110 miles, 53 hours: Questions for Diana Nyad

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  • @ . I am sick about the financial losses Chloe suffered due to poor/insufficient knowledge and or advice. I hope this forum, in the effort to spur and encourage the best athletic achievements is open to authentically celebrating Diana's achievement.

    Sorry Angel- As others have said- Penny got 70 % plus across with only the long suit and with no need to have anyone touch her, Chloe did the research and may or may not have been unlucky (that is up for debate at another time ). DN wore suits, mask, and had people touch her along the way helping with the suits and apparently from the blogs along the way only saw a couple of Jelly's towards the end. maybe DN's advice to have all the extra's was incorrect ??? Maybe she could have saved a lot of money by not having all these extra pieces of equipment ??

    Re celebrating the swim as JVJ says above and many others have requested- get the team to release the raw data/reports and we can start to celebrate the swim-believe me there are a lot of people on his site that want to genuinely start to do so...when we get the data.

    Thanks

  • AngelYanagiharaAngelYanagihara Temporary Suspension
    @Paulm Frankly, I am not sure what Chloe's "research" consisted of. I wrote in to her blog to ask who her "jellyfish biochemist" was. I was very concerned at the bravado being expressed prior to her swim. There was no answer. No one has ever identified who advised her that "box jellies should not be a problem". Obviously, that person was dead wrong. There are multiple species of box jellies to contend with across the FL Straits not just one. I have started to worked out the field ecology for many of these tropical species but there is much work to be done. This has nothing to do with luck. The date that Diana choose to make the jump happened to be "good" from the stand point of the 2012 box jelly culprit behaviour modeling (based on phase of the moon, time of astronomical twilight and high tide, deep sea upwelling, ocean floor bathymetry) but just of one species of box jelly. This did not mean we would not encounter others. My plan was to be eyes on and advise. Fortunately, the jellies encountered during the nights were non-life threatening but again we could not have _known_ that. Penny could have suffered a sting on the face or lips that could have been life threatening. Didn't Penny report some stings that had left her depleted? If so, could she have made it out of the trapping current had she not been previously stung?
    As far as the raw data, that is not under my control. I hope that all will be forthcoming.
    I appreciate this dialog and addressing any of the details that I personally can. I have a great deal of respect for this forum and you all as remarkable athletes.
  • AngelYanagiharaAngelYanagihara Temporary Suspension
    @ Jbirrrd She drank and fed regularly so clearly she must have had other stops between 2 am and 7 am . I think Janet was on board for that full night recording the times. Almost every time they stopped, I was in the water and I know it was many times that night that I dove.
  • bobswimsbobswims Charter Member

    It was a lengthy procedure because she did all the work of changing herself. There was no "full body contact" involved . We had extremely limited very brief contact - application of tape on ankles and wrist margins and sting stopper to face.

    This quickly became this.

    The photos show the handlers starting the process of the suit but she put it on. I did not observe the booties. She put on her gloves herself. Crew helped her with the tape.

    This is part of the continuing problem. A source from Diana's camp comes forward and makes a statement. The marathon community proves it to be wrong, so the statement changes. Moreover, if you didn't see the actions depicted in the photo, how can you speak with any authority on what was or wasn't done by DN and her crew? That is exactly why you need neutral observers watching her at all times.

    No feedings for 7 1/2 hours becomes a misquote by the community even though the source was her own website. You have to see that the community has good grounds for not completely embracing DN's story without first examining it critically?

    One thing that DN said that really bugged me was her statement that she doesn't remember touching the boat in her last attempt. Was it so unimportant (or not a rule) that she didn't pay attention? I'm sure if one of her crew members hadn't unknowingly posted the video to You Tube we would still not know. When your crew doesn't know the rules, and there were plenty of people in the video, how can they step forward and defend her. How is it the observers on that last attempt didn't disqualify her immediately? Was touching the boat one of those things that was allowed by her rules, (which I never saw), or was the rule changed once she touched the boat? If it was allowed in the prior attempt, how did the rule change for her successful, albeit assisted, crossing? If Diana changed it, why did she?

    So where are the rules that were provided to the observers at the start of her most recent swim? Where are their logs for the swim documenting that at least one of them had their eyes on DN at all times?

    All of these are fair questions. No malice here, just curiosity and concern.
  • evmo said:

    I don't think this is correct. Touching isn't "allowable" in the case of hypothermia, lightning, or wandering swimmer. When the swimmer is touched, the swim is over.
    In the case of the Cook Strait, again, we're talking about Cook Strait rules, not EC rules.

    I understand and don't disagree. I'm also aware that cook straight had different rules, just was trying to illustrate a point. But does a preventative measure mean it's justifiable to touch the swimmer, given that there doesn't seem to be any immediate threat?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    @timsroot - I think we're on the same page.

    Cook Strait (sharks) and MIMS (lightning) are the only local exceptions I'm aware of, where physical contact is allowable in the event of an unpredicted, immediate threat to the swimmer - i.e., the swim may continue subsequently. The MIMS rule, I think, mostly derives from the unique multi-participant race situation, where a DQ because of lightning would affect not just one, but many people.

    In the case of DN's swim, there was apparently no immediate danger, so the physical contact wouldn't qualify even under those (irrelevant) local exceptions.

