(NEW YORK) — Swimmer Diana Nyad jumped into a different kind of shark tank on Tuesday, when she confronted critics of her swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys.
The online Marathon Swimmers Forum and others charged that the 53-hour length of the swim was suspect, suggesting that the 64-year-old athlete might have held onto or actually got into one of the boats accompanying her on the record-setting journey.
Nyad, who became the first to accomplish the Cuba-to-U.S. swim without benefit of a shark tank, told her accusers in a conference call that she neither touched a boat nor got inside one during the entire 53 hours.
She also defended her navigator, John Bartlett, saying, “It doesn’t matter if we went to get Santa Claus to be the person, we trusted him. He’s got some good basics. We don’t care what his credentials are.”
It was unclear whether Nyad’s defense will quiet her critics or if they’ll continue to cast aspersions on her record-breaking swim.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com
Mayra Cuevas and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
Lisa France, CNN
Jason Hanna, CNN