Born Aug. 18, 1992 Elizabeth Beisel is originally from the small state of Rhode Island. She was born to father, Ted and mother, Joan Beisel, who also was a swimmer at the University of Rhode Island. Beisel is an IM and backstroke specialist, but she’s extremely versatile with the ability to swim really anything, including distance free, butterfly and breaststroke.
With her unique personality, Beisel has made headlines thanks to her hearty laugh and humor. She uses that humor to lighten up any situation, and especially to keep her mind light and enjoying the moment before a big race. Beisel one day hopes to work in front of the camera, with her dream career being a sports reporter at ESPN. She grew up with a dream of being an anchor on the Today Show, but would be happy working at a local news station.
Early swimming career
Beisel began swimming at age 5, when she began as a diver, but quickly switched the sport she now loves. She showed prominence at an early age — by just 13 years old, she was a member of the U.S. National Team. She was known early on for her 200-meter backstroke abilities. At age 14, Beisel competed in her first World Championships — she finished 12th overall in the 200-meter backstroke.
In 2008 Beisel qualified to swim at the U.S. Olympic Trials in multiple events, including her specialties, the 200-meter backstroke and the 400-meter IM. At just 15 years old, Beisel ended up finishing second in both events to bear the U.S. flag on her cap at the Beijing Olympics. As the youngest member of Team USA, Beisel went on to finish within the top eight of both of her events in Beijing, fourth in the 400 IM and fifth in the 200 back.
Out of high school Beisel was one of the nation’s top recruits. She committed to the University of Florida, where she studied communications. As a freshman Beisel made an immediate impact — she was named the SEC Female Freshman Swimmer of the Year after winning both the 200-yard backstroke and the 400-yard IM.
When she returned to the collegiate scene for her sophomore season, she was ready to once again take on the NCAA. She picked up three more SEC individual titles in the 200 and 400 IM in addition to the 200 backstroke en route to SEC Female Swimmer of the Year honors. She also won the NCAA Championship in the 200 backstroke, and finished third in the 400 IM. She also swam on the 800 free and 400 medley relays.
As a junior, Beisel received more titles, and this year earned some academic accolades. Beisel picked up numerous awards: 2013 Capital One Academic, Women’s At-Large All-America of the Year, 2013 SEC Academic Honor Roll Selection, 2013 SEC Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, 2013 SEC Female Recipient of the Commissioner’s Trophy (High Point Award).
On the swimming side Beisel was the SEC Champion in both the 400 IM and 200 backstroke. She also was the 2014 NCAA Champion in the 400 IM and a finalist in the 200 back (3rd) and 200 IM (5th). She was part of the Gators’ 400 free relay and earned a total of five All-American honors.
When it came to her senior year Beisel had a leading role as team captain, and had to switch up her event order to benefit the team. She opted out of the first day of the NCAA competition, and instead chose to do a difficult double of the 200 fly and 200 backstroke. She finished runner-up to Stanford’s Maya DiRado in the 400 IM, and made it into the top eight of the 200 backstroke, finishing fifth, but she only made it to the semi-final in the 200 fly.
Beisel graduated with a degree in communications.
International and national competition
After Beijing, Beisel competed at the 2009 FINA World Aquatic Championships in Rome where she finished third in the 200-meter back, just missing the American Record. Beisel also finished fifth in the 400-meter IM.
After winning the 400 IM national title in 2009, Beisel slipped to fourth in 2010, but defended her title in the 200-meter back qualifying her for Pan-Pacs – where she won gold medals in her two signature events, winning her first international gold.
The following year at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, Beisel competed as a member of Team USA. She won her first World Championship title in the 400-meter IM, and finished fifth overall in the 200-meter backstroke.
At the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials Beisel swam three events — 400 IM, 200 backstroke and the 400 freestyle. After winning the 400 IM, and finishing first by more than two seconds, she was runner-up in the 200 back to qualify for the team in her second event. Beisel then finished fifth overall in the 400 freestyle.
In London, Beisel won her first Olympic medals, earning silver in the 400 IM and bronze in the 200 backstroke.
After London, Beisel had two more years of collegiate swimming, but she competed at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona to finish third overall in the 400 IM and 12thi n the 200 IM.
When she graduated in 2014, Beisel immediately turned professional. She was sponsored by Speedo and was a member of the Mutual of Omaha Gold Medal Team.
In 2014, Beisel made the Pan Pac’s roster after she won the 400 IM at the Phillips 66 National Championships. At Pan Pac’s Beisel won the 400 IM, and also took home a bronze medal in the 200 backstroke.
In the winter before the 2015 World Championships, Beisel suffered a groin strain. Her highest finish was 12th in the 400 IM and 13th in the 200 back.
2016 US Olympic Trials
In her third Olympic Trials, Beisel finished second in the 400M IM behind Miya DiRado, securing her spot on the U.S. Team for Rio.
2016 Rio Olympics
Beisel failed to medal in the 400 IM, finishing sixth in the finals.
2017 US World Team Trials
Beisel finished second in the 400M IM behind Leah Smith, once again placing her on the roster for the US Team heading to Budapest.
Beisel announced her retirement in 2017.
Beisel is a contestant on season 39 of Survivor: Island of the Idols.