All The Lies She Could Not See: TIME’s “Deeper Story” Behind NYAD

Diana Nyad says her lies are “ancient history.” A recent TIME piece proves otherwise.

In an August Los Angeles Times article, Diana Nyad says her fabrications are “ancient history.” However, a recent TIME item demonstrates once again that you shouldn’t believe a serial liar when she says she’s stopped lying.

From “What Makes Diana Nyad Swim? An Absolutely Killing Ambition,” The Village Voice, Jane Shapiro, 2 Feb 1976.

TIME journalist Alice Park told “The Deeper Story Behind Netflix’s Nyad” by asking Diana Nyad questions and believing her answers.

First, though, Park shows she misunderstands the fundamental controversy regarding Nyad’s crossing:

Marathon swimmers remain divided over whether the swim was “unassisted” or “assisted.”

Only a few marathon swimmers — if any — cling to the “unassisted” myth, but we do disagree on whether she completed the crossing under her own power.

[NYAD:] “I understand why someone might be rankled if they don’t get any recognition for all of that training and achievement.”

What rankles marathon swimmers — most of whom don’t thirst for wide recognition — is that the most recognized person in the sport is a serial liar who cares little about marathon swimming beyond the self-aggrandizement she can extract from it.

In an effort to bring more formal recognition to the sport, five years after her swim, Nyad requested that WOWSA ratify, or recognize, the accomplishment in some way. WOWSA, however, did not ratify swims then, and because there were no official procedures for such certification, Nyad says she was never told that she needed to provide documentation for that recognition.

WOWSA did recognize swims then — at least one before Nyad’s swim and many afterward. See “Certifiable.”

And Nyad knew she had to provide documentation. In a since-deleted Facebook post saved by Evan Morrison, who also transcribed it in its entirety here — Nyad wrote:

We have submitted two independents overseers comprehensive and accuracy observation notes from the entire crossing. These will be judged by the auspices of the sport and different record keepers.

Also see the “Sports Authorities” section of “Diana’s GREAT Surprise, part 2: More Of Nyad’s Manhattan Effluent.”

“I didn’t write blogs”

One thing I wish I had done earlier, and regret not doing — I didn’t dive into the marathon swimming world, I didn’t write blogs or get on the websites of various organizations. I just went about my business, got a team together.

Nyad began blogging by 2010. She stopped in 2016.

Her website no longer links to her blog, but you can find archived versions of many of her posts, including on ESPN’s site: Diana Nyad’s blog: The final days before the swim.

Examples of Nyad’s blog from

July 3, 2010 – “Diana – through the eyes of her best friend”
September 17, 2010 – Diana’s email to the team!
April 12, 2011 – Diana, Bonnie and the Manatee
July 1, 2011 – Bonnie sports our team t-shirt
August 8, 2012 – On Her Own Two Feet
September 3, 2013 – Community Videos
April 3, 2014 – My Turn on DWTS
October 6, 2014 – The Oprah Experience
October 14, 2015 – My New Memoir
March 29, 2016 – American cars in Havana

One of my favorites:

June 10, 2011 – “History Rewritten….to my GREAT Surprise!”

Rather than admit she lied about being the first woman to swim around Manhattan, she spends 850 words making excuses for an easily disprovable lie.

. . .

Diana gets away with telling so many blatant lies because 50 years of nonstop lying has trained people never to question her fabrications. Speaking of which:

That dream began when Nyad, as a 9-year-old living in Fort Lauderdale through the Cuban Revolution and influx of Cubans fleeing to the U.S., asked her mother why she couldn’t see Cuba from the beaches of Florida. Her mother told her it was just over the horizon, close enough that as the competitive swimmer Nyad already was as a young child, she might actually be able to swim there someday.

Nyad probably fabricated that entire story, but it’s difficult to prove one way or the other. However, it’s easy to show that Nyad didn’t begin training as a competitive swimmer until she was 11 or, more likely, 12. See “Never The Same Way Once: Age Of Onset.” Also, see the video, “Age Of Onset: When Did Diana Nyad Start Swimming?”