    Planned, repeated physical contact, however, would never be allowed, under EC rules or any other recognized marathon swim.
  • AngelYanagiharaAngelYanagihara Temporary Suspension
    Yes I understand that these core questions are reasonable and not driven by malice. Katie's blog entry was unfortunately inaccurate. These things happen. The suit process was long and laborious because she was the driver of the process. I was a diver and not sitting still to watch. I has diving and doing my job so you rightly must consider that I could not see every second of the process.
    As far as 2012 goes that was a train wreck on many levels. We we trapped in eddies spinning us around like tops the first night then the sea of box jellies then stopped two nights in a row by "life threatening" storms and we were directed to remove the swimmer from the water by Steve Munatones. Voyager suffered a swamped port outboard, a seal broke and we took on water,listing dangerously in rising seas. We had to get all personnel into life vests off voyager in the midst of rough seas and remaining crew hand pumped the bilge and fixed the seal. I haven't seen the YouTube but it may have been after the point at which it was apparent we were definitely not going to make it-but she still swam on. I remember Steve's looks of grave concern. The point was to learn from 2012, 2011 et al and avoid all that 2013.
    Due to the hard lessons learned, remarkable planning, exceptional professionals and perhaps "providence" itself, 2013 was completely different and with the exception of the squall a remarkably favorable crossing.
    I remain happy to address questions.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013

    The suit process was long and laborious because she was the driver of the process. I was a diver and not sitting still to watch. I has diving and doing my job so you rightly must consider that I could not see every second of the process.
    ....
    I remain happy to address questions.

    A video would help us understand.
  • @evmo. In the context of DN's swim, what would you consider immediate danger; 1. when jellies are seen by crew or the swimmer (DN), 2. in a known jelly area, 3. after a sting?

    @BobSwims: Bringing up the DN's previous swim really makes this all more difficult to get our heads around. I would just leave it that you are more skeptical. I'm not sure where you are going with "lengthy procedure" turned into "did not observe the booties". Are you suggesting Angel is inconsistent, misleading, or?

    Stuart
  • ssthomasssthomas Charter Member
    I’m sensing confusion about the “rules” from a few people, which indicates to me that there’s not a clear understanding as to why the rules are so important to us. As a swimmer who follows these pesky "English Channel Rules" in every swim, regardless of the body of water being swum, maybe I can provide some insight into the mentality of most of us on this forum.

    I completely understand that the concept of these rules may be foreign to some who are participating in this conversation. I've had to explain the ideas and rules to many people over the years. You guys are definitely normal. It makes sense to me that until you’ve actually swum (or aspire to swim) a channel following English Channel Rules, that some of this might not make a lot of sense.

    The thing is, we channel swimmers have to put an awful lot of trust in each other. Not always is someone’s word enough to prove that they did something that they say they did. Before there was the CSA and CS&PF, if someone claimed they had swum the English Channel, how did we know they had done so, legitimately? It makes sense that over time, norms and rules and organizations were put into place so that the swimmer can say “I swam the English Channel” and as a community, we know what that means. There are observers, logs, and usually pictures/videos and GPS tracking.

    If you swim a race, the rules are published, so everyone knows what to expect in preparation and from results. Am I racing in the same category as someone in a wetsuit, or are they divided? Are there age groups? What swim suits are allowed/not allowed? How many caps can I wear? Etc.

    As a group, for many, many years, rule setting and following has been essential to building trust among members of our community.

    When each of us braved our very first channel swim, I can guarantee that we all checked the rules, read the rules, memorized the rules, made sure the rules were read to us and explained in clarity. Double checked the rules. We made sure we had someone to observe and to record their observations. And we do that every time. It’s normal to us- just part of the procedure.

    I understand that the avid channel swimmers are maybe a bit rigid and stubborn, but that's just what it takes to do what we do. You don't swim extraordinary distances in extreme conditions and not be particular about the rules. We don’t cheat and we’re honest about our failures. (In fact, sometimes the failures are just as celebrated as the successes.) We want to be able to go to sleep at night, knowing we accomplished something fairly and legitimately. Most of us don’t strive for recognition or publicity. We just want to be able to say “I did something great today” to the few friends who understand what that means.

    When something comes along that seems to dilute what we hold dear to our hearts- our personal integrity and the trust we’ve built among our community- I think it makes sense that we get a little feisty.

    There may be some obscure rule out there that says my crew can touch me for safety issues. However, I can assure you- If anyone on my crew actually did touch me, for any reason, I would disqualify myself. If I need a light or glow stick adjusted during the swim, I'll do it myself. If I need more sunscreen or lube or desitin smeared on my face during a swim- I'll do it. Throw me what I need and let me take care of myself.

    Whether or not there is a rule out there that says it's ok to be touched for safety reasons is irrelevant to me. I’m not going to even go close to it. I’d rather risk a jelly sting or a bad sunburn or chaffing than to have someone question whether or not my swim was assisted. It doesn’t matter if there’s a rule that says I can draft- I’m not going to draft. I’m not going to follow a streamer. I think 99% of people here would agree with me on that point. It may seem weird to someone of you, but that’s how a lot of us feel. Regardless of what a “rule” says, our principles are pretty basic:
    1. Put on your regular textile training swim suit, latex or silicone cap, goggles, and ear plugs.
    2. Enter the water at point A and exit the water at point B.
    3. Don’t touch the boat or another person until you have exited at point B.

    Simple.

    So, when someone says to me, "Who cares if I put some extra lanolin on your back for you. No one will know." You know what my answer is? “ME. I will know. Don’t touch me.”

    And at the end of the day, my integrity is all I have left. My integrity is what allows me to come on this forum, among peers, and allows them to respect me and for me to respect them. We’re all coming from the same place, the same understanding.

