at 10am, then 5 minutes later I hit it on Black. On the site I'll see 10am and 10:05am checkins. If they then checked in consistently every 10 minutes, I'd see 10:10am, 10:15am, so forth.

    This is not what happens. Instead Black might go every 9.5 minutes for a while, because that's what it decided to do today, and Orange might go every 10.5. So it'd look more like this:

    10:00am, 10:05, 10:09, 10:16, 10:19, 10:26, 10:28, 10:37, 10:38...

    See how they're coming together? So you end up with this stutter-stepped timestamp sequence for a while - then after a while the skew continues and spreads them nicely apart into ~5minutes again, and over and over like that.

    Hope this helps.
    -Chris Moschini,
    Brass Nine Design
    http://brass9.com/
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    Very cool - thanks Chris! So what I'm getting from this is, the dataset Andrew found on the website is the combined data from two separate SPOT trackers operating at the same time.

    Since Andrew's chart (and my subsequent re-formatting of the same chart) was smoothed over 6 intervals, I'm guessing the big picture of Diana's speed across the channel will look almost identical. But we should confirm this...
  • I kind of agree with Leonard somewhat. Especially if this forum is implying Diana slept on the boat for the 7.5 hours (and while she slept she took no feeds), and the boat traveled a few faster miles per hour than her normal swim speed. That would be downright fraudulent. With 35 team members there is bound to be a whistle blower. It is easier to accept the info will come forward to try to answer our questions, or Diana will simply say "stuff you". So far, I reckon she did the swim, but used a few methods we might disapprove of but in reality don't add up to much. I for one, would forgive the help in getting in and out of the jelly suit, the streamer etc. But would not accept her resting on the boat or holding on to a kayak.

    Most of all, under the circumstances, I would expect much greater dialogue coming back from Diana to settle these questions and maybe she is planning to do just that, but wants to make sure her replies (which no doubt will be picked to pieces) stand up to scrutiny.

    If she has done a genuine swim, this forum has taken the shine off it for her, and that is a horrid thought. I wish she had let the right people into her team, so we could trust the reports. Chloe and Penny would have been perfect observers.
  • evmo said:

    Very cool - thanks Chris! So what I'm getting from this is, the dataset Andrew found on the website is the combined data from two separate SPOT trackers operating at the same time ... I'm guessing the big picture of Diana's speed across the channel will look almost identical. But we should confirm this...

    Yeah, basically. Here's how the site works:

    Both GPS Spots are running on the boats, and Spot provides a public API where you can get the last several checkins. The server checks both API endpoints every minute, and when it sees a new one in either it adds it to the database. The Spot data includes a UTC timestamp, so there's no time skew between the spot and the server.

    People who have the map open during the swim have a little Javascript you guys discovered running that keeps pinging /swim/currentswim on Diana's site. That URL returns a JSON dump of what's in the database. If this is the first time someone opened the map, the entire JSON dump is used to draw that red line on the homepage. If the map has been open a while and it's just polling for new data, it checks the length of the JSON dump, and if it's longer than what it has on the map, it draws the new points it found.

    Now that the swim is over, some of that complexity is switched off - the server isn't polling anymore, and the homepage doesn't poll the server anymore. You just see the single static dump of that data on the site.
  • danslosdanslos Member
    edited September 2013
    I have a hard time believing that the financial rewards for this swim are that good.
    Perhaps not for the whole crew, but there is a lot riding on the swim's success (or lack thereof) for Ms. Nyad:

    • Her movie, The Other Shore, arrives in less than three weeks.

    • Her upcoming 48-hour swim in New York will be much more interesting to the public and the press if Ms. Nyad arrives as a channel-conquerer.

    • Her site lists some major sponsors which might be much more inclined to stick around (and even invite their friends) to celebrate a barrier-shattering hero.

    I look forward to seeing the logs.

    -Daniel Slosberg
  • paulmpaulm Member
    edited September 2013
    Hi Chris, Welcome and thanks for sharing the information. As Spot saves the tracks for 30 days- Is it possible for you to share the actual spot tracking page of the swim from the Spot site ??

    http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=111
    Save Your Tracks
    Tracking not only allows personal contacts to follow you on your adventures in near real-time, but also provides the ability to create your own personal adventure log. Simply use Tracking during your activities or travels and reference your route later on your own personal Google Maps™ page inside your SPOT account. Each recorded SPOT waypoint includes the date, time-stamp and GPS coordinates in addition to showing your location on the map.

    Keep in mind: SPOT archives your data for only 30 days, we encourage you to save your Tracks with SPOT Adventures where you can create an adventure and save it forever, or download your data to your desktop for use outside of your SPOT account.
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    @b9chris I'm so excited right now. I just peed myself a little.

    (Not to make you feel too special, I get like this whenever I get a long list of numbers to look at.)

    Thank you.
    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member
    Here are my questions for Diana:

    1) Who are Roger McVeigh and Janet Hinkle?
    2) What is their experience with marathon swimming or acting as an official observer on a marathon swim?
    3) Who selected them?
    4) What criteria were used in selecting them?
    5) Did they receive any compensation, or have their expenses paid for?
    6) If they did, who paid them?
    7) How much we're they paid if they were?
    8) What were they told to record?
    9) Who gave them instructions on what to record?
    10) What rules were they told would apply?
    11) Who told them?
    12) Can we get a full copy of their logs? ( digitally scanned is fine, preferably as a PDF file)

    I'm sure Diana can appreciate the importance of having these questions answered.
  • edited September 2013
    @malinaka Looking forward to an update of your previous post with the new data.

