AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 80: Jellyfish Stings Force Diana Nyad To Give Up Record Attempt Again

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 80: Jellyfish Stings Force Diana Nyad To Give Up Record Attempt Again

September 25, 2011


After more than forty hours and brave attempt to continue despite crippling jellyfish stings, Diana Nyad was forced to give up her second record attempt in two months to swim from Cuba to Florida.

The 62-year-old former Pine Crest swimmer was told by doctors if she encountered any more burning man o’ war stings it could prove life-threatening or cause paralysis.

Shortly after 11 a.m. on Sunday, doctors from the University of Miami told Nyad that the toxins from the stings would build up and that one more sting could cause permanent injury or even death.

Nyad’s face and body were swollen with red welts from the venomous jellyfish stings that kept attacking her Saturday night and early Sunday morning. Late Saturday night she was forced to leave the water to get treatment. She returned to the swim a little after midnight.

To help avoid more stings, her handlers made a neoprene mask by cutting eye and mouth holes through a heat cap that safety diver Rob MacDonald had used when he climbed Mount Rainier. She wore a long-sleeved pink shirt, black neoprene mask, blue swim cap and transparent goggles.

Nyad was noticeably upset over having to end her inspiring journey.

“It’s a huge disappointment,” Nyad said.

She got further than a month ago. She completed more than 67 nautical miles out of 103 miles through the Florida Straits. The strong cross currents knocking her off course was another contributing factor.

Last month, Nyad was forced to stop because of asthma attacks and severe shoulder pain and was pulled out of the water after 60 miles and almost 29 hours.

Nyad was being treated on her support boat Sunday afternoon and didn’t say whether or not she will attempt the swim again in the near future.

It was Nyad who told her flotilla of four support boats that she was listening to her doctors and added “For each of us, isn’t life about determining your own finish line? This journey has always been about reaching your own other shore no matter what it is, and that dream continues.”

Had Nyad continued, her “non-stop record” would have been amended to “staged swim record” since she was on her support boat for treatment.


World record holder Sun Yang of China made increased his stock as an Olympic gold medal hopeful at the 2012 London Olympics after his showing at the Chinese Long Course Nationals in Rizhao, China. Sun won the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:45.78 for his fourth win of the meet. His record is 14:34.14. Sun has three of the top five swims this year. Sun also won the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle events during the week-long meet. Sun told reporters, “I have much room for growth next year, and my coach has given me a goal of Olympic success.”…. Olympic butterflyer and former world record holder Geoff Huegill of Australia has a new book out, Be Your Best. In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the 32-year-old admitted abusing recreational drugs and had suicidal thoughts when his life spiraled out of control when he retired after the 2004 Athens Olympics. At age 32, Huegill is mounting a comeback. He returned to swimming competitively in 2008. He said he wrote the book so others could learn from his mistakes. “Sooner or later the truth catches up with you,” Huegill told the Telegraph. “I remained trapped because I was so ineffective in my life outside the pool,” Huegill writes in his book.” After 16 years of intense swimming, he said he had no idea of the real world. Huegill also battled clinical depression and weight gain from junk food eating. Huegill said he started turning his life around in 2007 after meeting his wife Sara.

Sharon Robb can be reached at

SOFLO’s Goldman Swims Best Times; St. Thomas Aquinas Sweeps Team Titles At Catholic States

SOFLO’s Goldman Swims Best Times; St. Thomas Aquinas Sweeps Team Titles At Catholic States

September 25, 2011


St. Thomas Aquinas swept the boys and girls team titles Saturday at the annual Florida Catholic Swimming and Diving Championships at the Orlando YMCA.

The girls team, relying on depth, won only one individual swimming event and swept the top four spots in diving to win with 598 points. Bishop Kenny was second with 372 and Cardinal Gibbons third with 302 points.

The boys team, led by SOFLO’s Brandon Goldman and other individual winners Dylan Marsolek and Alex Lilley, won the boys team trophy with 518 points.

Archbishop McCarthy, with several SOFLO boys swimmers, was second with 401 and finished ahead of third-place Cardinal Gibbons with 315.

Goldman, SOFLO’s top finisher, won the 200-yard individual medley in 1:58.64 and was also second in the 100-yard backstroke in 54.01. Both were career-best swim times.