    When someone comes and claims to be the greatest swimmer of them all or claims to have done something ultra incredible, but can’t back it up with a past relationship of trust or data, observer reports, GPS tracking, etc., well, I think it makes sense we’d get a little curious and start asking questions. It’s not just their integrity; it’s the integrity of our entire community.

    Diana Nyad isn’t the first person to be questioned, and I doubt she’ll be the last. Thing is, until she understands the above sentiments, I don't think there's any point in us asking for more clarification. If you don't get it, you don't get it. What else can we do?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    @evmo. In the context of DN's swim, what would you consider immediate danger; 1. when jellies are seen by crew or the swimmer (DN), 2. in a known jelly area, 3. after a sting?

    In my opinion, on a solo, nonstop, long-distance open-water swim, an immediate danger to the swimmer is cause to end the swim (DQ) - not to allow it to continue after some unspecified period of time as if it never happened. I realize it doesn't feel fair, because it's not the swimmer's fault, but that's the nature of marathon swimming, and almost all of us accept that.

    I understand why NYC Swim has their lightning policy - it doesn't make economic sense to DQ 40 swimmers in one fell swoop.

    I guess Phil Rush has his reasons for the Cook Strait shark break, though I haven't discussed them with him.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    edited September 2013
    @AngelYanagihara
    The Youtube video was posted on her blog AUG 19 Posted 1:56pm
    You can't find it on DNs blog anymore but luckily we have http://web.archive.org/web/20120830120716/http://www.diananyad.com/blog
    The first storm was the night from August 19 to 20 http://web.archive.org/web/20120822165421/http://www.diananyad.com/blog/back-on-course? and http://web.archive.org/web/20120822171023/http://www.diananyad.com/blog/stormy-night
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • @evmo. In the context of DN's swim, what would you consider immediate danger; 1. when jellies are seen by crew or the swimmer (DN), 2. in a known jelly area, 3. after a sting?

    My opinion: After the sting, if the swimmer or observer feels their is a threat to the swimmer's health. If first aid beyond what the swimmer can do for themselves is needed, the swim is over.
  • BernieBernie Member
    edited September 2013

    @ Jbirrrd She drank and fed regularly so clearly she must have had other stops between 2 am and 7 am . I think Janet was on board for that full night recording the times. Almost every time they stopped, I was in the water and I know it was many times that night that I dove.

    I have been trying to put together some numbers about the swin, but basing that on "regularly" and "must have had" kind of data is making it real hard.

    Factual data about that night is critical. If she fed regularly (15 min every hour), If the reported currents are correct and If the GPS data is reliable, she must explain how she got a 50% boost on her previous speed relative to the water.

    My numbers may be wrong (that's the reason they are not yet going public), but how should we find out without any reliable data?

    It is like Diane got to the moon and back, but she won't show the photos.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Nominating @ssthomas and @malinaka as co-MVPs of this thread.

    Sarah not only did two of the most impressive marathon swims of all time, in a single year, but that post should be mounted behind glass in a Hall of Fame somewhere.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    @ssthomas Sarah if ever you need an observer here in the Netherlands give me a call.
    It would be a privilege and I'd be honored.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • @ssthomas - I bow down to thee. Thank you for so eloquently stating to those who seem to question our intent, the importance of rules and the overall integrity of the sport that we all hold dear.
  • edited September 2013
    @ssthomas. I do appreciate the rules and they are very clear as you point out. Given other swims that deviate for safety reason, but still hold the swim. I think the Florida Straight is unknown territory, or at least not as know as the EC. The confusion is there is no set of rules yet for Florida Straight - although I recognize that won't fly with those that have done EC, Catalina, SB under same or very similar rules.

    @evmo. Lightening and jellies are two very different things. The swimmer is grounded in water lightening can strike the water a great distance (not sure how far) conduct and electrocute swimmer. Jelly has to come in immediate direct contact. When jellies are seen or in area, I don't think the swimmer has to bail out of the swim even given the amount of time to put on the suit. This is where it can be subjective "when". I haven't found the rules or criteria for the Cook Straight when swimmers have to get out of the water and how long before the swim is called off on shark sightings. It's difficult to put a rule with clean edges around this since every situation can be very different.

    @timsroot. What if the first sting is fatal?
  • @ssthomas thank you for that excellent post.

    @AngelYanagihara thank you for your wonderful contributions to this discussion.

    I'm wondering (if anyone can answer) how Ms. Nyad believes her swim should be recorded for posterity (specific wording)? It certainly must be clear in her own mind, but has she made any statements?
  • AngelYanagiharaAngelYanagihara Temporary Suspension
    I must say I am fascinated by your collective process here. I think I have contributed all I possibly can based on my limited experimce and knowledge. The monolithic EC rules definitely "rule" here. I do hope that no athlete losses his or her life due to this hard position. I will sign off now.
  • timsroottimsroot Member
    edited September 2013

    @timsroot. What if the first sting is fatal?

    Is it common for stings to be fatal before there is chance to render first aid on the boat?

    If the swimmer feels in danger for whatever reason, they should have the good sense to call the swim. It sucks, but I've done it before.

    If the swimmer feels that the danger is unavoidable, they should either question the wisdom of swimming there, or have some form of assistance, such as the stinger suit.
  • edited September 2013
    @timsroot: I don't know the stats on jelly stings (lethal box species), but Diana was worried it could be lethal given her last experience and was enough reason to take extra precaution. I think I read from Angel's post that the suit was as much a deterrent as it was designed to prevent or minimize penetration. In other words possibly the jellies weren't attracted since little to no flesh exposed. I found that very interesting, but I may have misunderstood.

