“Diana Nyad’s Unspeakable Lie, part 2” included a link to a 1942 Montreal Gazette article, “Young Greek Flier Held in New York Jail.” That flier was “a handsome, aristocratic-looking young fellow” named Aristotle Nyad. According to the article, Mr. Nyad…
…had with him a clipping from the New York Tribune giving an interview as one of the many young Greeks who had stormed their consulate in New York when Greece was invaded, hoping they could get back so they could fight for their country.
Aris being Aris, I assumed he had somehow faked the clipping, not to mention that I couldn’t figure out how to access the New York Tribune archives. But when I bumped into the Gazette piece again, I decided to give Aris the benefit of the doubt and try to find the item that the Gazette referenced.
A relative in New York helped me access the New York Public Library’s research databases, which include the Tribune archives. Lo and behold, both the article and the interview exist!
The three final paragraphs are all Aris:
Nyad had apparently hit upon a lucrative ploy — “Campaign for Relief and Defense Fund” in the headline gives us a hint: show up in a Greek military uniform, solicit funds for the defense of beloved Greece, then appropriate the proceeds for the use of Aristotle Nyad. “The Canadian people do not really appear to value freedom,” Aris told the Winnipeg Free Press in 1941. But Aris very much valued his, taking care to keep an ocean and a couple of seas between himself and his benighted homeland.
Ida, Mille, Lottie, Lil, Anna, and Dianne
The Aris article was not the only Nyad-related treasure buried in the Herald Tribune archives. Have I mentioned that six women swam around Manhattan Island between 1916 and 1959? The Herald Tribune and its forebears — the New York Herald and the New-York Tribune — covered all six swimmers in articles hitherto unknown to the Annex.
Please submit the following for the perusal of reputable historians:
Swims from Albany to the Battery (9 Sep 1921)
Completes English Channel (29 Aug 1926)
Ederle race challenge/ Manhattan swim fame (29 Aug 1926)
“$100,000 offer for Ederle-Gade Catalina Swim” (31 Aug 1926)
Posts $25,000 race entry fee (4 Sep 1926)
Welcome home after EC (11 Sep 1926)
To attempt Albany-NY swim (8 Oct 1926)
Manhattan time lowered (28 July 1929)
Profile: “Distance Lends Allure…” (6 Dec 1958)
“…Police Called Out” (8 Aug 1959)
“Turn Champ’s Swim to Dry Run” (Daily News, 8 Aug 1959)
“Lady’s Not for Drowning” (Daily News, 15 Aug 1959)
“Mrs. Struble Begins…” (Troy Times Record, 15 Aug 1959)
“Mother of 3 Swims…” (Democrat and Chronicle, 16 Aug 1959)
“She Sure Gets Around” (Daily News, 16 Aug 1959)
“Diane Swims Circle…” (Daily News, 16 Aug 1959)
Editorial: “Around Manhattan the Easy Way” (17 Aug 1959)
A Tale of Two Firsts
By the time Diane Struble swam Manhattan, nineteen years had passed since the last woman, Anne Priller Benoit, had circled the island. Three items from other newspapers indicate that Struble didn’t know of Benoit nor of any of the other women who had swum around Manhattan:
All three items appeared before Struble’s swim.
To do right by his mom, Harold Schoemmell, Lottie Schoemmell’s son, met Struble at the finish, showed her a clipping about his mother’s swim, and let everyone know that his mother had been the third woman to complete the circumnavigation.
After Harold Schoemmell’s visit, Dianne Struble never again claimed to be first.
Sixteen years passed before the next woman circled Manhattan. The newcomer knew, despite the interval, that she was not the first. Within a year of Struble’s death, however, #7 started calling herself #1.
Someone should send her some clippings, but it probably won’t do any good.