Update: the swim has been moved to September 9th. Original reporting is below.
On August 30, three-time Olympian Elizabeth Beisel is going to attempt to become the first person to complete the 20km (12.4 mile) swim between Pt. Judith and Block Island in Rhode Island.
Beisel, a Rhode Island native, says that she had always dreamed of swimming to Block Island, and decided to do the swim to support a family member who was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer. The swim is being sponsored by Swim Across America, with an accompanying fundraising effort dubbed “Block Cancer”.
“When I was growing up,” Beisel said, “I always wanted to swim to Block Island. Then, last December, a close family friend was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer. As I was looking for ways to contribute to their journey, I decided to take on the swim with the hopes of raising money for them.”
“So far, the fundraising effort has been extremely successful, which I am extremely grateful for. We’ve raised over $33,000 and exceeded our goal in the first week.”
Regarding her preparation for the 22km swim, Beisel says she’s been training at multiple locations around the state. “Unfortunately,” Beisel said, “it’s too cold around here to get into the ocean for training yet. However, I have been swimming with Chuck [Bachelor] at Bluefish. In addition, the team at Roger Williams University has been gracious enough to open up their pool for me, so I’ve swam with them too.”
“I will be traveling to Omaha for the Olympic Trials next week to do meet coverage with NBC. While I’m there, I will have access to a pool for training, which is good. Overall, the trip will be around 3 weeks, which means that the ocean water will be warm enough for me to practice in after I get home.”
Beisel also said that she is planning to perform Olympic coverage in Tokyo, with another 3 weeks abroad. “I will be attending the Olympics with NBC. During my time in Tokyo, I probably will not be able to train, as they’re not too concerned with getting me into the water and finding pool space for me. However, I plan to use stretch cords in my hotel room, and I’m planning to have a solid training base by that point, so I’ll be able to come home and put in the work once I get home.”
Training-wise, Beisel mentioned that the swim is unlike any event she’s ever prepared for, especially considering the open-water factor. “In the past,” Beisel mentioned, “I would usually practice between 10,000 and 15,000 yards per day. I also used to do a 25k practice with Chuck every Thanksgiving. However, the longest open water event I’ve ever done was a 10k, so this is going to be completely new to me.”
Despite the challenges associated with the swim, Beisel said that she is looking forward to testing herself. Also, she said that she is “extremely excited” about the successes of the fundraising effort. “Thank you to everyone who’s donated to the Block Cancer Fundraiser. It means a lot to both me and my family.”
Press Release – Swim Across America
BLOCK ISLAND, Rhode Island – Olympian Elizabeth Beisel will swim a 20km route from Pt. Judith to Block Island in her home state of Rhode Island to raise funds for cancer research and clinical trials through Swim Across America. The swim will take place on August 30, 2021 and if completed, she will be the first woman to do so.
In December, one of Elizabeth’s immediate family members was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. This news prompted her to take action and inspired her to complete a swim in honor of those who have lost their lives fighting against cancer and for those who continue to fight.
According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Beisel said this staggering statistic coupled with dozens of hours of research lead her to do her part in making a difference.
“I quickly realized what my family was going through was sadly all too common and that the most impactful way I could raise funds for cancer research and clinical trials would be through my swimming platform. I’m hoping the funds raised by Block Cancer will help support families who have been affected by this horrible disease and get us to one step closer to finding a cure.”
Swim Across America is a non-profit that runs swimming-related events throughout the country to support cancer research at recognized hospitals and institutions. Since 1987, SAA has granted nearly $100 million and more than 100 Olympians have participated in SAA events.
To support, donate, and shop custom Block Cancer gear, visit www.blockcancer.org.