Goldman also led off the Raiders’ second place 200-yard medley team that finished in 1:45.70.


1.St. Thomas Aquinas 598, 2. Bishop Kenny 372, 3. Cardinal Gibbons 302, 4. Bishop Moore 242, 5. Bishop Verot 131, 6. Cardinal Mooney 124, 7. Archbishop McCarthy 95, 8. Tampa Catholic 83, 9. Pope John Paul II 81, 10. Miami Pace 77, 11. Bishop John J. Snyder 72, 12. Bishop McLaughlin 49, 13. Father Lopez 20, 14. Trinity Catholic 17.


200-yard medley relay: 1. Cardinal Gibbons 1:54.28 (Jenny Zislin, Regan Byrne, Diana Rodriguez, Becky DeRogatis), 2. St. Thomas Aquinas 1:57.25 (Ashley Monaghan, Marie Borelli, Mikaela Michalowitz, Carolina Vargas), 3. Bishop Kenny 1:57.29 (Stetson Lane, Rachel Yazdiya, Lydia Ware, Michelle Craddock); SOFLO: 8. Archbishop McCarthy 2:12.98 (Cassidy Shorkey, Miranda Mila, Juliann Plasencia, Isabelle Coppee).

200-yard freestyle: 1.Michelle Craddock, BK 1:58.25, 2. Madi Zerkowski, BJS 2:02.04, 3. Emily Kissel, PJP 2:04.98; SOFLO: 8. Brianna Giordanella, STA 2:11.64, 10. Jenna Diaz, STA 2:13.28.

200-yard individual medley: 1. Emily Ramirez, MP 2:13.71, 2. Mia Fiorenzi, STA 2:17.95, 3. Regan Byrne, CG 2:22.48.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Lydia Ware, BK 24.22, 2. Becky DeRogatis, CG 24.58, 3. Sophia Oliva, STA 26.07.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Emily Ramirez, MP 57.54, 2. Lydia Ware, BK 57.74, 3. Alison Herlitzka, BM 59.98; SOFLO: 12. Juliann Plasencia, ABM 1:09.46, 16. Brianna Giordanella, STA 1:13.81.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Michelle Craddock, BK 54.59, 2. Kristen Goodson, BV 56.58, 3. Sophia Oliva, STA 56.78; SOFLO: 15. Miranda Mila, ABM 1:02.74.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Kristin Martin, TC 5:21.45, 2. Madi Zerkowski, BJS 5:22.05, 3. Meghan Zwicker, BM 5:48.79.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. Bishop Kenny 1:42.42 (Lydia Ware, Kayla Schilling, Stetson Lane, Michelle Craddock), 2. St. Thomas Aquinas 1:42.85 (Kristina Brennan, Sophia Oliva, Carolina Vargas, Mia Fiorenzi), 3. Cardinal Gibbons 1:44.12 (Lizzie Ryder, Brianna Dumas, Becky DeRogatis, Regan Byrne); SOFLO: 7. St. Thomas Aquinas 1:55.25 (Sarah Young, Brianna Giordanella, Jenna Diaz, Isabella Marin).

100-yard backstroke: 1. Kristen Goodson, BV 1:00.04, 2. Jenny Zislin, CG 1:01.93, 3. Stetson Lane, BK 1:04.24; SOFLO: 4. Ashley Monaghan, STA 1:06.02.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Alison Herlitzka, BM 1:10.09, 2. Regan Byrne, CG 1:10.33, 3. Mia Fiorenzi, STA 1:11.46; SOFLO: 4. Ashley Monaghan, STA 1:11.47, 13. Miranda Mila, ABM 1:23.84.

400-yard freestyle relay: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 3:45.63 (Sophia Oliva, Kristina Brennan, Mikaela Michalowitz, Mia Fiorenzi), 2. Cardinal Gibbons 3:52.83 (Jenny Zislin, Brianna Dumas, Diana Rodriguez, Lizzie Ryder), 3. St. Thomas Aquinas “B” 4:02.85 (Brianna Giordanella, Demetra Nakis, Ashley Monaghan, Marie Borrelli); SOFLO: 6. Archbishop McCarthy 4:13.97 (Juliann Plasencia, Laura Bentancur, Cassidy Shorkey, Miranda Mila).

