Diana Nyad Fact Check



Piers Morgan Interviews Diana Nyad on CNN, 9 NOV 2013


PM: So what is your reaction to the critics who come out chopping at your record.

DN: Well, you know, I guess it's two-fold. Number one, fair enough, you set a big record like that, I mean, my God, not just me -- people been trying since 1950 to get across. It did seem nearly impossible. Most of my crew thought it was impossible.

[Um] So someone does it, whether it was me or somebody else, it better be vetted, it better be vetted you know right down to the nth degree. Was it fair? Was it fair and square? And [um] we have done that. We've provided now all our logs...that there's just no [no] doubting. It was clear that we went from the rocks of Cuba to the sand of Florida without ever touching that boat, without ever getting out on the boat, without ever using fins or, you know, anything that would be untoward. Our team is squeaky clean.

But I'll tell you the negative reaction I have to being scrutinized. That's my team. I, you know, I have my head handler, Bonnie Stoll, who's the most ethical person on this planet. Our navigator, John Bartlett, is a clear genius at oceanography. Our doctor Angel Yanagihara is the number one box jellyfish expert in the world. We had 44 people out there, and for them to be doubted that we would ever do anything against the rules of this great sport is just [um] that irks me. But [um] I think we're getting past it now.

PM: Let's go through the cheat sheet as some people are calling it, and I want your quick and firm responses to these. First and foremost, did you get any assistance, did you have anybody help you touch a boat to get a rest or anything of that nature.

DN: Never. Never took a rest. Never touched a boat. Never got out on a boat.

PM: Okay, unequivocal....

DN: Out in the...out in the open ocean the entire time.

PM: That's the first question. You couldn't have been more unequivocal. We move on. After 27 hours [did he mean 37 hours?] of swimming, you went from your normal pace of 1.5 mph to more than 3 mph, which many marathon swimmers say was deeply suspicious

DN: You know, it's just pure math. I just can't imagine. I could see from a lay public who doesn't understand currents. But from people from the marathon swimming world?

I mean, all you have to know is that you're in the gulf stream, you can pick up the navigational charts. You know, almost any website available that shows these things, and sometimes you're going with no current whatsoever. So then of course, empirically, you're just going the exact speed you swim. Other times you're going north against an eastern facing current -- now you're going with a little bit of your own speed added with a tiny bit of an eastern current.

Now, you go north with an exact current if you got lucky which I did that day. Then you add those two vectors together. So if I'm swimming at 1.7 miles per hour, and I've got a current at let's say 2.2 miles an hour, it's very easy. You add those together, and you're at close to 4 miles an hour. It's easy. It's easy.

PM: Okay.... I did see an ocean expert confirming that it was almost the perfect conditions for you, that the currents were aligned in the way that you just described....


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Compiled by Daniel Slosberg

updated 3/2/18
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