Speed Reads

'humbled and honored'

Olympian becomes 1st woman to finish swim to Block Island

Swimmer Elizabeth Beisel honored her father by making a dream they shared come true.

Beisel, a three-time Olympian, made history on Saturday when she became the first woman to swim from mainland Rhode Island to Block Island. The 29-year-old completed the 10.4-mile swim in 5 hours and 19 minutes, and told People the feat left her feeling "humbled and honored." 

This wasn't just a historic accomplishment — it was also a fundraiser for Swim Across America, a nonprofit that raises money and awareness for cancer research, prevention, and treatment. Beisel came up with the idea for a charity swim after her dad, Ted, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December. A Rhode Island native, Beisel said it had always been one of her goals to tackle the swim to Block Island, and knowing she was going to try it "helped sustain" her dad before he died in July.  

She set a fundraising target of $5,000, but Beisel's Block Cancer swim brought in more than $135,000, which will be donated to hospitals in Rhode Island for cancer research. "I know that my dad's battle, along with the money raised by Block Cancer, will save someone's life one day," Beisel said.