1-meter springboard diving: 1. Carly Alexander, STA 284.65, 2. Amanda Habig, STA 258.25, 3. Julia Hacket, STA 237.65.


1.St. Thomas Aquinas 518, 2. Archbishop McCarthy 401, 3. Cardinal Gibbons 315, 4. Bishop Kenny 227, 5. Bishop Moore 200, 6. Cardinal Mooney 137, 7. Trinity Catholic 99, 8. Tampa Catholic 72, 9. Bishop verot 41, 10. Bishop John J. Snyder 39, 11. Father Lopez 36, 12. Pope John Paul II 24, 13. Miami Pace 18, 14. Bishop McLaughlin 6, 15. Melbourne Catholic 4.


200-yard medley relay: 1. Cardinal Gibbons 1:43.84 (Chad Moody, Ryan Rosenbaum, Charles Mahalec, Matthew Yakymiw), 2. St. Thomas Aquinas 1:45.70 (Brandon Goldman, Felipe Bricio, Alex Lilley, Jorge D’Ugard), 3. St. Thomas Aquinas “B” 1:48.17 (Max Fons, Lorenzo Cabrera, Javier Menchaca, Kyle Legg); SOFLO: 7. Archbishop McCarthy 1:49.74 (Brett Wattigney, Daniel Keegan, Kryan Nichlany, Alexander Bryan).

200-yard freestyle: 1. Dylan Marsolek, STA 1:44.92, 2. Matthew O’Donnell, CM 1:48.13, 3. Ryan Hall, ABM 1:49.80; SOFLO: 4. Matthew Gonzalez, ABM 1:53.59, 5. Kyle Desrosiers, STA 1:53.69.

200-yard individual medley: 1. Brandon Goldman, STA 1:58.64, 2. Max Fons, STA 2:08.55, 3. Kryan Nichlany, ABM 2:10.84; SOFLO: 12. Daniel Reyna, ABM 2:32.22.

50-yard freestyle: 1. Alex Lilley, STA 22.11, 2. Jacob Baraschick, BM 22.88, 3. Bryce Uzzolino, TC 22.89; SOFLO: 10. Daniel Keegan, ABM 24.55.

100-yard butterfly: 1. Kryan Nichlany, ABM 53.99, 2. John Kauffman, BK 55.26, 3. Gabriel Perez Silva, STA 55.54; SOFLO: 5. Matthew Gonzalez, ABM 57.34.

100-yard freestyle: 1. Alex Lilley, STA 49.00, 2. Cory Walsh, BM 49.75, 3. Ryan Hall, ABM 49.79; SOFLO: 8. Matthew Mila, ABM 52.23.

500-yard freestyle: 1. Ryan Rosenbaum, CG 4:38.96, 2. Dylan Marsolek, STA 4:40.52, 3. Matthew Nielsen, BV 4:59.69; SOFLO: 4. Kyle Desrosiers, STA 5:06.21.

200-yard freestyle relay: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 1:31.60 (Gabriel Perez Silva, Alexander Behnam, Dylan Marsolek, Alex Lilley), 2. Bishop Kenny 1:35.81 (Michael Liguori, Bailey Peacock, Victor Solomon, John Kauffman), 3. Bishop Moore 1:36.83 (Blake Wagner, Dominick Provost, Cory Walsh, Jacob Baraschick); SOFLO: 4. Archbishop McCarthy 1:37.15 (Alexander Bryan, JoJo Perez, Matthew Gonzalez, Ryan Hall).

100-yard backstroke: 1. Matthew O’Donnell, CM 53.70, 2. Brandon Goldman, STA 54.01, 3. Chad Moody, CG 58.12; SOFLO: 10. Daniel Reyna, ABM 1:09.25.

100-yard breaststroke: 1. Ryan Rosenbaum, CG 1:00.17, 2. Michael Crispo, STA 1:07.45, 3. Daniel Keegan, ABM 1:07.66; SOFLO: 7. Matthew Mila, ABM 1:08.58.

400-yard freestyle relay: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 3:22.21 (Felipe Bricio, Max Fons, Henry Perillo, Dylan Marsolek), 2. Archbishop McCarthy 3:25.21 (Ryan Hall, Kryan Nichlany, Matthew Mila, Matthew Gonzalez), 3. Cardinal Mooney 3:34.70 (Christopher Clark, Grayson Schrantz, Christian Rauch, Matthew O’Donnell); SOFLO: 6. Archbishop McCarthy 3:45.04 (Daniel Keegan, Nicholas Duval, Phillippe Coppee, JoJo Perez).

