110 miles, 53 hours: Questions for Diana Nyad

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  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member

    To those people, I say, F-U.

    Nice, @Woodkayaker. Way to keep this thread free from negativity!

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • I am sad that she was actively rooting against other swimmers. That is awful.

    I am sad that her kayaker was so rude here. That didn't help anything.

    I am sad that the independent observers were part of her xtreme dream team.

    I am sad that she has time to talk to everyone in the media but no one in her sport. I can see why she wouldn't come to an anonymous web forum. But why not release a public statement along with her swim data. If I had done something like this I would just release the captain's log and the observer's journals and put an end to the questions.

    The whole thing makes me sad. I was one of the last people who accepted that Lance Armstrong was doping. I kept thinking there is no way he could possibly have done that. I feel myself fighting the same internal battle here.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    I can see why she wouldn't come to an anonymous web forum.

    Most of the posters here are not anonymous

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • True.
    Sarah Quesen, Pittsburgh PA.
    Lover of open water, aspiring distance swimmer

    But given DN's access to the media (she had a social media boat!) why not just release the data and give a statement. Is this harder to do than I think it is?
  • I understand @woodkayaker is "outa here"... But if he is still lurking (or anyone else from DN's Team), I was hoping he could answer these two questions:
    1) How much was he paid to be a member of DN's Team?
    2) What kind of Contract / Agreement did DN have him sign?
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    As long as we're compiling questions, here's another:

    Where was the GPS tracker located? Presumably on a boat? Which boat?

    And: Was this boat always in the general vicinity of Ms. Nyad?
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    edited September 2013
    Data!

    This time I got my Downton Abbey out of the way first. Then dug in to Diana's course.

    If you aren't familiar with the Firebug extension for Firefox, you'll love it. It lets you see the code for pieces of web pages, and makes tracing javascript dependents much easier. It was through this that I came across the raw data from DN's home page tracking map. (www.diananyad.com/swim/currentswim and www.diananyad.com/swim/mapdata)

    After some time spent formatting the data, moving it from text file to .csv to .kml, I was able to plot it in Google Earth and verify that currentswim is the data the Xtreme Dream team presents as her actual course. (See Figure 1).

    image
    Fig 1: KML plot of DN's map data next to the guesstimate I proposed earlier this week.

    Knowing that this is in fact the right data, I dug into the 471 coordinates it provided.
    Given the large number of points, I'm assuming this was automatically collected and therefore should be at equal time intervals. 471 points, 53 hours, 6.75 minutes per point. After calculating the local distance per degree in each direction, I could work out how far the tracker moved per time interval, and then graphed that (Figure 2). To account for those unusual readings we all get when using a GPS, I've smoothed it to a 6-interval average (about 40 minutes?) and that shows up in dark blue.

    image
    Fig 2: Plot of data from dyananyad.com. 0.8 km/pt correlates with roughly 7.1km/hr

    So reading this graph, I'm asked to believe that Diana swam 27 hours at her normal pace, picked up some speed the first morning as the Gulf Stream moved in her favor (that's what her diary says), and then BAM! nearly triples her speed as she begins complaining about lung discomfort. She holds an amazing pace for the next seven hours, through the second night's squall with shark divers flippering their fastest to keep up with this rocketing swimmer until dawn, and then...we're back to a nice normal pace as the sun rises on her final day.

    So what about currents? Did she get a current assist to the tune of 3mph? Did she manage to swim for seven hours at a pace thrice what I hold on a killer two hour sprint-distance pool set? So far, no one has found anything convincing to say she did. So far, all anyone has found is something saying she got pushed east a bunch (See Figure 3), which would not give her anywhere near this advantage.

    image
    Fig 3: Screen shot of currents during her swim. They head due east.

    When I came up with this last night, I was skeptical. I emailed the data (excel sheet included) to R and E (both on this forum, feel free to give a wave hello if you'd like), asking them to check glaring errors and offer their informed input. I'm glad to send to the same sheet I used to do my calculations, but the beauty of all this is: the data came directly from the Diana Nyad team via their website. You can go straight there if you want and look at it. Then come back here and let us know if you've got a different opinion.

    My mind is made up, but I'm still having trouble coming to terms with it. However, in the absence of ANY other data to back up Diana's claim, well...what else can I think?

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    edited September 2013
    @Malinaka...

    Wow.

    loneswimmer.com

  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member
    edited September 2013
    OMG. I think I love Malinaka....

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    malinaka said:

    Data!

