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.

Continue reading →

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.

Continue reading →

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
  • 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.

Continue reading →

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.

Continue reading →

Diana’s GREAT Surprise, part 2

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

Billions of Gallons of Sewage Can’t Be Wrong

I was in graduate school for Comparative Literature at NYU in 1975 and when I came back to school in the fall, after a summer on the world marathon swimming circuit, such as the annual swim across the Bay of Naples, from Capri to Naples, Italy...

Nyad may or may not have gone to NYU, but she did swim the Capri-Naples race the summer of ’75. It would be her last time: she finished fourth of seven women, 14th overall—not the best evidence for her “greatest long-distance swimmer in the world” claim (see “Nyad’s Promotional Materials”).

Continue reading →

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 more lies.
Continue reading →

Diana Nyad’s Manhattan Project, part 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!.
Continue reading →

Diana Nyad’s Manhattan Project, part 1

Diana Nyad’s transparent and greedy Manhattan lie–“I was the first woman to swim around Manhattan Island”–gives us the key to understanding all of her deceptions.

Fearless fish and jelly.
Photo by Richard Wonka via Shutterstock

Diana Nyad returned to Manhattan on Saturday for the New Yorker Festival’s Fearless!: Life on the Edge. The panel–arranged by a highly respected magazine, occurring on the island of her most obvious lie, consisting of three genuine articles and one fraud–provided an indicator of the success of Nyad’s deceit. Despite her decades of deception, she took the stage unabashed. She recited stories that she has often parroted in other venues. Only a few in the audience knew that they sat in the presence of one of the greatest sports cheaters in history.
Continue reading →

The Great Swim

A great read about the race to become the first woman to swim the English Channel, THE GREAT SWIM costars Mille Gade, 2nd to swim the channel (and to circle Manhattan). And then there are the touching bits.

512zC3AHGbL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The English Channel is the closest thing we have to a Mt. Everest of marathon swims, contrarians notwithstanding. I recently finished The Great Swim, a book about the summer of 1926, when four American women went to Europe, all wanting to become the first female to conquer their Everest. It’s a fascinating story well-told. The author, Gavin Mortimer, also writes of the aftermath–how being first nearly destroyed the life of the young and unworldly Gertrude Ederle.

Continue reading →