How to Prove that You Swam 100+ Miles

Are you interested in proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that you completed a very long swim? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Diana Nyad says that she swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida. Sarah Thomas asserts that she swam 104 miles in Lake Champlain.

Before you attempt to join the 100-mile club, use this handy chart to compare the way these two very different athletes went about bolstering their claims. [Update, 12/31/17: Added “including an accurate list of all crew members” to AFTER THE SWIM section.]
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Reykjavik Dune Buggy Assn. News

Some excerpts from Helen Dudar’s “Diana Nyad’s Magnificent Obsession.”

Cover of New Times magazine, June 26, 1978.

I had been itching to get my hands on this article for months. The L.A. Central Library has New Times on microfilm, so I finally gritted my teeth and struck off down the 10. Turned out to be worth it just for the dune buggies. [Update: I can’t believe that I forgot to include the most egregious, self-serving, and grandiose bit. See the Gertrude Ederle quote below.]

“Diana Nyad’s Magnificent Obsession”
page 1 | page 2 | page 3 | page 4 | page 5 |page 6

Some highlights:
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Diana Decides to Forget Half of Her Life

After years of writing and talking about herself, Diana Nyad misplaces three decades.

On a recent episode of the “Wild Ideas Worth Living” podcast, host Shelby Stanger asked about Diana Nyad about her expulsion from Emory University, an incident that Nyad has recounted numerous times. Surprisingly, she claimed that she had little memory of her teens, twenties, or thirties. She concluded, “…I don’t remember Emory at all.” Below are some excerpts from Nyad’s remarks. (For the full passage, please see “Diana Nyad on her memory.”)

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Questioning Diana’s Decade of Dominance

Diana Nyad has hyped herself for years by saying that she was the greatest marathon swimmer of the seventies. But she was never in the race.

Countless articles and websites hawk variations of “Back in the 1970s, DIANA NYAD was the greatest long-distance swimmer in the world”  (LiveTalks LA ). You can find other iterations broadcast widely over online and print media: TEDWoman Fails in Attempt…,  Nyad’s website, etc.

We can trace this fiction back to two sources: Diana Nyad and her publicists. To paraphrase the great swim coach Doc Counsilman in “Go For the Gold, Doc,” Nyad was a mediocre swimmer who conned the public into thinking she was a great one.

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No Escape!

Nyad adds to the monumental epic-ness of her Cuba-to-Florida “swim” by claiming that she hadn’t swum a stroke in 30 years. But she swam at least 2237 strokes in the 1996 Alcatraz Sharkfest.

Diana Nyad has stated numerous times that she didn’t swim a stroke for 30 years before beginning training for Cuba-Florida, version 2.

From FIND A WAY, p. 117…

The dream was still alive for me now, at age sixty, but I hadn’t swum a stroke in thirty years.

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Diana’s Op-Ed Goes Live

The New York Times Opinion section’s Facebook Live event with Diana Nyad on Saturday left plenty to talk about. I’d expect nothing less from a storyteller of Nyad’s caliber.

Diana Nyad’s conversation with Alicia Wittmeyer of the New York Times is the most disturbing thing I’ve heard from her. That’s saying a lot given the quantity of Nyad material that I’ve listened to in the last few years. The smugness, the fluidity of truth, the Trumpian rhetoric—it’s all there. But now she’s using her own alleged abuse to latch on to others’ horror in order to satisfy her own needs.

Nyad’s stories often shift from telling to telling. This time was no different. Continue reading →

Addressing Diana’s Op-Ed

Nyad’s recent piece in the New York Times contains a number of inaccuracies that cast a shadow over the validity of her allegations.

All quotes come from Nyad’s article unless otherwise noted.

1. 1964 — Location of meet

"That summer, our school hosted the state championships. It was a big deal, and I was a star in the middle of it all. In between the afternoon preliminaries and the night finals, bursting with confidence, I went over to Coach’s house for a nap."
photo courtesy of www.seefloridago.com
  • Nyad could not have napped at her coach’s house between the prelims and the finals. Nyad’s school, Pine Crest, was in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In 1964, the state meet took place in Gainesville, over 300 miles away.
  • Pine Crest could not have hosted a state meet or a championship of any kind in 1964. The school had only a four-lane 20 yard pool and no diving well.

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Diana’s GREAT Surprise, part 3

The final entry examining Diana Nyad’s bizarre response to being caught in her Manhattan lie.

Chicago Tribune front page, August 7, 1926, the day after Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel.

Nyad Invokes Ederle, and All is Lost

After being recognized as the first woman to swim around Manhattan in both highly regarded press and swimming circles...

Diana, Diana, Diana: we’ve been through this already. It never happened.

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Diana’s GREAT Surprise, part 1

The first of three entries examining Diana Nyad’s bizarre response to being caught in her Manhattan lie.

In 2011, CNN caught Diana Nyad lying about being the first woman to swim around Manhattan Island. In response, Nyad did not apologize for—nor even acknowledge—her deception. Instead, she posted a blog entry full of excuses, justifications, irrelevant information—and many more lies.
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Manhattan Project 2: The Titanium Cap of Will

Nyad’s “Fearless!” performance contained much of her usual crowd-pleasing poppycock, but she hit the mother lode with her original take on protective headgear.

Tom Terrific and his non-titanium thinking cap.

As per my previous post, Diana Nyad appeared on the New Yorker Festival’s Fearless!: Life on the Edge panel on Saturday, October 7. Except for her religious conversion (see below), I heard nothing new…with one important exception: Ms. Nyad’s “Titanium Cap of Will.”

I hadn’t planned on writing anything about the event, but a Titanium Cap of Will? All quotes below come from Nyad at Fearless!.
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