Diana’s Disappearing Ink

The first pattern that emerged from the “110 Miles…” discussion on the Marathon Swimmers Forum was Diana Nyad’s policy of active un-engagement.

Don’t Rock the Boat

Diana and/or her handlers must have calculated that their craft already rode so low in the water that any movement might swamp it. So Diana either does not engage with skeptics; or, when she momentarily forgets herself and does engage, she quickly erases the evidence, pretends nothing happened, and hopes that the boat stops rocking.

For instance, in the days after her crossing, she responded to some doubters on Facebook. Her response quickly disappeared, though its memory lives on in “110 Miles….”:

Ron et al…Please allow me to join all of you and respond with each and every question and concern you have…. I of course intend to be 100% open to any of your and others’ valid probing into the accuracies of our historic crossing.[1]

Here’s another deleted Facebook comment, also memorialized in “110…”:

Hello, folks…I’m befuddled….breaking what rules? Getting help to get through a current? Have no earthly idea what you’re talking about.

And who can forget Nyad’s petulant, dissembling Manhattan mea semi-culpa (which you can still find in the Wayback Machine):

…imagine my mind-boggling surprise…to hear that there were in fact one or maybe two or maybe even as many as half a dozen women who did swim around Manhattan back in the early days!!!!! [2]

Nyad’s heat drip discussion exists,
I swear it!

Finally, Diana deleted an entire conversation about her “heat drip” invention. We know that the conversation existed because she refers to it in a separate discussion that she also tried to remove:

I actually do appreciate so many of you weighing in with your opinions on the Heat Drip action we are perhaps planning on using for moments of hypothermia on the way across from Cuba….(“Response to Heat Drip Dialogue,” Wayback Machine, 20 July 2012)

Who weighed in and what they weighed in on, we may never know. Clearly, Diana and her advisers thought it best to try to limit the haters to hating amongst themselves:

There are a couple that are still haters. Every day, every day, they’re on Facebook, [they’re] calling me that they don’t believe I ever swam around Manhattan Island. They don’t believe…they think I’m an absolute fraud and I’ve never done anything I’ve said I’ve done. What can I do? They have some power with the internet, and I just don’t respond anymore. (45:38, “Diana Nyad: Find a Way,” Politics and Prose, pub. 30 Oct 2015)

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Nyad in Neverland: A Brief Timeline of the Highest Ideals

9 July 2012
Nyad blogs the following announcement:

“Diana”, A WIGS Real documentary now playing! (Wayback Machine)

At about four minutes into that documentary, Nyad claims to be the first woman to swim around Manhattan. She hasn’t told this lie on camera since her “mind-boggling surprise” of June, 2011. [3]

20 July 2012
Nyad posts the “Response to Heat Drip Dialogue”:

…Let me first say that I certainly hope that all of you out there know of my pedigree for many years in this sport. I have always upheld the highest ideals. It is the champions who achieve under the purest circumstances whom I respect…..and I have always, proudly, fallen into that category. (Wayback Machine)

23 July 2013
Three days later, in a comment that you can still find in situ—probably because all of the other commenters vigorously support Diana—she writes:

…I will do the right thing. I would never sully all the effort my Team and I have given to this historic Quest…just as I would never disrespect the sport that has taken me through so many athletic and life adventures. Thanks, everybody. (Facebook)

However, in May of 2012 an extended profile of Nyad appeared in Elle magazine. The author, Rivka Galchen, wrote:

Diana decided to try swimming around Manhattan. This had been done a few decades earlier by men but never by a woman. (“The Hunger…,” 25 May 2012)

Nyad apparently did not attempt to correct the error, going on to repeat it a few months later. So we can conclude that Diana’s “mind-boggling surprise”—and her “joy and pride in honoring all great women athletes of all eras”—lasted less than a year.

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Up next: Not all is lost.


Notes

1. Facebook threads on Morrison’s page around the time of the crossing have no remaining responses from Nyad. The most likely discussion in which Nyad posted is this one: “Did any of the journalists covering Diana Nyad….” If you click “View 28 more comments,” you’ll see that Ron Collins wrote one of them, hence Diana’s “Ron et al.”  RETURN

2. Diana did, however, leave the following untouched: “Before Cuba, way back in 1975, the swim that made my heart race was Manhattan. I was the first woman to circle the island…. (Facebook, 26 Aug 2016) RETURN

 

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