Report on the Diana Nyad Cuba-Florida Swim (2013) Issues Index

Introduction:

This report provides an overview of the issues surrounding the 2013 Cuba-Florida swim. It serves as a reference to specific sections within the Nyad Report. For in-depth information, please consult the corresponding sections in the main report.

Background:

Document Submission: A document was presented in 2022 for ratification, claiming to represent the rules of a non-existent organization, FSOWSA, titled “Proposed Florida Straits Open Water Swimming Association (FSOWSA) & Florida Strait Rules” with a copyright date of 2011. (see photos in section Timeline of Rules)

The authenticity of this date is implausible, given that the concept of an official FSOWSA was only proposed in May 2012. (see email suggesting Cuba to Florida swimming association 13 May 2012 in Safety Section) This association was never established.

a) The document with a 2011 inaccurate copyright mentions an individual who did not swim the Florida Straits until 2013. (Refer to Part 2 Timeline section) FOWSA).

Rules and Regulations: The swim in question deviated from traditional English Channel (EC) rules. When the official was queried about this, it was stated in 2022 that the swimmer was aware of the EC rules and the exceptions to those rules. (Refer to Part 2 Timeline section) FOWSA notes).

The term “Rules of Crossing the Florida Straits” used from 2012 is misleading, suggesting an established governing body. (Refer to section Rules of Crossing the Florida Straits)

Previous swimmers had their own set of equipment and rules. Primary evidence reveals that the only rules communicated were about “never touching the swimmer while in the water and not discussing the distance covered or remaining.” (see section Observer & Navigator Logs Combined Spreadsheet)

The rules from 2013, while referencing established swimming association rules, retained the right to interpret its rules, allowing for significant deviations. A panel discussion in 2013 addressed concerns surrounding the swim. However, the promised documentation was only released in 2022. Some distinguished members of the panel included individuals from various open water swimming associations and renowned swimmers. (see section Speed Calculations)

The swimmer is quoted attempting to justify the deviation from established rules. (see section Recap)

The swimmer was not the first to succeed in this endeavor, and certain equipment was misrepresented in the data submitted for ratification. (see section Recap)

Discrepancy in Hour 40 Narratives:

During Hour 40, there’s a significant inconsistency between accounts regarding assistance provided to the swimmer behind the boat. Three different narratives exist for the same event. During the investigation, certain observer accounts were deemed more reliable than others due to missing log entries.

  1. One account states that a doctor and jellyfish specialist diver dove under the pontoon to intercept and guide the swimmer to safety.
  2. Another account implies that a handler intervened to halt the situation and guide the swimmer.
  3. An observer’s account mentions a shark diver assisting the swimmer back to a designated area. (see section Detailed Analysis)

Gaps in Observer Logs:

There’s limited photo or video evidence during specific time gaps in the observer logs from September 1-2, 2013. No log entries during two shifts from Sunday 20:20 to 1:36 AM (shift ended) 5 hour gap and 7:15 AM next shift no log to 11:39 am. (4 hour gap).(see section Observer & Navigator Logs Combined Spreadsheet)

Conclusion:

Even if the rules had been explicitly outlined before the swim, the 9-hour gap in the logs, coupled with the absence of photo/video evidence and inconsistencies in crew statements, raises significant doubts about the authenticity of the swim’s completion, making ratification untenable.

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