In search of the truth about Diana Nyad



Lottie Moore Schoemmell


Overview of Schoemmell’s Life and Career

Swimming/Recalling Lotty [1895-1966] (by Ray Bellande, Ocean Springs Archives)


1926, Sep - Becomes 3rd Woman to Swim Around Manhattan

Breaks Manhattan record (New York Daily News)

Breaks Manhattan record (Oakland Tribune)


1926, Oct - Swims Hudson River from Albany to Battery


1926, Nov

  Time Magazine


  Profile by Virginia Swain

“Claims She’s Male’s Superior” (includes photo with her children)
Description of her plans for an English Channel double; her belief about why sharks don’t bite Black people; why women are better swimmers than men; etc.

“Freezing Waters Bring No Chill Of Fear” (same as above)


1926, Dec - Lottie Crosses the Delaware


1927, Jan - Wrigley’s Catalina Race


1927, July - Lake George Marathon


1927, Sep

“A WOMAN in the SWIM,” by Elaine William (Occult Digest), via—and with thanks to— Elaine Howley.


Note: The photo above right purports to show Schoemmell about to enter “the choppy waters of the English Channel.” Since she never attempted to swim the English Channel, the magazine’s publishers or Schoemmell’s publicist probably added that detail.


1928, Apr - Floats


1928, Jun 8 - Sued


1928, Oct - Sets Record

1929 - Gone fishin’

1930, Feb - Teaching Excercise In Miami



B.V.D. Tour


1930, Apr - Chicago/Detroit

Davis Company

Davis Company (part of large ad)

Lafayette Theater, Detroit (with Howard Thurston)


1930, May - Detroit/Milwaukee/Pittsburgh


1930, June - Baltimore/New York

“The Value of Fame”

From a column that appeared all over the country, including Honolulu. Full of nonsense. For instance, the author (Frank Getty) writes that Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to cross the English Channel “after weeks of training.” He also implies that Schoemmell made a killing from her public appearances and swims.

to swim at Bay Shore

swims Craighill Light To Bay Shore Park

to speak at The Hub . . . of Charles Street

swims Battery to Coney Island

Battery to Coney Island (photos)

Battery to Coney Island

on Joe Copps, Lottie Schoemmell’s promoter (about Ohio)



End B.V.D. Tour???


1930, Jul-Aug - Working at Lake George


1935-1937 - Teaching swimming in Miami


1945, Working in Houston


1946, May - Splash Day 5-Mile Race in Galveston


1946, Jun - Teaching swimming in Biloxi


1955 - Physiotherapist


1959 - Harold Schoemmell Meets Diane Struble And Sets Her Straight


1962, May - Planning Catalina attempt

Says she’s 62. According to 1900 and 1910 U.S. censuses, though, she’s about 67.

“[T]he greatest woman swimmer in the world”

“Great-Grandmother Eyes Swim to Catalina”

“Woman to try distance swim”


1966, Aug - Dies in Miss.


1967, Will



Start of the Wrigley Catalina race, January 16, 1927. Lottie Schoemmell unwraps on the left. Via Chattanooga Times Free Press.



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I am indebted to Ray Bellande of the Ocean Springs Archives for his interest in Lotty Schoemmell, for discovering many of the articles above, and for unearthing Schoemmell’s “Swimmingly Yours” BVD publicity photo.



Click on images for complete versions and more info.


Schoemmell becomes third woman to swim around Manhattan. From The Sciotto Gazette, 23, September 1926.



Schoemmell and her shark knife. From Philadelphia Inquirer, 16 January 1927.



Schoemmell with son Harold and unidentified woman, 28 Aug 1928. From City of Toronto Archives.



Signed “Swimmingly Yours, Lotty Moore Schoemmell.” From Columbus Metropolitan Library, via Unholy Slacker at FindAGrave and Ray Bellande.