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Olympian Elizabeth Beisel Becomes First Woman To Swim From Mainland Rhode Island To Block Island

BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. (CBS) -- Three-time Olympian and Rhode Island native Elizabeth Beisel made history this weekend.

On Saturday, Beisel became the first woman to swim from mainland Rhode Island to the shores of Block Island.

She did so swimming for the non-profit Swim Across America, which benefits cancer research and patient programs. Beisel took on the challenge in honor of her late father, Charles "Ted" Lyons Beisel, who died from pancreatic cancer in July.

Beisel's charity swim has already raised over $135,000, according to Swim Across America.

She started her journey at Matunuck Beach by Ocean Mist, which was her dad's favorite restaurant.

Beisel_Swim_2021_09_0407_pc_Cate Brown
(Photo Credit: Swim Across America, Cate Brown Photos)

She completed the 10.4-mile swim in five hours and 19 minutes, despite two weather postponements and a finish-line riptide.

She was greeted by her mom, Joannie, and her brother, Danny, when she completed the swim.

Beisel with family
(Photo Credit: Swim Across America, Cate Brown Photos)

"I'm humbled and honored to have completed this Block Cancer swim," said Beisel. "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. 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. Sadly, he passed before I could make this swim, but he knew I was going to do it and that helped sustain him during his final months. I'll never get to hug him again, but his fight wasn't for nothing."

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