September 11th, 2013
11:19 AM ET

Diana Nyad Calls Swim 'Squeaky Clean'

A full-throated defense from Diana Nyad as she went head-to head with her critics Tuesday. CNN's John Zarrella reports.

The 64-year old swimmer said her historic Cuba to Florida swim was "squeaky clean" despite questions from skeptics.

The athlete put it bluntly saying, "I swam, we made it our team, from the rocks of Cuba to the beach of Florida in squeaky clean ethical fashion."

In the days since she walked out of the water after swimming 110 miles, a current of questions has been flowing.

Could her speed have nearly doubled at one point? Did anyone touch her? How could she have gone for hours without food or water.

On the conference call with more than a dozen peers who will decide the legitimacy of her swim, Nyad was adament.

Nyad: "Never ever grab onto the boat, the kayak, the escort boat; grab onto another person for any kind of flotation or support. Never get out of the boat, wear flippers."

Nyad's navigator described how they picked up a current that had them moving nearly four miles an hour for several hours on the second day. That's how and when her speed nearly doubled.

When asked about reports she had gone for hours without food or water, she said she never went more than ninety minutes.

However it is the issue of her suit that protected her from deadly jellyfish that still puts her record into play.

Getting into that suit required duct taping her booties and gloves and that meant she was touched, but never supported, she said.

" handlers grabbing my ankles. I was on my own steam entirely but I was touched. I agree with it."

If the group determines the suit and the touching meant her swim was assisted, that could nullify her record as the first person to make the journey without a shark cage.

A co-founder of the Marathon Swimmers Forum and a marathoner himself, Evan Morrison, was on the call.

Morrison said, "She acknowledged that her crew touched her when she was putting on the jellyfish suit, and I know she feels that was necessary, but I personally feel that puts it in the category of an assisted swim."

Now her peers must decide if Nyad's swim was, as she said, fair and square.

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