1-meter springboard diving: 1. Marcus Jeanty, BM 1:06.75, only one diver.   

Sharon Robb can be reached at

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 79: Diana Nyad Still Going Strong On Day Two Of Record Attempt

AQUATIC NOTEBOOK, Issue 79: Diana Nyad Still Going Strong On Day Two Of Record Attempt

September 24, 2011


Despite painful jellyfish stings and encounter with a shark, Diana Nyad is still going strong after passing the 24-hour mark of her record-breaking attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida.

The 62-year-old former Pine Crest swimmer actually got her second wind after a few anxious moments Friday night when she was stung by a Portuguese Man o’ War on her face, arms and side just two hours into the swim.

There was concern after that when her stroke count dropped to 48 per minute after averaging between 52 and 55 strokes. But as the day progressed Nyad gained a new head of steam and was past the 35-mile mark.

Nyad was taking nutrition every 45 to 90 minutes including chicken soup, bananas, pasta and bits of peanut butter sandwiches.

Her second night of swimming should determine whether she will complete her attempt, according to officials.

Nyad is hoping to complete the 60-hour, 103-mile journey without a shark cage and reach Florida on Monday.

Nyad had her first encounter with a shark Saturday afternoon. Her assistants who were updating her followers on her blog and Twitter account were the first to report her brief meeting with the shark.

“Around 1 p.m., and don’t everybody get excited here, an Oceanic white-tipped shark was spotted near Diana in the midst of the three boat flotilla,” posted her assistants. “Rob MacDonald, one of her divers, swam towards the shark, where they faced off within 10 feet of one another.”

Said MacDonald, “I guess he thought I was more aggressive than him, and he turned in the other direction.”

Without a shark cage, Nyad has equipment surrounding her with an electrical field that deters sharks and barracudas but does not harm them.

Later on in the day as the sun was setting, ten friendly pilot whales appeared in the distance just ahead of Nyad.

Saturday night about 8 p.m., Nyad was stung again by jellyfish, this time in the face and eyes. She was being treated for the stings. It was still to be determined whether Nyad would continue or not. At 9:40 she was being treated by two physicians from the University of Miami and it appeared Nyad wants to continue. Stay tuned.


While her nieces were swimming in Saturday’s Suns High School Invitational at the Nova Southeastern Aquatic Complex, former Florida Gold Coast swimmer Laura Reback Bennett of North Palm Beach and Boulder, Colo. won her third women’s title at the USA Triathlon Elite National Championships in Buffalo, N.Y.

Bennett, a 2008 Olympian, defender her 2010 title and won in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 37 seconds beating 2011 ITU World Championship Series winner Helen Jenkins of England by seven seconds.

“It is pretty special to be a national champion,” Bennett said. “Being a world champion would be even better than that. Maybe now after having a couple nationals, I can get up there with the world and stay on top.”

Three-time Olympian Hunter Kemper of Colorado Springs won a record seventh career national title in 1:48:24.

The course was a 1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run…

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong finished fifth in his first triathlon in 22 years Saturday at the XTERRA USA Championship, an off-road triathlon at the Ogden & Snowbasin Resort in Utah. The course was a 1.5K swim, 28K bike and 10K run. Armstrong got his competitive triathlon start as a 15-year-old in Bermuda and continued in South Florida as a 16-year-old at Boca Pointe and 18-year-old at the 1989 Publix Family Fitness Weekend Coca Cola National Championships at The Waterways in Aventura, where Armstrong won the men’s title by 20 seconds over the favorite Mike Pigg in 52:39.


Floridian Ryan Lochte was named Professional Athlete of the Year at Central Florida’s SPORTYS Award ceremony beating out Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic and LPGA golfer Yani Tseng. A sellout crowd of more than 400 people packed the Full Sail Live venue in Winter Park Saturday night to see the inaugural Central Florida Sports Commission event that awarded SPORTYS in nine separate categories. “You guys get ready for London and the 2012 Olympics, because here I come,” Lochte said during his acceptance speech.

Sharon Robb can be reached at