    Re: Calling the swim. I think that will always be up for debate in DN's swim. In the Cook swim, I don't believe they call the swim on first shark sighting, but suspect there is a time when the pilot/observer may determine the swim is too dangerous. I read they've had 85 swimmers swim the Cook Straight, no shark attack - so difficult to argue with their success. The list of successful completions including record holders does not indicate whether one got out our not due to sharks. And that maybe because if they did declare, a swimmer on record pace may refuse to get out not to interrupt swim or be flagged with "onboard assist". This is a question to pose to the Cook Straight sanctioning body.
  • Niek said:

    @Rupertdacat During Walther Poenisch swim we had the Int. Fed. Professional Ocean Swimmers and Divers who ratified his swim. http://openwaterswimming.eu/node/9764
    I can't find anything if that federation still exist today but there is still a James M. Mims doing something with diving in Florida today.

    According to an article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune The International Federation of Professional Swimmers and Divers disbanded in 1979.
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1755&dat=19970602&id=xCkhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=T30EAAAAIBAJ&pg=2257,3030933
    It appears the Federation existed for one year, with Mims serving as founder/president and authenticator of the Poenisch swim. He would have been 21 at the time of the swim in July of 1978. Currently there is a Jim Mims aka James Marvin Mims, listed as "Head Honcho" at Mimscorp Diving, founded in July of 1979.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu/files/Observer-Int- Fed-Prof-Ocean-Swimmers-and-Divers.pdf


    I am guessing DN's camp is getting tired of the questions and labeling, but didn't Diana herself in 1978, call Walter Poenisch a ‘cheat’ and a ‘fraud’ from which he won a small monetary sum?

    ssthomas said:


    Diana Nyad isn’t the first person to be questioned, and I doubt she’ll be the last.

    Accompanied by his wife, Mims, Captain Glenn Drummen of the Amy N., and Co-Captain Ben Lunge, Walter was assisted, not only by fins and shark cage, but by being
    out of the water and into the boat three different times, having vasoline and sundown applied across his shoulders, and under his arms by someone else at least three times, having Jim Mims help him out of the shark cage when they hit a sandbar offshore, and swimming with him to shore.
    *http://openwaterswimming.eu/files/Observer-report-Walter-Poenish-Cuba-USA.pdf

    Angered that the International Swimming Hall of Fame refused to recognize his swim, Walter and his wife sued the Hall and others who had accused him of fraud. The Hall had stated that an observer had seen Walter get into the boat to rest, but in a deposition the Hall had to state they did not have their own representative present at the swim. The couple won a 1.5 million dollar settlement and an apology, but the Hall of Fame record book remained the same.
    Walter stated that Susan Maroney's swim should be discredited. He said photos showed her resting on the shark cage and using a diving vest, aiding with both warmth and flotation.
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1755&dat=19970602&id=xCkhAAAAIBAJ&sjid=T30EAAAAIBAJ&pg=2257,3030933



  • edited September 2013
    @vvice, excellent finds, and read. I didn't realize Walter had far more assist in addition to fins snorkel and cage, including boarding boat to treat stings, handler/observer apply vasoline, "sundown" (must be what we we called sunblock today) on back, shoulder and arm pits. And the hallucinations (similar to DN), asking "Jim" to clear bushes out of the way on final stretches of the swim. This swim sure has seen controversy with every swimmer.
  • @StuartMcDougal Niek posted links to some of the documents on http://openwaterswimming.eu/node/9764 They were made available by Faye Poenisch, widow of Walter Poenisch. Original newspaper articles sourced from google searches are great for offering details and perspectives that were current at the time!
  • Has anyone here ordered her movie yet? I'm wondering if most of the footage is archival footage, and not from the most recent, assisted swim?
    Ron Collins
    Clearwater, Florida
    DistanceMatters.com
  • jvjjvj Member
    edited September 2013
    Just to follow up on the great post by @ssthomas...

    I am an avid swimmer having competed both at the college level and now at the Masters level but have only done a few open water swims and certainly nothing where marathon swimming “rules” come into play. However I appreciate the strict adherence to rules for the integrity of an individual sport, where much of the “competition” is done out of the public eye. It’s not like a team sport where rule infractions happen on pretty much every play but aren’t considered infractions unless called by the referee, umpire or other official. Individual sports typically rely strictly on the integrity of the athlete.

    As an avid golfer I know I have to play the ball as it lies. If I hit one perfectly down the middle of the fairway but it comes to rest in a divot, that’s just an unfortunate break and I don’t get to move the ball over to a more favorable lie. Many non-golfers think some of the archaic rules of golf are ridiculous but a true fan of the sport knows they are necessary. Suppose I shot a 59 on the last day of the Masters or British Open to win by 6 strokes but a television replay showed that I accidentally grounded my club in a hazard and failed to assess myself the required 2 stroke penalty. Had I done so, I would have still won but wouldn't have broken the magical 60 barrier and, let’s face it, the accidental grounding didn’t give me any real advantage so what’s the harm. However, since I didn’t assess the penalty and signed an incorrect score card the result is I would be disqualified and forfeit the win. Yes, this may be harsh but I don’t think you will find a professional golfer anywhere that would argue this minor rule infraction should be overlooked in this case.

