Sunday, October 6, 2013

Swimming Conditions In The Straits Of Florida

In a preliminary investigation of what is allowed and what is not allowed in solo swims across the Straits of Florida, we found the information below.

While dozens have tried since 1950, there have only been three swimmers who made it from shore to shore (Walter Poenisch, Susie Maroney, and Diana Nyad) and three swimmers who have attempted in the 21st century (Diana Nyad, Penny Palfrey, and Chloe McCardel) to the best of our knowledge. Every swimmer has apparently swum under different conditions from what we understand. Their conditions are listed below.

The range in conditions among the swimmers is vast. While Poenisch swam under the rules of the International Federation of Professional Ocean Swimmers and Divers, McCardel swam under the rules of the Channel Swimming Association.

Walter Poenisch (completed 128.8 miles in 34 hours 15 minutes at the age of 65 in 1978)

USED: Shark cage, swimsuit that does not extend past the groin or shoulders, sunscreen/anti-chafing ointment, swim cap, ear plugs, goggles, getting on boat (4 times within 5 minutes), snorkel, fins
NOT USED: Stinger suit, swim streamer, tech suit (with or without compressions panels)*, face mask, GPS technology*, Shark Shield*, neoprene/wetsuits, bubble cap, hand paddles, jellyfish ointment, flotation devices
UNKNOWN: Jellyfish screen/shield, touching, medication/supplements, drafting off boat, use of kayaks/paddle boards, shark divers

Susie Maroney (completed 111 miles in 24 hours 31 minutes at the age of 22 in 1997)

USED: Shark cage, swimsuit that does not extend past the groin or shoulders, jellyfish screen/shield, sunscreen/anti-chafing ointment, swim cap, ear plugs, goggles, drafting off shark cage
NOT USED: Porous stinger suit, swim streamer, tech suit (with or without compressions panels), snorkel, fins, face mask, touching, getting on boat, GPS technology, Shark Shield, neoprene/wetsuits, bubble cap, hand paddles, jellyfish ointment, flotation devices
UNKNOWN: Shark divers, medication/supplements, use of kayaks/paddle boards

Penny Palfrey (attempt at the age of 49 in 2012)

USED: Stinger suit, sunscreen/anti-chafing ointment, swim cap, ear plugs, goggles, GPS technology, use of kayaks/paddle boards
NOT USED: Shark cage, swim streamer, tech suit (with or without compressions panels), snorkel, fins, face mask, touching, getting on boat, neoprene/wetsuits, bubble cap, hand paddles, jellyfish screen/shield, jellyfish ointment, flotation devices, drafting off boat
UNKNOWN: Shark divers, medication/supplements

Chloe McCardel (attempt at the age of 28 in 2013)

USED: Swimsuit that does not extend past the groin or shoulders, sunscreen/anti-chafing ointment, swim cap, ear plugs, goggles, GPS technology
NOT USED: Shark cage, stinger suit, swim streamer, tech suit (with or without compressions panels), snorkel, fins, face mask, touching, getting on boat, neoprene/wetsuits, hand paddles, jellyfish screen/shield, jellyfish ointment, flotation devices, drafting off boat
UNKNOWN: Shark divers, medication/supplements, use of kayaks/paddle boards

Diana Nyad (completed 110 miles in 52 hours 54 minutes at the age of 64 in 2013)

USED: Shark cage, swimsuit that does not extend past the groin or shoulders, sunscreen/anti-chafing ointment, swim cap, ear plugs, goggles, touching, face mask, porous stinger suit with gloves and booties, swim streamer, GPS technology, shark divers, jellyfish ointment, medication/supplements, use of kayaks/paddle boards
NOT USED: Tech suit (with or without compressions panels), snorkel, fins, getting on boat, neoprene/wetsuits, bubble cap, hand paddles, jellyfish screen/shield, flotation devices, drafting off boat

Photo courtesy of Swim4Peace.

* Technology such as tech suits with compression panels, GPS, and Shark Shields were not available or in common use during Poenisch's era.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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