Meet the Ambassador

Elizabeth Biesel

In 2008, Elizabeth made her Olympic debut at the age of 15, becoming the youngest competitor on the United States Olympic Team. At the 2012 Olympic Games, she won two individual medals, a silver in the 400m Individual Medley and a bronze in the 200m Backstroke. In 2016, she was named Captain of the United States Olympic Team. Throughout her career, Elizabeth won 14 US National Championship Titles, a World Championship Title, and a total of nine international medals. In 2021, Elizabeth etched her name in history as the first woman to swim to Block Island, Rhode Island. This 20km nonstop and unassisted journey in the open Ocean, aptly named "Block Cancer," raised funds for cancer research and clinical trials. Since retiring swimming competitively, she has leaned into embracing a lifestyle by the Ocean in her home state of Rhode Island. You can typically find her surfing, freediving, open water swimming, or playing in the Ocean any time of year.

Ambassador Q&A

Why do you care deeply about the Ocean/what inspires you to protect it?

I deeply care about our Ocean because it has played a significant role in shaping the person I am today. All of my Olympic and open water swimming success stems from my first love: the Ocean. Without it, I would lose a part of my identity and my primary source of peace and happiness. That's why I am incredibly passionate about protecting it.

Did you have an “aha” moment that inspired you to take action? If so, what was it?

I vividly remember my 'aha' moment. I was racing in a 5k charity swim that took us through a harbor in my hometown of Rhode Island. During the swim, I encountered trash at the bottom of the harbor and passed by a considerable amount of plastic waste on the surface. Upon finishing the swim and removing my suit, I found my entire body covered in a black film, with little pieces of trash trapped in it. Although I was already involved in Ocean conservation and preservation efforts, that particular swim served as a wake-up call to the severity of the mistreatment of our Oceans.

How are you working to create a positive impact? (Can tailor based on their passions/craft, ex. How are you removing plastic on tour?)

As an avid open water swimmer and surfer, I make a conscious effort to pick up trash on my way out of the water. I exclusively use reef-safe sunscreen and opt for reusable bottles whenever possible. The skincare brand I support packages their products in 100% recyclable aluminum bottles. It's the small actions that can make the most significant difference.

If you could share one tip for protecting our blue planet, what would it be?

When I think about protecting our blue planet, I focus on what I can do on a small scale, and then consider the collective impact if everyone followed suit. I prioritize thrift shopping and buying second-hand clothing to combat the millions of tons of waste generated. I opt for bamboo cups at house parties instead of plastic ones and support brands that are sustainable and transparent about their production processes and carbon footprint. These minor adjustments can ultimately alter the course of our Oceans trajectory for the better.


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