    I look at this swim in the same way. Yes DN achieved an absolutely remarkable feat no matter how you classify it, but unfortunately her seemingly disregard or indifference to the rules of her sport, and her failure to be as transparent as possible (not releasing raw data, posting her “rules” ahead of time, using known observers, etc.) continues to tarnish it in my opinion. And as such, her peers in the marathon swimming community are absolutely correct in trying to clarify and quantify her swim. Just an opinion from an interested bystander...
  • I've noticed a trend in this entertaining thread...

    1. A member of DN's team appears with enthusiastic willingness to help answer questions and explain why this shouldn't be considered an assisted swim.
    2. Forum members ask this team member their questions.
    3. The answers given are either vague, not entirely relevant, not supported by other statements or evidence, or directed to someone else on DN's team.
    4. When "pressed" for clarification or supporting evidence, the DN team member opts to stop contributing.
  • @ssthomas.. Rocks it. Best word in that wonderful eloquent post..INTEGRITY. Nuff said.
    I love swimming
    www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Agreed. And I'm not even a channel swimmer
  • @GregJL - Sadly true. But the extreme dreamers seen to take the questions as personal attack.

    The emotion in this thread (from both sides) is, at least at times, getting in the way of rational discussion.
  • AngelYanagiharaAngelYanagihara Temporary Suspension
    edited September 2013
    I'm still here. I signed off from that conversation because a) I felt I was starting to repeat myself b) despite lip service to civility, this is clearly a hostile environment. The Sir Edmund Hilarys of the world "Find a way". Diana did that solidly and ethically. She went from point A to point B without touching a vessel, without any flotation aid, without any forward propulsion aid, she walked out on her own power. Still, she did not adhere to the STRICT "Unassisted" EChanmel rules according to the pedantic voices here. I came to this forum in good faith with aloha interested to explore the mindset here. At this point, frankly I am horrified that human health and safety are placed below "rules" from a very different body of water. "What if the first sting is fatal"? While I put the risk of loss of life from a single sting less than 50%, it certainly exists. The risk of fiery severe "worst pain imaginable" is 100%. I would suggest the risk of Irukandji syndrome is over 50%. I find it flatly unethical for anyone to encourage you all or your peers knowingly to swim into harms way simply for the sake of ENGLISH CHANNEL rules. I find this monolithic focus wrong headed given the realities of the FL Straits. I will answer questions but I would prefer to only answer questions from fully knowledgeable people who have themselves been stung by box jellies as I and others have. The whole premise that EC rules are more important than human life and well being boggles the mind but please carry on folks. After the swim I spent a few days meeting with Special Forces trainees in Florida who have suffered mightily because of box jelly stings in and around Key West Approaches. This is not a trivial matter. Encouraging a mindset that would lead Chloe to risk life, limb and home to accomplish it by EC rules is extremely troubling to me. Yet there seems no authentic discussion of that, the topic veers back again and again to EC rules and the sanctity of that. Also, I am not in a position to provide you with "raw data" etc. I have done my best here to be a civil open resource. I feel great concern at the outcome and the content of this thread.
  • AngelYanagiharaAngelYanagihara Temporary Suspension
    I dont know what you mean Niek.
    Timsroot, I agree except that there are real ramifications to future swimmers.
    Again, let me be clear, I respect this group and your process here. It is frustrating for both "sides" because I think the priorities being used are vastly different. Integrity of a set a rules verses integrity of athleticism in a hostile environment. She did the later, solidly, ethically and heroically.
  • I don’t see where people are encouraging anyone to swim it strictly adhering to EC rules. (I’m sure there may be a few posts I don’t recall, but that isn’t the emphasis of this thread.) What I see is people trying to accurately classify the swim according the established norms associated with marathon swimming. If DN was claiming the first assisted swim without a shark cage then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But by all measure of marathon swimming precedent and norms, this was an absolutely incredible ASSISTED swim. Just because it may not be possible to do it strictly unassisted doesn’t give you license to change the definition.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    @AngelYanagihara There are enough venues to swim without jellies. So if your afraid for (first) stings don't swim in waters where that's possible.
    About rules I suggest you read both post from @ssthomas #Item_568 and @jvj #Item_586 in this tread.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • david_barradavid_barra Charter Member

    The Sir Edmund Hilarys of the world "Find a way". Diana did that solidly and ethically.
    This is not a trivial matter. Encouraging a mindset that would lead Chloe to risk life, limb and home to accomplish it by EC rules is extremely troubling to me. Yet there seems no authentic discussion of that, the topic veers back again and again to EC rules and the sanctity of that.

    Dr. Yanagihara, please note that since Sir Edmund Hillary's ascent of Mt Everest, many have done it without the assistance of bottled oxygen....
    And so, neither does DNs swim prove that it is impossible without the assistance the she benefitted from.

    Now a question about sting stopper if I may: Does SS provide a physical barrier between the skin and the stinging tentacles?... Or is it more of a soothing balm?... Anti venom?
    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
  • AngelYanagiharaAngelYanagihara Temporary Suspension
    This Sting Stopper is a compounded formulation of multiple technologies I have developed into one long lasting marine stable grease like substance specific for ocean use. I have it in other bases also. It contains compounds that inhibit tentacle discharge. I have video taped live box jelly on my arm with or without sting stopper with pressure. It also includes my fast acting technologies to inhibit venom, i.e. treat stings. (It is not accurate to use the word "anti venom" these flatly do not work with box jelly venoms of any sort because the venom active agent is far to fast to be neutralized by conventional antibody based "antivenom")
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    edited September 2013
    I will answer questions but I would prefer to only answer questions from fully knowledgeable people who have themselves been stung by box jellies as I and others have.
    Dr. Yanagihara, this caveat is like us preferring "to only answer questions from fully knowledgeable people who have themselves" swum a marathon swim.

