Weather prompts RI Olympian Elizabeth Beisel to cancel Block Island swim again
So she said she and her team decided to postpone swimming until the weekend, hoping conditions would improve. “I think it will be Saturday, Sunday or Monday,” she said. “Saturday is shaping up to be the best.”
Beisel, 29, said postponing Hurricane Larry was an obvious choice. The latter decision was less clear because “if you look outside tomorrow you’ll be fine,” she said. But she would be swimming in a strong wind in Block Island Strait, and the height of the swells would make a rocky journey not only for her but for the 15 people on her support team, she said.
“It’s the right decision,” Beisel said. But postponements are difficult because she is so mentally and physically prepared for the attempt, she said.
In January, Beisel announced that she would be swimming to raise money for cancer research and to encourage her father Ted Beisel, who was battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer at the time. She said she had proposed. the idea of ”Blocking Cancer” as a way to give her father something to look to the future and a way to raise money for cancer research.
All proceeds go to the nonprofit Swim Across America, whose mission is to fund cancer research, and Beisel said all the money will stay in Rhode Island, where his father received most. of his treatments.
Her father died on July 1 before she could attempt to swim. But one of her last wishes was for her to finish the “Block Cancer” charity swim.
“He’s going to be on my mind all the time,” Beisel said. “He’s definitely someone I’ll think about when I want to give up, which is inevitable.”
She remembers watching her father’s health deteriorate rapidly and how bravely he fought cancer.
“I will remember that my swim is not that difficult,” said Beisel. “He will certainly be there in spirit with me. “
Beisel said she and her family often visited Block Island as a child, taking the ferry there and then flying kites.
“I always wanted to swim to Block Island, growing up in the ocean state,” she said. “Swimming is my sport. So I said ‘I can do this.’ “
But swimming the 10.4 miles of ocean to Block Island is a “whole different beast” than swimming 400 meters in an Olympic-size pool, Beisel said.
“With the pool I’m used to a controlled environment, with water heated to 79 degrees, no wind, inside,” she said.
With swimming in the sea, “it depends on the day and what Mother Nature has in store,” Beisel said. “Training during hurricane season in Rhode Island, I swam in 6 foot swells and water so flat it looked like a pond.”
Beisel said she is concerned the water will continue to cool if the attempt continues to be postponed. She plans to abide by Marathon Swimmers Federation rules, swim nonstop and unassisted, and she won’t be wearing a wetsuit, which could give her an advantage.
Beisel said she was not concerned about sharks in part because most of them have likely already moved south to warmer waters. “They’re smarter than me,” she laughed.
In addition, she said the sharks would likely stay away from the two motorboats and the two kayaks that would accompany them. Her 15-person team will include shark experts, emergency medical technicians, a navigator, her swim trainer, family members and Elaine Howley of the Marathon Swimmers Federation.
Beisel admitted “a little apprehension” about swimming. “I don’t really know if I can do it,” she said.
But if she became the first woman to swim to Block Island, she said it would be “too cool.”
Beisel didn’t hesitate when asked what she would do to celebrate if she succeeds and reaches Block Island. “I’m going to have a mudslide for my reward,” she said.
When she first came up with the idea of charity swimming, Beisel set a goal of $ 5,000. On Tuesday, the effort raised $ 122,480 and donations are still being accepted. To donate and track your progress while swimming, visit blockcancer.org.