Yep, she-who-cannot-be-named-without-owing-a-beer-to-your-fellow-swimmers has reared her head again. Just days after NYC Swim closed its doors, shifting responsibility for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (MIMS) to the able hands of New York Open Water, Diana Nyad posted the above to her FB. Right there in black and white she states that she was the first woman to ever swim around Manhattan when, in 1975, she completed the swim in 7:57.
Only problem? She was beat to the “first woman” title 59 years previously by Ida Elionsky.
For those of you with eyes like mine, here’s the article zoomed in:
Not only was she wrong by decades, but she wasn’t even the second (or third, or fourth) woman around the island. In fact, she was the seventh. What she was absolutely honest about in that post (from only a week ago…keep that in mind) is that she did beat all the men (and women) with that sub-8 hour time. (But what most marathon swimmers understand is that MIMS is a current-assisted swim, so times don’t really reflect the speed of the swimmer; you could have a good current day or a bad current day.)
Nyad’s FB post disappeared when some commenters pointed out to her how wrong she was, but thankfully it is preserved by the magic of the internet. What’s most telling about her, integrity-wise, is this old blog post of hers, that she has also deleted from her blog but is still alive in the Interwebs:
The most important parts of her blog post is at the very beginning, where she blames her misunderstanding upon the NY Times and other publications. (Later she became a journalist…ponder that.) The BS part of this statement is that anyone who’d gone through all the work to set up a solo Manhattan swim, talking to the Coast Guard, for one, would of course research to see who else swam around the island and how fast. She’s stated many times that she’s a feminist, so one would expect she’d ask the “have any women swum around the island” question, also.
Even more important in the above is the date she posted that in her blog. Five years ago she admitted she was not the first woman to swim around the island. So why the recent FB post saying she was?
Because she’s a pathological liar! The founder of NYC Swim interviewed the boat captain for Nyad’s 1975 swim, who stated that Nyad held onto the boat during the swim. That is a clear violation of marathon swimming rules, not to mention contrary to the spirit of marathon swimming. She has a history of lying about her swims, which is why those of us with integrity are always skeptical of anything she claims to have done.
The rare times my interlocutor even knows what marathon swimming is, s/he will invariably bring up Diana Nyad. Usually the look on my face tells him/her what I think of her. If you want to understand my puke face at the mention of her name, all you have to do is read this short thread at the MSF forums. (There are other longer threads about her if you search her last name.) This thread explains why integrity is so important to those of us in the marathon swimming community. At the very least, read the first post and the definition of integrity from Sarah Thomas, marathon swimmer extraordinaire. It is worth your time.