    Thank you Niek. I had not read those items. Those blog entries are internally inconsistent:

    First Feeding Since Storm
    2:00am Monday September 2, 2013. Swim time: 41:00
    Reported by: Candace Hogan
    Diana came in for the first time since we've resumed formation, for a feeding.
    Diana’s Condition Report, First Light
    Monday, 7:30 a.m., Swim time: 46:31
    reported by: Katie Leigh
    When the whistle blew for Diana’s first feeding stop since before midnight,
    Doc, it is important to note that the blog post "First Feeding Since Storm" didn't appear on the blog until a few days ago, after the phone call in which swimmers questioned the apparently-untrue 7.5 hour spell of no water/feed on night two. How were we supposed to know that she did, in fact, get water and feed on night two? For that matter, was there only one feeding on night two, the one at 0200? So then she went another 5.5 hours w/o feed or water, 40+ hours into the swim?

    Something tells me the answer to that is No. But, as has been stated here many times, none of us know for sure because of the selective reporting on this monumental swim. If the observer logs had been published unexpurgated from the earliest possible time after the swim, many of our questions might have been answered. (And yes, observers are supposed to note when a swimmer feeds, how long it takes, how much they took in, etc. At least, that's this non-channel marathon swimmer's understanding of the duties of an observer.)
  • SharkoSharko Sonoma County, CAMember
    My Fellow Sharks et al,

    I swim because it is my meditation…it clears my mind and the movement feels good in the body…Marathon swimming on the other hand, for me, is about transformation…getting to the other side…it is something I am compelled to do without knowing the precise reasons…..I don’t swim for adulation but I do enjoy the camaraderie of a community of like minded swimmers that find the same joy. The mental challenge of the swim is what calls me…and I think others as well. I think the reason that the DN swim is bothersome to me and other marathon swimmers is the questionable ethical standards with which this swim may have employed. Our whole society is dealing with the issues of ethics such as the Lance Armstrong and some unethical Wall Street people ….I feel that our swimming community wants to keep swimming clean and ethical….(I would hope this is the direction our society is heading). I swim because I want to and sometimes need to….I don’t need or want to self promote…If someone self promotes…ok…but if someone self promotes with questionable or unethically behavior then that resonates negatively with me…Many of the comments on the marathon swimmers forum relate to ethical standards (honesty) so I believe that this resonates with others. I don’t believe the swimming community will let go of this swim issue until the ethical questions are answered.
    "I never met a shark I didn't like"
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013

    I find it flatly unethical for anyone to encourage you all or your peers knowingly to swim into harms way simply for the sake of ENGLISH CHANNEL rules. I find this monolithic focus wrong headed given the realities of the FL Straits.

    This is a frustratingly persistent misreading of this discussion.

    Very few here, if any, would fault DN's swim for not adhering to English Channel rules, per se. For instance, a stinger suit would not be allowed under EC rules, but I think many marathon swimmers see the stinger suit as a geographically-reasonable (and non-performance enhancing) protection against dangerous jellyfish. After all, Penny Palfrey's Cayman Islands swim and nearly-successful Straits of Florida attempt were widely celebrated by this community, despite her use of a stinger suit.

    The assisted/unassisted debate is about physical contact, not the stinger suit. Penny Palfrey clearly demonstrated it is possible to put a stinger suit on without physical assistance. Therefore, DN's physical contact with her crew isn't about safety & protection - it's about making the swim itself easier.
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    edited September 2013

    Integrity of a set a rules verses integrity of athleticism in a hostile environment. She did the later, solidly, ethically and heroically.

    For the x time I ask which rules? Provide us a copy.
    Ethical? Sorry not how I see it.

    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer Admin
    edited September 2013
    It's been over a week and I haven't had much time for writing. I should have put this into the public domain earlier, since it was important in my role in the review panel so apologies for the delay, I went to Dover immediately afterwards. I don't regret the questions, only that I could have waffled on less when asking them. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm off the Christmas card list. I have a recording of my questions (but you can't hear the answers, I'll put them up somewhere as soon I can.

    There are many including myself who have repeatedly wondered why DN didn't publish her rule-set for the various attempts.

    I opened my questions in the second round with asking, in a too-long fashion; why Diana Nyad didn't set out to maximise transparency, especially as unlike all of us, it had a commercial aspect. As part of her equally long answer (because there were other aspects also) she said the marathon community hadn't reached out to her.

    So I contradicted this in two ways. I asked about an email to her 18 months previous by a member of the IMSHOF. That email is below (all typos are the original, I haven't touched it). I also mentioned that some of us had been contacted by her Twitter account for our input on the famous heat drip device. DN said she (a journalist) had nothing to do with the Twitter or Facebook accounts, that was handled by a member of the team.
    3/05/2012

    to dnyad, Penny, Steve

    Steve mentioned that you will probably wear stinger suits on your Cub swims.

    In our wonderful open water world there is always the chance of some "traditional" open water folks sending messages to the google groups or getting quoted saying adverse things about the swim suit.

