Elizabeth Beisel Becomes First Woman to Complete Historic Block Island Swim: 'Humbled and Honored'

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Elizabeth Beisel Becomes 1st Woman to Complete Historic Swim to Block Island
Elizabeth Beisel Becomes 1st Woman to Complete Historic Swim to Block Island

Cate Brown Photography

Elizabeth Beisel is "humbled and honored" to have made history as the first woman to swim from mainland Rhode Island to Block Island.

The three-time Olympian, 29, completed the 10.4-mile swim Saturday in five hours and 19 minutes, according to a news release from Swim Across America. Beisel helped raise funds for the nonprofit for cancer research and patient programs in honor of her father, Charles "Ted" Lyons Beisel, who died in July after battling pancreatic cancer.

"As a child growing up in Rhode Island and swimming in the ocean along our beautiful coastline, I always dreamed of swimming to Block Island," she said in the release. "I envisioned my dad on the island waiting for me to finish with an ear-to-ear grin on his face — how proud he would be that I made it."

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Elizabeth's initial goal was to raise $5,000 for Block Cancer. She has raised over $135,000 to date.

The 2016 Team USA Captain hit the water by Ocean Mist, her father's favorite restaurant, at Matunuck Beach. After battling a finish-line riptide, Elizabeth was met with an emotional embrace from her mother Joannie and brother Danny on Block Island.

Elizabeth Beisel Becomes 1st Woman to Complete Historic Swim to Block Island
Elizabeth Beisel Becomes 1st Woman to Complete Historic Swim to Block Island

Cate Brown Photography

The Survivor alum said her father was confident that she would accomplish her goal, "and that helped sustain him during his final months."

"I'll never get to hug him again, but his fight wasn't for nothing," she shared. "I know that my dad's battle, along with the money raised by Block Cancer, will save someone's life one day. He is smiling knowing we helped give someone and their family the most precious gift of all time."

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"Elizabeth has been supporting Swim Across America for many years, even before her father's diagnosis, so this was our opportunity to support her," Rob Butcher, CEO of Swim Across America, said in the release.

Block Cancer funds, he added, will be used by the nonprofit's cancer researchers "for science and patient care that will hopefully save someone's life in the future."

During an appearance on Good Morning America earlier this month, Elizabeth revealed that the idea for the fundraiser came after her father was first diagnosed with cancer on Christmas Day in 2020.

Elizabeth Beisel Becomes 1st Woman to Complete Historic Swim to Block Island
Elizabeth Beisel Becomes 1st Woman to Complete Historic Swim to Block Island

Cate Brown Photography

"He didn't want the swim to be about him whatsoever," she told the show at the time. "He wanted it to be about everybody who was fighting cancer. It gave my dad a lot of joy to kind of see Block Cancer come into fruition and turn into what it is now."

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The money raised by Elizabeth's swim will be donated to Rhode Island hospitals for cancer research, including the hospital where her father was treated, according to GMA.

"As sad as it is, cancer is going to touch all of us in some way at some point," she explained. "And, you know, for me, to be able to have a platform where I can bring people together … it's kind of a beautiful thing."

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