Unless otherwise noted, all quotes come from Carole Cadwalladr’s “Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad: ‘It’s about having a steel-trap mind,’” The Guardian, 10 July 2016.
Before she started training, she hadn’t swum for 30 years.
But she had. See No Escape!
And in 2013, at the age of 64, she finally succeeded.
At the time, it seemed more like a parable than an actual news event. Her name – Nyad – is Greek for water nymph. And it affected people in ways that most sporting epics don’t.”
This may be why no one wants to ask whether or not she’s telling the truth.
I meet her in London to talk about her memoir, Find a Way….
You can find an annotated list of the lies in FIND A WAY here: From Bimini to the Big Apple…
‘In women’s sports, I think much more than men’s sports… it’s more like a family….’
Then she doesn’t treat her family very well. For example, she claims to be the first woman to swim around Manhattan Island, but she was the seventh. Clippings of the previous six here. Also see “Swim or Sink,” Mary Gordon’s review of Nyad’s first memoir, OTHER SHORES. Of Nyad’s gloating after beating the great Dutch swimmer Judith de Nijs, Gordon writes:
There is no hint that Nyad is sorry that de Nijs did badly on her last swim. I would like to think that the irritation of someone saying, ‘Vell, you’re not going to beat me,’ could at least be balanced by some sort of sisterly camaraderie. Wrong again.
Back to the steel-trap mind…
‘Now, if we’re going to cross the Channel, it’s getting closer.’
‘Most people who were stung by a box jellyfish died,’ she said. ‘Ninety per cent of people who have been touched by that tentacle of that animal die instantaneously.’
Complete nonsense. Yes, box jelly stings hurt really badly. But they don’t kill you, especially if you have medical care seconds away. Nyad was never going to die. See note #1 here:
Also see “Embroidering the Box,” with details here.
[S]he was sexually abused by the person she trusted most: her swimming coach.
She discovered, as an adult, that the coach had abused other team-mates….
After I wrote about Nyad’s op-ed, a former teammate of hers contacted me. This teammate told me that Jack Nelson had abused her. She also told me that she had told Nyad about it when they swam together. So Nyad would have known about this when she was a teenager.
The teammate’s description of the abuse sounded very much like Nyad’s own story—absent the hyperbole and lies. It was as if the teammate, a few years younger than Nyad, had confided this horrifying episode to an older acquaintance/idol. Nyad then stole the story, embellished it, and presented it as her own. It would not be the first—nor even the most egregious—episode of Nyad doing this.