[Nyad’s] a touch self-centered

Nyad’s a raging narcissist. Maybe Park was being facetious. See “NYAD’S LIES, PART 2: Obviously the Greatest — Diana Nyad and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”

Nyad acknowledges that she can come on strong, and attributes that in part to a coping mechanism for dealing with sexual abuse by her swimming coach when she was a teen.

Park may be referring to the Los Angeles Times article where Nyad says:

Never to explain it away [which she proceeds to do — Ed.] but as I look back now, it’s somebody who had some trauma as a teenager,” Nyad says of herself at that time. “And I do think that there was some level of self-aggrandizement that I resorted to, you might say as a coping mechanism.

See also:

Well, you know, never to denigrate any of the great swimmers [which she proceeds to do — Ed.] — male, female, young, strong—who have tried this what we call the Mount Everest of the earth’s oceans. Of course, they are people of fortitude. But why did none of them come back a second time? (Diana Nyad, Neuronfire podcast, 5:47 Clip)

When Nyad begins a statement with “Never to,” that’s a tell: The statement will be a lie. So, when she uses her alleged abuse to explain her anger and abrasiveness, she’s lying.

At least one member of the open [water] swimming community has taken pains to document apparent contradictions or inaccuracies in Nyad’s claims about her accomplishments.

Most, if not all, of the lies I document are actual contradictions, not “apparent” ones. Lies, in other words. For instance,

  • “I broke the world record for the 100-meter back stroke.” She never came close.
  • “I swam in the North Sea a few years back, a race down the Dutch coast that took me 40 hours and 3 minutes.” She never completed such a swim.
  • “I was the first woman to circle [Manhattan] island” She was the 7th.
  • “Thousands of four-foot squid were feeding in a massive frenzy, literally grabbing birds out of the air.” Squid don’t do that, literally or figuratively.
  • “None of us had reason to imagine [the Cuba] swim would be anything more than a private enterprise.” It should be evident by now that Diana Nyad wouldn’t think of undertaking a significant swim without publicity.

For her part, Nyad says the controversy surrounding her swim doesn’t take anything away from her accomplishment. “I’m human, I don’t like being talked about negatively.”

That’s true! Diana Nyad’s a con artist, and con artists hate it when people expose their lies. See “NYAD’S LIES, PART 3: An Expert Planter of Beliefs—Diana Nyad, Con Artist.”

Unfortunately, most journalists can’t bring themselves to call Nyad what she is: A serial liar and a charlatan. They remain content — as do the makers of  NYAD — to enable the greatest fraud in the history of marathon swimming.


2 thoughts on “All The Lies She Could Not See: TIME’s “Deeper Story” Behind NYAD”

  1. Whoa ! Lots of animosity here, too much in my opinion. My personal knowledgge with Diana was the Oceanside Marina setting in Key West where she had her ”crew”, I believe her third attempt, fourth attempt and fifth successful swim.
    I was involved fortunately the final swim as a ”team member” . I was brought in as one of the many qualified (USCG 100 ton,sail aux) captains to run one of the 7-8 vessels that made up the ”team”. My vessel a catamaran , was the vessel that had the kayak crews aboard and made the rotations of the kayaks successful . We had to make sure the kayak crews were rotated, equipment working and much more. We had the foremost jellyfish scientist aboard and doctor . I was given at one time the title of “Fleet Captain”. My one response as Fleet Captain came when a thunder/electrical storm showed itself in our path forward, winds picked up, I put the word out on VHF radio that a ” safety concern” regarding this storm was within our safety protocol and that we should prepare… I then called out to all Captains that it was time to enact protocol, separate kayaks from Diana, vessels should move away from any possibility off collisions between vessels , Diana and any safety/shark swimmers, all went to plan, storm passed , calm prevailed and the routine of the swim continued, feel free to ask me any questions regarding the vessels, crews and movement we made towards the Keys….Capt John O Duke

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