    ... this is why geeks should rule the world.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • RonCollinsRonCollins Clearwater, Florida, USAMember
    Well done, Andrew. Everyone, keep in mind that the SECOORA date is not a model, but rather a real time reading of actual currents. You can also get data via the ocean color sensor (VIIRS) on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite.

    Ron Collins Clearwater, Florida DistanceMatters.com

  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member

    malinaka said:

    Data!

    ... this is why geeks should rule the world.
    For the non-geeks here, what are the different color lines again, @malinaka.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    @ironmike: The colors are:

    Green, red, cyan: my unfounded guess at how she may or may not completed the swim (from a previous post of mine above). Not relevant to this post, other than to show the evolution of my thought process.

    Orange: the KML generated by the data found on DN's site.

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • Whatever your thoughts on this issue (I'm sure all of y'all could guess where I stand), it is even more apparent that we all MUST ensure each and every swim we do that has the potential to go down into any record book (even if no record was broken) includes an independent observer and access to his or her report.

    And also, @malinaka is a frickin legend.
  • firebahfirebah Charter Member
    Haydn said:

    For a Guiness World record, you have to apply to Guiness before your event. They will usually expect the event to be done in accordance with the rules of the governing bodies and will expect the governing bodies observers to ratify a success. Many events (my World Record EC first backstroke swim) won't interest them, they said because the Channel had already been swum. I expect they would say the Cuba swim had already been done too. Although the mileage of Diana's swim might be a new open water distance record, although easily beaten by downstream river swims.

    The best she can hope for is a world record for an 'assisted' swim. Her swim cannot be compared to the existing world record set by Penny Palfrey since Diana opted to be touched throughout her swim and Penny was never touched by her crew or touched any members of her crew as per all accepted channel federation rules.

  • @Malinaka -
    Nicely done. Very nice, indeed.

    I am, however, a bit uncomfortable with the conclusions which are predicated upon the assumption that the data points are of a uniform time interval. Your thought process in reaching that assumption is reasonable, but since a person's reputation is on the line, I'd personally feel better KNOWING that was the case. Also, a 6 point moving average (or similar) is good for GPS "jitters", but wouldn't help much with varying time intervals, especially if there were extended periods with, say, shorter time intervals followed by longer time intervals, etc.
    Like I said, very nicely done and certainly adds more pressure for a full disclosure, but I am still not 100% comfortable. (Not that it's anyone's obligation to make ME comfortable, but the "opposition" could potentially seize on this.)

    -LBJ

    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • This has nothing to do with the doubts raised here. However, a lot of the newsmedia refer to her as Diana Nyad *grandmother*.
    Pretty sure you need to have kids (who then go on to have kids) to be a grandmother. I never heard that she was on the procreational side of the playing field. Unless this is a sponsored war orphan somewhere?

    Also, @malinaka AWESOME!!!
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    Some insightful, objective reporting from Outside Online:

    http://www.outsideonline.com/news-from-the-field/Doubts-Surrounding-Nyads-Cuba-Florida-Swim.html

    According to noted journalist Daniel D. Snyder: "Haters, as they say, will hate."
  • sylmarinosylmarino San FranciscoMember
    Loving me the Malinaka data!
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    Older women are routinely referred to in the media as grandmothers regardless of their reproductive status. I don't know whether Nyad (or perhaps her partner) has had children / grandchildren, but it's much more likely that the lazier parts of the media are just using it to signal contrast with age / gender expectations.
  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    evmo said:

    Some insightful, objective reporting from Outside Online:

    http://www.outsideonline.com/news-from-the-field/Doubts-Surrounding-Nyads-Cuba-Florida-Swim.html

    According to noted journalist Daniel D. Snyder: "Haters, as they say, will hate."

    I would add: "LOL."

    So, they just take others' reporting and re-report it?

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    @IronMike - yeah, but they did add the part about haters hating, so there's that...
  • smithsmith O-H-I-OMember
    Malinaka just might be the long lost third child of the great debunker, Richard Feynman.

    Lactate is for wimps.