    There are several ways to deal with this:

    1. Just ignore it

    2. Have a few of us prepared with quotes to fire back - example:

    Ned Denison: "The debate on what is allowed in open water swimming has been raging for years and will continue to rage for years. I have been in discussions in the past with a small group of swimmers who want to bring it down to basics: naked, no goggles, no cap, no ear plugs, no grease, paddle or sail (ONLY) escort boats, no feeds during the swim, no whiteboards or verbal discussion/encouragement from the crew and no GPS. Yes, this would make a swim more difficult, but it dramatically increases swimmer risk. She agreed, in advance, a set of rules in line with all the major federations with the addition of a non-bouyant stinger suit. Due to the length of the swim and the nature of the jellyfish
    in those waters it was a reasonable safety (not speed enhancing) measure. The vast majority of open water swimmers, pool swimmers and public out there are applauding and inspired by the success."

    3. The other idea might be for me to pull together a new Cuba to Florida swimming association (non-fee collecting !) this week (!) which would adopt these rules and sanction the swim.

    I would be happy to be a member....and would ask folks like Kevin Muphy,Nick Adams, Forrest Nelson, Scott Zoring and Ram Barkai to join the board. With a weight of TOGS only (well known) characters...we might scare away any nay-sayers.

    Any views?

    DN's response was that she was unaware of such an email and (fairly) asked who the anonymous person was. At that point, given the media, I said I'd share it with @Munatones privately.

    However since he is happy for me to publish his name, the person who wrote the email was @Ned Denison, IMSHOF Honour Administrator, well known to very many of you, certainly to almost all the Channel swimmers. @Ned also, as you can see, copied the email to @Munatones and @PennyPalfrey, both of whom responded. @Munatones was apparently sitting beside DN when I asked this and when DN said she couldn't respond to an anonymous person. Apparently she does use email, because yesterday @Munatones sent her email address to the panel invitees and "virtually introduced" us to use his phrase.

    Therefore it is demonstrably a fact, that Diana Nyad's assertion that the community never reached out to her, is not true for at least two instances.

    I'd also like to address something referred to here & elsewhere that is equally important.

    Last week's panel was NOT the idea of the invitees from the forum or of anyone on this forum. We didn't force Diana Nyad into anything.

    We asked questions and people started to listen, where previously they didn't.

    We didn't force it or even suggest it, nor were we in any way involved in organising it. I suggested to @Munatones that as the only "international" voice, two far more qualified and far better known UK Channel swimmers than I be invited, but they both declined.

  • Dr Yanagihara -
    I do believe that your concern about people always advocating EC rules is valid. In fact, I asked that question on 5 August of this year:
    http://www.marathonswimmers.org/forum/discussion/568/is-advocating-channel-rules-always-a-responsible-position#Item_11

    It has also been discussed in terms of rash guards and the like in other threads. (BTW, in the above thread I referred to you as "Dr. Angel Whats-her-name" - no offense meant. It also has a question that you might be able to answer if you are so inclined.)

    Perhaps it would help if you thought of what is going on in this forum WRT Ms. Nyad as something that you are familiar with in academia: peer review of something to be published.

    In essence, Ms. Nyad's swim is being peer reviewed and, admittedly, there are times when the reviewers are less than gentle and maybe even rabid or irrational or just have brains full of jellyfish toxin from their last swim. However, in the publication review process there are certain standards of disclosure of research that are expected, standards of accountability, standards or reproducibility, standards of data quality, etc. If these are not met, you are asked to revise the paper or are rejected outright. I am sure you went through a similar process when you did your Ph.D. thesis, maybe you even had the dreaded sadistic b@st@rd on your Ph.D. committee that needed to torture you a bit. (I hope not.) Then, based on the perceived importance of the results - and God knows what else - a paper is published at some level. So, not every medical paper gets into The New England Journal of Medicine, some go into less prestigious publications. (A quick aside: When I was in the Penn State math grad program, we had a retired professor, Dr. Theresa Cohen, who was still publishing at 95+ years of age. They weren't the most prestigious journals, but the departmental "heavyweights" thought she was God.)

    To extend the analogy to Ms. Nyad's swim, I think a summary of the imaginary review committe might be:
    1) The rules that this was to be done under were, at best, hazy before the swim. It is fairly standard in this "discipline" for people to declare the rules they will swim under beforehand. It should also be noted that this was point of contention after her attempts before this last one.
    2) The existence of the extremely fortunate and rare ocean current led to data that was highly unexpected and caused doubt. Assuming this has been cleared up, it isn't an issue.
    3) The mention of 7+ hours without feeding also caused doubt as it is pretty much unknown in the sport. Assuming that it was an accidental incorrect entry, it isn't an issue.
    4) The use of streamers, stinger suits, people touching, etc is not included in what this discipline usually calls an "unassisted swim." (This is similar to the "original work" one does to get a Ph.D. - There is no exact standard that defines this, but it does arise out a common consensus.)
    5) There was, and perhaps still is, a general feeling of lack of transparency/timeliness to the whole process. Again, this goes against the what is usually done in this discipline. If anything, most marathon swimmers will be all too happy to regale you with hours of stories about some really nauseating bodily functions while you are trying to eat at the post-swim party that many races have.

    Therefore, I will go back to my last post and say that as long as the three conditions hold that I mentioned there, Ms. Nyad seems to me to certainly deserve her "Ph.D." in the discipline of "Swimming Cuba-To_Florida, Assisted Division."

    -LBJ
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • This Sting Stopper is a compounded formulation of multiple technologies I have developed into one long lasting marine stable grease like substance specific for ocean use.

