SI Vault
Edited by Andrew Crichton
October 21, 1974
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October 21, 1974


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The biorhythm theory originated before the turn of the century in—where else?—Vienna. Believers hold that from the day of birth human lives move in predictable undulations involving the three separate cycles. People go from plus to minus on a curve and it is when they are on their downs that they should stay in bed and pull the covers over their heads. Foreman's three cycles will be downers on Oct. 29 but, according to another UCS, Inc. graph, the same is true of Ali's, only more so. The prognostication is for a mauling fight, with Foreman achieving an edge, unless the challenger finds a way to throw a new curve into those bio-rhythmic graphs.


For a brief second there, an international incident seemed to be brewing. After checking into Moscow's Hotel Rossiya, Team Canada member Pat Stapleton complained to Manager Bill Hunter: "My room is bugged."

Hunter, horrified: "How do you know?"

Stapleton: "I can see them running around the bathroom."


"Really, it's the most boring thing I've ever done." The speaker was Neal Watson, and he was describing his training for the latest—and one of the hairiest—assaults on a category in the Guinness Book of World Records. Already holder of the world depth record for scuba at 437 feet (he claims six people have died trying to break it), the 34-year-old Watson is planning a 150-mile underwater swim from Islamorada in the Florida Keys to West Palm Beach, where he owns a nightclub. He will follow the Gulf Stream about 10 miles offshore.

To get ready for his ordeal, Watson strung a half-mile long rope in 30 feet of water off the Bahamas and swam back and forth for six to eight hours a day until bad weather drove him to his pool, where he resumed the daily marathons. "I've been training for six months," he said last week. "Mostly it's conditioning your legs and your mouth to hold the mouthpiece, getting used to the mask, strengthening the tendons and muscles behind the ankles. You run out of things to think about down there and your mind can wander. You have to learn mind control."

One thing Watson thinks about a lot is the peril of sharks. "I'll have to swim one complete night and perhaps part of another. The Gulf Stream is probably the most shark-infested area in the world. That's where the shipping lanes are; the water is warm and the ships throw out their garbage in that area. The sound of boats attracts sharks; they're also attracted to light and I'll be swimming with lights at night."

The expedition, which is being directed by former Astronaut Scott Carpenter, will get under way Nov. 15, weather permitting. It has been postponed twice. Watson calculates it will cost about $50,000 and hopes to make that back with a movie or TV special and product endorsements. There will be a 65-foot charter boat trailed by a support boat pulling a 6-foot-by-7-foot shark cage.

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