Is Flexibility On Sharks Ever Acceptable?

Is Flexibility On Sharks Ever Acceptable?

According to the traditional rules of channel swimming and competition, no support contact of any kind or at any time are allowed between the swimmer and any person or object (boat, kayak, paddle board, pier, floating device) in a certified swim.

The issue of what to do if sharks approach a swimmer doing a marathon swim. The first thought is safety and the athlete is usually immediately pulled from the water.

The example that comes to mind is Greta Andersen’s 17-hour attempt from Molokai to Oahu in the 1960s. A few miles off of Oahu, a team of sharks literally circled her. Her team wisely pulled her out and her swim was over to her disappointmet. It was a tough decision, but the decision was a wise one.

In the upcoming case of Diana Nyad swimming from Cuba to Florida, we know that if Diana is surrounded by sharks safety protocols will be adhered to. But what harm will be done if she is allowed to get back into the water as long as the incident is thoroughly and properly documented?

Certainly, such exceptions to the rules is not possible – or even fathomable – in places like the Catalina Channel, Cook Strait, Hawaii and the English Channel, but in a specialty swim like the Cuba-Florida swim, we are wondering if a certain amount of leeway makes sense as long as the athlete does not gain any advantages (e.g., moving forward from the spot or taking a nap onboard) and the GPS location and time spent safely onboard is properly documented.

What do you think? Express your opinion – The Daily News welcomes the debate.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones