Meet Rhody’s Own Olympic Medalist Elizabeth Beisel

The altruistic South Kingstown native discusses her latest venture: empowering kids at Emerge Youth Camps in Warwick

After competing in three Olympic games and earning two medals for swimming, you’ve traveled the nation conducting swim clinics, raised many thousands of dollars for cancer by swimming from South Kingstown to Block Island (the first woman to do so, no wetsuit allowed), and now you have co-founded Emerge Youth Camps, a program that emphasizes overall wellness through a combination of safety training, physical activities, digital disconnection, and rewilding in natural environments. Can you trace the roots of your ongoing advocacy to any moment in particular?

Swimming changed my life and gave me opportunities that I could only dream of, including a platform to promote water safety and accessibility to everyone, regardless of race, economic background, or location. Losing my dad to cancer woke me up to the reality of how hard it is to fund cancer research, so being able to advocate for that has been one of the most cathartic ways for me to cope with the loss of my dad. Emerge Camps is a blend of those skills and experiences, and I hope to teach critical life lessons and tools to our youth and encourage them to take those lessons with them as they walk through life.


In a statement about Emerge Camps, it mentions creating “an opportunity for youth to disconnect digitally.” Social media has become so complicated, especially for young people. What are your thoughts on usage?

I’ve worked with kids throughout the country over the last few years, and I’ve seen how detrimental social media can be to their well-being. It can create an environment for cyberbullying to thrive, it often promotes unrealistic beauty standards, thus creating body image issues, it can interfere with a child’s ability to learn time management by consuming all of their free time, and use before bed has led to inadequate rest and sleeping disorders. It often portrays a filtered and exaggerated version of reality, causing a distorted perception, and excessive use has been linked to increasing rates of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.


Emerge Youth Camps will take place this month in Warwick. How did you decide on the location?

The City of Warwick has been nothing but supportive and has opened their doors to us without any hesitation. Everything we need is in Warwick and it is centrally located, so it’s convenient for anyone in the state to get to.


Do you still live in Rhode Island, and if so, what are some of your favorite places?

I live in Newport with my fiancè Jack. Our favorite spots in Newport are Corner Cafè for brunch, The Nitro Bar and Simple Merchant for coffee, and Perro Salado for the best Mexican food on the island. Shayna’s Place and Alma in Wickford are personal favorites on the mainland to eat and grab a coffee. Favorite spots to visit are Brenton Point, Beavertail, and of course Narragansett Town Beach, where I lifeguarded in the summers.


Where are your favorite places – indoors or out – to swim in Rhode Island?

My favorite pools to swim in Rhode Island are Brown University and Roger Williams University. Best places to swim in open water are Narragansett Town Beach, Second Beach in Newport, and Mackerel Cove in Jamestown.



No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here