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    Diana - or someone using her account - Diana's Facebook account posted the following response to my posting of Andrew's analysis:
    Hello, folks...I'm befuddled....breaking what rules? Getting help to get through a current? Have no earthly idea what you're talking about. We did not break one rule. I never of course touched a boat or another person. Swam out in the open sea the entire 53 hours. Nothing breaking the current. I wouldn't even know how to go about doing that.We have submitted two independents overseers comprehensive and accuracy observation notes from the entire crossing. Those will be judged by the auspices of the sport and different record keepers. Trust me, this dream too important to me to have any slight thing outside the fair, just, ethical and agreed-upon rules of our sport. I am an honest, straightforward person. Never been anything but. Every attempt I've made has been by the rule books. And now this successful crossing was done in same fashion. With all due respect, diana.....but, by the way, by all means, ask me direct questions....you will be answered respectfully and with precise accuracy
    Also, if it's the time that has you doubting, listen, I have had so much bad luck in terms of conditions of this quest. Roiling eddies in the Gulf Stream. The Stream screaming to the East.
    This time, although the seas were rough so we weren't so lucky, wind-wise, the Stream was our friend from almost the beginning of our entry into it. You get lucky if the Stream tilts toward a NE axis, instead of due East. But for us the Stream Gods smiled, at long last, and we had an axis that pointed close to due N. Yes, I got lucky. But that's the way all extreme endurance endeavors go. You get the summit Everest day when there isn't a drop of wind....or you don't. I've tried and tried for 35 years to make this crossing. Never had all conditions in my favor. Most experts on this swim agree that no swimmer is ever going to get the many conditions to cooperate all at once and that's why it would never be done. Can you fault me for sticking with it and finally, finally, getting a Stream that was in my favor? Believe me, there was plenty of wind and wave action, not so lucky on that front. But what should we do to swimmers who got out in waters where sometimes the tides or currents or winds do such and such, other times the opposite?
    The records only valid if the conditions are deplorable as possible???? Thank you for listening
  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    edited September 2013
    We have submitted two independents overseers comprehensive and accuracy observation notes from the entire crossing. Those will be judged by the auspices of the sport and different record keepers.
    Auspices of the sport? What does that mean?

    Different record keepers? Who are those?

    And how does she explain the pictures of people helping her get into her stinger suit?
  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter Member
    And to whom did her "overseers" submit these notes? I'd love to read them.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    edited September 2013
    @timsroot, I assume "Auspices of the sport" means the same as last year's "This has been approved by the sport of open water swimming".

    I recall Lance Armstrong and Irish journalist Paul Kimmidge, once of the handful of journalists who pursued Armstrong, and Armstrong's humiliation & bullying of Kimmidge in front a press conference. No other journalist demurred.

    I also recall the last time DN used the term "respectfully" was just before the attacks on reputable swimmers here on her forum, as I mentioned above.

    Expect the stakes to be raised, the words more shrill, the attacks against haters to increase. Luckily we have hundreds people of unsullied reputation here.

    And here's a video for @malinaka. He gets to pick which one he is.

    I think it'll be Han.

    loneswimmer.com

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited September 2013
    This was my response (I really would prefer the discussion take place here on ms.org rather than on my personal Facebook page):
    Hello Diana. Thank you for your comments. I have re-posted them over at marathonswimmers.org, a global community of fellow marathon swimmers who are fascinated with the details of your 53-hour adventure - and probably more knowledgeable than any other group about what goes into such an undertaking.

    http://www.marathonswimmers.org/forum/discussion/606/110-miles-53-hours-questions-for-diana-nyad/p4
    I believe many of the questions would be clarified by the public release of reports and data from your observers and navigators. It would also be interesting to hear you expand on the phrase "agreed upon rules of our sport" - what specifically do you mean by that?

    Of course, I don't presume to speak for the community. If you cared to join the Forum, we would all welcome your contributions respectfully and gratefully.
    Is that fair?
  • @evmo. Yes.

    loneswimmer.com

  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Outside Online is championing for an older, openly-gay athlete. Can't fault them for that, and can't fault them for resenting some of the early posts on these threads, which were laced with acid and ad-hominem remarks. I do hope the well-researched, factual posts get addressed by Diana's team soon. It'll be good for her, for all of us, and for the sport.

    What I would like is for someone friendly-but-cool-headed person to approach her and invite her to the forum, where we can all have a conversation about this with no vitriol and preaching. After all, even if there's a benign explanation for all of this, wouldn't it be useful for all of us to know more about anti-jelly salves and helpful currents?
  • @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.

    loneswimmer.com

  • ZoeSadlerZoeSadler Charter Member
    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
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    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 IrelandAdmin
    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.

    loneswimmer.com

  • 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 San Francisco, CACharter 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 Westchester County, N.Y.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 OregonCharter Member
    evmo said:
    Until they start quoting me, don't pay any attention to the stories on these online rags.
  • IronMikeIronMike Arlington, VACharter 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.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter 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?
  • ZoeSadlerZoeSadler Charter Member

    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.

    loneswimmer.com

This discussion has been closed.