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Team defends Nyad from swim skeptics

Diana Nyad faces questions about whether she accomplished her Cuba-to-Florida swim honestly. (Associated Press)
Diana Nyad faces questions about whether she accomplished her Cuba-to-Florida swim honestly. (Associated Press)

Swimming: Diana Nyad’s 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida has generated positive publicity and adoration for the 64-year-old endurance athlete – along with skepticism from some members of the small community of marathon swimmers who are questioning whether she accomplished the feat honestly.

On social media and the online Marathon Swimmers Forum, long-distance swimmers have been debating whether Nyad got a boost from the boat that was accompanying her, either by getting in it or holding onto it, during a particularly speedy stretch of her swim. They also question whether she violated the traditions of her sport – many follow strict guidelines known as the English Channel rules – by using a specialized mask and body suit to protect herself from jellyfish.

“When you know how hard it is, you kind of want those details,” said Andrew Malinak, a Seattle long-distance swimmer who crunched the data available from the GPS positions tracked on Nyad’s website and concluded that he didn’t trust what he saw.

Nyad’s navigator and one of the swim’s official observers told the Associated Press that Nyad didn’t cheat and that she was aided during the rapid part of her swim by a swift current. And neither Nyad nor her team ever said she would follow English Channel rules, developed for swimming the waters between England and France. Those rules outlaw neoprene wetsuits and contact with a support boat.

Nyad’s progress was tracked online via GPS by her team, and some critics say they think information is missing.

Many wonder about a roughly seven-hour stretch when Nyad apparently didn’t stop to eat or drink, recalling her 2012 attempt when she got onto the boat for hours during rough weather.

The data collected by navigator John Bartlett and two observers will be submitted to three open-water swimming associations and the Guinness World Records for verification, Bartlett said.

Texas fires Diaz after dubious team record

College football: Texas fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz a day after one of the worst defensive performances in the history of the program.

Longhorns coach Mack Brown announced the move in a statement Sunday, and says that former Longhorns defensive coordinator and Syracuse coach Greg Robinson will replace Diaz.

BYU ran for 550 yards, the most ever allowed by Texas, in a 40-21 victory against the Longhorns on Saturday night.

Longhorns, Trojans out of Top 25: Texas and Southern California have dropped out of the Associated Press college football poll after ugly losses and Miami jumped in at No. 15 after its biggest victory in a while.

Alabama is still No. 1 after an off week. Oregon is No. 2. Clemson moved up a spot to No. 3 and Ohio State slipped one to No. 4. Stanford remains No. 5.

The Longhorns came into the weekend ranked 15th. Southern California was No. 25 before a 10-7 loss at home to Washington State.

Miami is ranked for the first time since November 2010.

NASCAR looking into spin at Richmond

Motorsports: NASCAR is reviewing evidence to determine if Michael Waltrip Racing attempted to manipulate the outcome of the race that set the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field.

NASCAR President Mike Helton said that race control did not believe Clint Bowyer’s spin with seven laps remaining at Richmond was suspicious.

It brought out a caution with Ryan Newman leading Saturday night and poised to claim the final berth in the 12-driver Chase field. That set in motion a chain of events leading to Bowyer’s teammate Martin Truex Jr. earning the final berth and Newman losing both the race and a spot in the Chase.

An ESPN replay that included communication between Bowyer and his team implied the spin was deliberate.

Victory extends Vettel’s lead: Sebastian Vettel withstood a tricky start from the pole position to win the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Italy, and extend his championship lead over Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who finished second. With seven races remaining, it looks increasingly likely that Vettel will clinch a fourth straight Formula One title.

Buescher takes Trucks race: James Buescher took control during a second green-white-checkered finish and held on to win the NASCAR Trucks series race at Iowa Speedway in Iowa City, Iowa. It was the second win in four races for Buescher, the defending series champion.

Hurricanes fire son of team owner

Miscellany: The Carolina Hurricanes fired the son of team owner Peter Karmanos Jr. four days before the start of the NHL team’s training camp.

The team said Sunday that it had relieved Jason Karmanos of his duties as executive vice president and assistant general manager, but no reason was given. Peter Karmanos said in a statement issued later Sunday through a team spokesman that it was “a family matter” and declined further comment.

Nibali retains Vuelta lead: Alexandre Geniez won the grueling 15th stage of cycling’s Spanish Vuelta, ending with a summit finish in his home country of France, while Vincenzo Nibali fended off his rivals’ attacks to retain the overall lead.

Oracle earns first victory: Oracle Team USA came flying out of the fog around Mark 4 and outraced challenger Emirates Team Zealand in a heart-stopping sprint to the finish to win Race 4 of the America’s Cup by 8 seconds on San Francisco Bay. It was the first victory of the regatta for Oracle. Team New Zealand won Race 3 earlier Sunday.

Semenya dominates in 800: Caster Semenya showed she’s back with a dominating win in the 800 meters at the Rieti World Challenge track and field meet in Rieti, Italy.

Walter Dix of the United States won the 100, and Sally Pearson of Australia dominated the 100 hurdles.

In the hammer throw, Krisztian Pars of Hungary took the men’s event and Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland won the women’s event. Irina Gordeyeva won the high jump.

France advances at Euros: San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker scored 28 points to lead France past Ukraine 77-71 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and into the second round of the European basketball championship.

Finland advanced by eliminating Russia with an 86-83 win in double overtime.

Italy stayed perfect after four games with an 81-72 victory over previously unbeaten Greece. Both teams advanced.

In Jesenice, Serbia beat Latvia 80-71 to advance.

In Celje, Ricky defending champion Spain beat winless Poland 89-53.

In other games, Bosnia-Herzegovina beat Macedonia 62-54 in Jesenice, and Britain eliminated Germany with an 81-73 victory in Ljubljana.