When Nyad Went National

Dan Levin’s “She Takes a Long Swim Off a Short Pier” gave Diana Nyad her first national exposure and foreshadowed decades of deceit.

When the December 6, 1971, issue of Sports Illustrated appeared on newsstands, Diana Nyad’s marathon swimming career consisted of three pro race finishes out of five starts. Yet, by the end of the first paragraph of “She Takes a Long Swim Off a Short Pier,” author Dan Levin had declared that Nyad, the “pretty distance swimmer . . . with honey-colored skin and built like a Greek goddess” was “the best woman distance swimmer in the world.”

Nyad was, in fact, already the best at something, but it wasn’t marathon swimming.

Here’s more nonsense from Nyad’s national debut:
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