Summary of Diana’s Deceptions

Diana Nyad perpetrated one of the greatest frauds in the history of sports, yet almost everyone—except other marathon swimmers—still trusts her. This summary of some of Nyad’s lies shows why you shouldn’t.

1. Manhattan Island
Nyad claims to be the first woman to have swum around Manhatten, but she is the seventh, a fact of which she is well aware. Timeline:

  • 1978—In her book Other Shores, Nyad acknowledges the first and sixth woman to swim around the island and alludes to the others.
  • 1981—Nyad makes first “first woman” claim. See “I swam 20 years; I had enough.”
  • 2011—CNN investigates and Nyad comes clean…sort of.
  • 2012—Nyad again claims to be the first woman.
  • 2015 —Nyad devotes a chapter of her latest book, Find a Way, to her Manhattan first.

2. The English Channel
“The only…world-class swim I had tried and failed at back in my twenties,” claims Nyad, “was going from Cuba to Florida.” In 1976, however, Nyad failed in three attempts to cross the English Channel, THE world-class swim. She was 27.

3. Olympic Trials
In her 2015 commencement address at Lake Forest College in Chicago, Nyad details her experience competing in the Olympic trials. But Nyad never swam in any Olympic trials.

4. Cuba-Florida, 2013
Nyad claims to have swum, under her own power, “from the rocks of Cuba to the beach of Florida in squeaky clean, ethical faction.” The evidence points another way:

  • OBSERVATIONS: Nyad claims that her two observers took “very specific long notes for every minute” of the swim. In fact, the observer reports contain gaping holes—including one of over 6 hours.
  • GPS DATA: Nyad’s GPS data shows an impossibly straight course. It also shows that Nyad tread water at 3-miles-per-hour during a 90-minute storm, maintaining the same pace at which she swam before and after the storm.
  • RATIFICATION: Nyad claimed that “I’m sure this swim will be ratified in due time….” Yet to date, over four years after the attempt, the swim remains unratified.
  • THE CALL: Shortly after the crossing, Nyad’s people organized a conference call with experienced swimmers. Nyad claims to have convinced all but one or two “haters” that she completed the swim without breaking any rules. However, Nyad fabricates almost everything she says about the call, and most if not all of the people on that call remain skeptical.

For details on these and other claims, see the Diana Nyad Fact Check site.