    Any idea of how it compares in terms of durability in the water as compared to sunscreens like SolRx? If it's better, please license it to the sunscreen companies.

    -LBJ

    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
  • She went from point A to point B without touching a vessel, without any flotation aid, without any forward propulsion aid, she walked out on her own power.

    By golly... I think we're beginning to get a definition of DN's Rules.

    At this point, frankly I am horrified that human health and safety are placed below "rules" from a very different body of water.

    Uh... Dr. Yanagihara... This is what we do. With nothing more than a speedo, cap and goggles, we immerse ourselves in an aquatic environment and attempt physical feats that present countless manners of discomfort, injury or death. Maybe you should be introduced to some of our Ice Swimmers.
  • Dr. Yanagihara's "frankly I am horrified..." comment defines a kind of cultural gulf that we probably cannot bridge. Most marathon swimmers have internalized a set of standards (which @ssthomas clearly and eloquently described) that non-marathon swimmers may never make sense of. If danger exists, why can't we bend the rules a bit in order to ensure a swimmer's safety?

    Marathon swimming is, of course, never entirely safe and is sometimes outright dangerous. Marathon swimmers accept that. I haven't been around the sport for awhile, but I'll never forget when John York stopped breathing on a Catalina double-crossing attempt (and came back the next year, not in a wetsuit but with the usual textile suit, cap and goggles--to shatter the record); or when David Yudovin's heart stopped while attempting the Santa Barbara channel--after which he went on to an illustrious career full of many unassisted swims. Lynne Cox consistently swims in water that would do in most mortals. All with textile suit, cap and goggles. All with the knowledge that touching a boat or a support person ends the swim.

    That will probably always seem crazy to non-marathoners. To me, it's just the rules we live by.

    -Daniel
  • AngelYanagiharaAngelYanagihara Temporary Suspension
    @ danslos, Fair enough! But I hope I don't sound too much like an armchair powder puff. I am a serious scuba diver (~ 200 dives/yr) and routinely dive off shore at night filming and catching box jellies while tiger sharks and aggressive oceanic sharks buzz by sometimes deliberately bumping me. (This causes my husband to routinely have me signing off documents...). I have been in life threatening situations and I have dealt with loss of life. I am passionate about maximizing my time on in near or under the ocean! I have all kinds of certifications and training. I am by nature cautious and overly prepared despite my drive to push all kinds of limits.
    So I think I understand. Yes there may be a cultural divide here but I at least feel I hear what is being said by this community. And again I have the greatest respect and admiration for you all!
    My point is perhaps better put in the context of a classic risks and hazards model. One cannot remove all risk from an extreme sport. There are concrete well known risks- dehydration, hypothermia, exhaustion etc. The risk assessment model would look at the probability of encountering risks and either take steps to mitigate/avoid (drink water) or plan for response (hyperthermia-remove the swimmer etc). The other side of the coin is hazard assessment. One does want to be aware of hazards but these are the wild cards. Studying the environment to become knowledgeable of potential hazards is key. Mitigation and avoidance or response plans are crucial. The magnitude of the loss together with the probability of the hazard should dictate the degree to which the hazard is addressed. In the case of the FL Straits the probability of encountering highly dangerous cubozoans is very high over the course of 110 miles and 50-80 hrs of swimming. I would guess it to be at least 95%. The magnitude of loss is also very high with severe utterly debilitating pain being 100% and serious medical sequelae ~50% and with death possible. Given these realities, I think the bravado of a speedo for the sake the purity of the sport is ill advised. It seems some forum members think if it cant be done in a speedo it should not be considered. Others have expressed the opinion that Penny's stinger suit was OK. (So then the fine point becomes the limited touching for tape etc) I think perhaps only Diana, Chloe and Penny should make the rules for this body of water. But again I have to wonder how Chloe got the impression that a Speedo would be sufficient. I think it would be like having Olympic runners do a marathon in a rattlesnake infested desert at night. I do not think having Olympians in the hospital with snake bite wounds serves any aspect of athletic accomplishment. I feel the same about box jellies.
    I stand to be informed by your considered discussions. I do appreciate the candor of this forum. And yes LBJ I have pretty thick skin after all the "peer review" that comes with academic research!
  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    edited September 2013
    @AngelYanagihara Others have expressed the opinion that Penny's stinger suit was OK. (So then the fine point becomes the limited touching for tape etc)
    What you may see as a fine point I see as a blunt end.
    You make it look like a point with an 1x1 pixel dimension . My point/end measures at least 1000x1000 pixels.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • I think it would be like having Olympic runners do a marathon in a rattlesnake infested desert at night.

    In that analogy, I think the runners would lobby to run in a different location. Or they could ask for pogo sticks to avoid the snakes: but then it wouldn't be called running anymore, it would be called something else, like Olympic Snake Hurdling.

    That's the point: if it's so dangerous to complete it as an unassisted swim, maybe it's not worth doing. If you change the rules in order to complete it, it should be called something else. That's the reason the designations "assisted" and "unassisted" even exist.
  • AngelYanagiharaAngelYanagihara Temporary Suspension
    @Niek, OK understood. Your perception is 1000x1000. You and others have made clear that the limited contact (tape application etc) invokes the EC ASSISTED categorization. I am not sure that the public will buy into the argument that a few moments of contact for prudent safety measures equates to "assisted" as in wearing fins and having a cage momentum for 110 miles. But here is definitely a point at which I propose we respectfully agree to disagree!
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