Nyad now swimming against tide of skepticism - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Nyad now swimming against tide of skepticism

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BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX) - Swimming against a tide of skepticism. 

Diana Nyad will meet with fellow endurance swimmers Tuesday in the face of questions about her record-breaking swim from Cuba to Florida. 

One of those skeptics questioning the legitimacy of the swim is Team USA Swimming coach and chair member Sid Cassidy. "In my gut, I would be very surprised to learn she did the entire swim unassisted," said Cassidy. 

Cassidy, who also heads the swimming program at St. Andrews High School, questions a gap charted by Nyad's crew. It is a roughly seven-mile stretch when Nyad apparently did not stop to eat or drink. "I don't know if it's humanly possible to do what some of her crew is asserting she did -- that whole swim without any assistance," said Cassidy. 

The South Florida endurance swimmer and coach is not alone. 

There are hundreds commenting on posts on Facebook and throughout various swimming blogs. 

Many swimmers also questioned the speed at which Nyad was swimming. "It was very possible that she would have got a boost at a part of the swim if she were at the right place at the right time, which seems very likely," said Villy Kourafalou, an oceanographer and researcher at the University of Miami. 

Kourafalou specifically studies the Florida Straight. 

She said by the looks of her computer models, Nyad was most likely pushed by an "eddy" or strong, circular current. "There may be other situations where I have doubts from the oceanographic point of view, where I would say 'Gee, this would have been very difficult'.  But this is not the case," said Kourafalou.

Sid Cassidy said he hopes the swim and record is true. He said he first wants to see the data and Team Nyad prove the swim. "I guess anything is possible, but I have a hard time believing she did it," said Cassidy. 

A spokesperson for Diana Nyad released this statement: "Diana is proud of what she and her team accomplished last week, and she is committed to complete transparency," wrote Alexandra Crotin, a spokesperson.

Nyad is set to meet with the endurance swimming community on Tuesday.

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