    To the forum members, as someone who loves open water swimming but has little experience in the deep ocean;

    1) What's it like swimming in a strong ocean current that transports you at twice the speed as the data suggests Diana was? Is it a bit like being in a high speed train where you don't really notice it?

    2) Are they very common and where? I can imagine being in a strong river current that could cut my usual swim pace of say 1:40sec/100yds to 0:50sec/100yds but such a push would almost be scary.
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    @tricoachmartin The train is a good analogy. Things are scary in fast rivers because you get a lot of turbulence from the bottom and sides and you definitely feel the little eddies jostling you about. When you get away from the shore and the bottom, you are just in a mass of water, doing your own thing. On my SJDF swim this past July, my forward speed ranged from 3mph to 0.4mph as the tides changed despite my pretty consistent swim pace and I didn't notice it at all. At least not until I started asking how far from shore I was.

    If you looking for one, these currents are found in two general places. 1) Where a large body of water is forced through a small deep opening, typically anything labeled "Strait" (Strait of Florida, Juan de Fuca, Gibraltar, Cook, etc); 2) In the major ocean circulation currents, like the Gulf Stream. Check out marinebio.org/oceans/currents-tides.asp for a pretty cool set of charts and videos.
    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.
  • edited September 2013
    @malinaka - You're meant to be mapping that data not watching Downtown Abbey or responding to my posts!

    That is a cool vid. Thank you.

    So what has you baffled about Diana's swim? Your speed during that race had fluctuations of greater than a factor of 3 from your slowest to fastest paces at the same perceived effort. Is it not possible that one of these currents could carry a swimmer at world record 1500m pace for 7 hours?
  • paulm said:

    Hi Chris, Welcome and thanks for sharing the information. As Spot saves the tracks for 30 days- Is it possible for you to share the actual spot tracking page of the swim from the Spot site ??

    So, 2 problems there:

    1) Both were lent to us, meaning they'll be reused by those who lent them, so they'll be reused for their own private adventures through the world - it's not really my place to post on a public forum how to track these kind lenders.

    2) The Spots were both left on after the swim was completed, following the boats and then the people carrying them. It appears one went so far as to go all the way home with one person, not so great as privacy goes. I didn't notice this until now when I was considering posting them here, so I've reached out to the relevant people to have them switched off.

    So, perhaps if there was one person here you all felt was trustworthy not to pass the URLs on, I could PM them to that person, with an understanding that there's a lot of extraneous, sensitive data besides the swim on there and to keep things isolated to just the fact-checking task. But since this is a public forum, it's not that I don't trust members here, but the internet has plenty of roaming jerks, and a public forum isn't the right place to just paste and say go for it.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember


    So what has you baffled about Diana's swim? Your speed during that race had fluctuations of greater than a factor of 3 from your slowest to fastest paces at the same perceived effort. Is it not possible that one of these currents could carry a swimmer at world record 1500m pace for 7 hours?

    What baffles most off us is that the Florida Current normally runs from west to east and that Diana has swum in a south to north current. In the picture one can see the direction of the current during her swim
    image A few arrows even point north-west to south-east in the path of DN swim. So where did that 7 hour south to north current came from

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember

    What's it like swimming in a strong ocean current that transports you at twice the speed as the data suggests Diana was? Is it a bit like being in a high speed train where you don't really notice it?

    It's the same as swimming with or against the tide. Swimming with you won't notice much. Swimming against you'll certainly will notice you're lack of forward progress.

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • Super interesting. Please post the new graphs with the new data with timestamps up on twitter as well as this forum when they become available. I think the server will probably crash here soon after you do. The force and assistance of this current (or, as some have suggested something more sinister) will be of great general interest.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    @bobswims, answers to some of your questions from the AP article:
    Janet Hinkle, a Key West boat captain and acquaintance of Nyad's, was called to be an observer for the swim when Steve Munatones, a former U.S. national open-water coach, was unable to make it. "I can say unequivocally she swam every stroke without question," Hinkle said.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    "I can say unequivocally she swam every stroke without question," Hinkle said.
    So by that statement, are we to assume Ms. Hinkle remained awake and watching Ms. Nyad for 53 hours continuously?

    I'd also note there is still no information about Ms. Hinkle's previous experience observing open-water swims.
  • @evmo. The charts you provided look to me fairly "macro" in detail so at this stage I'm more likely to believe Mitch Roffer's assessment from the AP article that the currents were indeed south to north and assisting DN.

    These currents bring a different perspective to the feat to the layperson endurance athlete. For example, there's no wind on earth that can move a cyclist at three times the speed for the same perceived effort.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    @tricoachmartin - I don't recall providing you any charts about currents. Do you mean the SECOORA chart in @malinaka's analysis?
  • I'm enjoying the data and charts. Slowly but surely the data is coming in.

    One thing I can't shake from my head is the image of DN swimming at hour 33 (video from her blog http://www.diananyad.com/blog/645pm-bonnie-update). This was reported to have been shot at 6:14pm on the second day of her swim.


    By the looks of the charts that have been created, she was moving at 6km/hour at hour 33 (down from 10km a few hours prior). Even if it was current aided, I can't make it make sense in my head.
    We also have video of her 9 minutes prior at 6:04pm stopped, chatting and goggles up.

  • @evmo. Yes the SECOORA charts. Do you think Mitch Roffer had access to something different or more detailed?
  • Sorry, I am not a numbers person. I do have a hard time believing that a $200 spot tracker was not bought. What with the 100's of thousands of dollars spent. It's just one more piece that doesn't make sense. If it's a record there has to be proof. And ... One more thought ... It's okay to leave some swims undoable.
    I love swimming
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com
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