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It takes a village to support a swimmer across 103 miles -- a rotating crew of about 30 individuals ranging from shark divers to drivers to a single, sleepless navigator. No more than 10 will be on the main boat at any one time, though. On a recent training swim, espnW got a chance to ride along with the following half-dozen crew members.
The job: Head handler. Stoll is responsible for regulating Nyad's fuel and hydration, the application of Aquaphor to help with chafing and goggle swaps as the light changes from day to night.
How she got the gig: Stoll has been Diana's best friend for 30 years.
The job: Head navigator. Marchant guides the boat, navigating Gulf Stream currents, changing tides and any weather conditions that could arise at sea.
How he got the gig: Marchant grew up in the Bahamas and lives in St. Maarten, where Nyad did much of her training, and he's spent much of his life at sea. His wife, Maya, also happens to be the childhood friend of a close friend of Nyad's.
The job: Captain of the drivers. Her job of steering the boat involves complete focus: compass, swimmer, compass, swimmer. If she's told to go 95 degrees, it has to be 95 -- not 94, and not 96.
How she got the gig: Maya was a friend of a friend of Nyad's, and when Nyad tapped St. Maarten as her training ground, they were introduced.
The job: Driver. Sollinger alternates driving shifts with Maya Marchant. For the full swim, two additional drivers will join the pair.
How he got the gig: Sollinger and his family, who also live in St. Maarten, met Nyad in an airport. She told them what she was doing, and they were hooked. Sollinger helped to get Nyad set up with a hotel during her training in St. Maarten, and offered many a home-cooked meal.
The job: Documentarian. Wheeler is making a documentary, titled "The Other Shore," about Nyad.
How he got the gig: He's a filmmaker and graduate of the University of California's Berkeley School of Journalism, as well as Nyad's nephew.
The job: Owner of the boat that will accompany Nyad, Voyager I.
How she got the gig: Her boat could go slowly enough to move alongside Nyad, and she didn't mind them making some modifications to it -- such as moving the steering wheel to allow the driver to better see Nyad in the water.