A couple of people emailed me about this, though I think it's more a case of miscommunication rather than a deliberate hoax.
A little over a week ago the media reported
that 56-year-old Jennifer Figge had become the first woman to swim the Atlantic. But then people started to do the math, and realized that if she had really swum 2100 in 25 days, then she had performed a superhuman feat.
Two days later the AP published a retraction
, quoting Figge's spokesman who stated she swam only 250 miles, not 2100. Which is why it seems more like a case of miscommunication to me. Figge didn't appear to go out of her way to promote the claim she had swum the Atlantic.
To find a real long-distance swimming hoax, you need to go back to 1927 when Dorothy Cochrane Lange claimed to have swum the English Channel
, but a few days later admitted she had only swum the first and last mile. Her motive, she said, was to prove how easy it was to pull off such a hoax.