She is more to the firm and strict postures that she has posed in her pictures from the Olympics 2016. A vibrant and down-to-earth personality with a whimsical sense of humor, Elizabeth Lyon Beisel is an American swimmer who specializes in backstroke and individual medley events.
Beisel was placed second in the 400 m individual medley at the 2016 US Olympic Swimming Trials. She has won a total of nine medals in major international competitions such as Olympics, World Aquatics, and the Pan Pacific championships. She started surfing at a tender age of 10 and is an avid violin player. Having known that maharani meant queen in Nepali and that she shared her name with Queen Elizabeth II, she admired being called ‘Maharani’ throughout her visit in Nepal.
My City’s Sonam Lama caught up with Elizabeth to talk about her visit to Nepal and experiences as an international swimmer.
How was your first visit to Nepal? Do you have plans to revisit?
It is a completely different world. I loved travelling here because you get to see a variety of cultures and we were completely immersed in that culture. We were not near anything western but it was just the pure Himalayan culture. Being an athlete myself it was pretty physically demanding and even being an athlete it was still very tough trek to the Himalayas. We came across so many inspiring things on the way and that was incredible and the entire trip was amazing. We shopped in Namche, brought trinkets for our family. The day after we woke up at 4 am, walked up to Kalapatthar and watched the sunrise over Everest and Aamadablam along with the fascinating tea house. Yes, I eagerly look forward to revisiting Nepal next year.
How would you describe yourself as a person?
I am a loud and friendly person. I work hard and try to have fun whatever I do. I am an adventurous person so I am fond of doing adventurous things with my friends. Travelling is a huge passion of mine. I love to travel places and meet people from different parts of the world. I find this quote in Istanbul “The world is like a book and if you never travel then you only ever read one page” and I found it interesting. Apart from travelling I love music and I am fond of playing violin.
What drew you to swimming?
Since our entire state was surrounded by water, my parents wanted me to learn how to swim just to be safe around the ocean. I was an energetic child and was always keen at swimming. My parents joined me up for the swim team when I was five years old. At seven I started breaking records and I got qualified for my first national swim team at 13. It has been a long career till now and I am glad that I have gotten to travel the world and meet many people through it. I make sure to work hard and give my best every time.
What challenges do you often face as an Olympic swimmer?
I think injuries are probably the most challenging when it comes to swimming. It requires you to be both physically and mentally healthy. I was injured about two years ago and I remember it was so hard because I wasn’t necessarily depressed but I wasn’t swimming fast and was not happy with myself. I think that is the side of sports that we hardly focus on. I think to overcome an injury not only physically but also mentally is quite challenging.
Any piece of advice you would like to give to our readers?
It sounds a cliché but never give up on your dreams. Just because you are from Nepal doesn’t mean that you can’t be an Olympic swimmer. For me it was just because I was from Rhode Island and I was short didn't mean that I can’t be a great swimmer. I always worked hard, dreamt big and kept competing and I think putting all those three things and then loving what you do is essential in order to be a good athlete. You don’t have to be an Olympian, you can be an average swimmer but as long as you love it and you are having fun. I think it’s important to try something else other than what you often do. I did violin and I think that was great for me because it helped balance my life. Try your hands in different things and figure out what you love.