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.]

S.T. D.N
BEFORE THE SWIM
Chose a reputable organization to oversee the swim.   √ X
Agreed on rules and put them in writing.   √ X
Had a history of recent swims that indicated an ability to complete 100+ miles.   √ X
DURING THE SWIM
Swam unassisted. ¹   X
Used experienced independent observers.   X
Kept regular and accurate logs. ²   X
Videoed swim. ³  21+ hrs. < 5 min.
Photographed swim.  4K+ images  ???
Made GPS data readily available.   X
 AFTER THE SWIM
Made all swim data easily accessible to all, including an accurate list of all crew members.  √ (here) X
Did not make confusing and misleading statements about the swim. X
Did not ask and expect the media and the public to believe without question pretty much everything she said.4 X
Who do you believe? 5

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NOTES:

  1. Nyad initially claimed that she swam unassisted and untouched. Both assertions proved false.
  2. Thomas’s observers made bi-hourly log entries throughout her swim.  Nyad has claimed that her observers made entries “every minute,” but her logs have gaps of up to 6 hours.
  3. The only available video of Nyad’s swim comes from the beginning and the end. The rest has vanished.
  4. Ms. Thomas hasn’t gotten a lot of media coverage, Sarah Thomas: the woman who swam a century notwithstanding.
  5. I know it’s supposed to be “whom,” but that just sounds silly.

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