Diana Nyad: My Life After Sexual Assault


“My swimming coach was in many ways the father I had always yearned for. I met him when I was 10, and those first four years were marked by a strong mentor-student bond. He repeatedly told me I had all the talents to one day rock the world. I worshiped my coach. His word was The Word. I built a pedestal for him and gazed up at the center of my universe…

…In between the afternoon preliminaries and the night finals, bursting with confidence, I went over to Coach’s house for a nap. This was normal: Coach’s house, his family, his kids were all part of the swim team’s daily milieu.

I was dead asleep in the master bedroom when it happened. Out of nowhere, he was on top of me. He yanked my suit down. He grabbed at and drooled onto my breasts. He hyperventilated and moaned. I didn’t breathe for perhaps two full minutes, my body locked in an impenetrable flex. My arms trembled, pinned to my sides. He pleaded with me to open my legs, but they were pressed hard together. If breath gives us force, that day I could feel the strength in my body from the polar opposite — from not breathing. He ejaculated on my stomach, my athletic torso I was so proud of now suddenly violated with this strange and foul stuff.”

Continue reading the main story

I can’t quite tell you my exact emotions in reading this story. Sad. Upsetting. Angry. Disappointed.
Please continue on and read this story to learn how this incident haunted her for much of her life. This is not just a one-off occurrence that one experiences and forgets. It’s something that is pervasive and the horror relived each time some cue sets it off. However, speaking out about this made her feel strong, and sharing this story is important so that others wronged don’t feel shamed and instead feel the courage to express what has happened to them.