Perhaps it was inevitable: Minutes after Diana Nyad, the 64-year-old marathon swimmer, landed on the shores of Key West, succeeding in her fifth attempt to swim the straits from Cuba, fellow swimmers unleashed a barrage of censure and doubt.
Swimmers asked, Was she truly unaided during all those hours in the open sea, with only her crew observing? Based on her GPS data released by her team, how did she manage to swim nearly 53 hours, crossing 110 miles, considering that her average speed was 1.7 mph at the start and end of the swim? And were her two handpicked independent observers truly independent?
In the week since Nyad arrived in Key West to international acclaim, apparently becoming the first person to swim the 110-plus-mile route without a shark cage, doubters have multiplied, taking to marathon swimming websites and other places online to criticize Nyad's methods and her team's transparency and to raise questions about the veracity of her claims.
Nyad said she was not surprised by the questions and criticisms.
"I'm an absolutely aboveboard person who never cheated on anything in my whole life," Nyad said. "When someone does something they've been trying to do for a long time and you know how difficult it is, it's only logical. I hope they're not questioning if I'm an honest person.
"They want to know how the facts came down so they can understand it. They have every right to ask all these questions, and we have every intention to honor the accurate information."
Nyad's team said in a statement that she planned to meet today "with her peers in the swimming community . . . to answer all their questions directly."
The biggest source of grousing pertains to Nyad's speed and distance covered and the amount of push she got from the currents. Her previous Cuba-to-Florida attempts were undone by bad weather and uncooperative currents, which tend to sweep eastward toward the Bahamas.
The graphic at left explains the questions raised by one of Nyad's doubters and shows an explanation of how the Florida Loop Current could have boosted Nyad's prospects this time around.