Karlyn Pipes


Hall of Fame swimmer Karlyn Pipes (karlynpipes.com) is a inspirational speaker that has set over 200 Masters World records. She is also the author of The Do-Over, My Journey from the Depths of Addiction to World Champion Swimmer, a story about recovery, hope and second chances.  

Karlyn is an energetic and enthusiastic speaker that loves to share her odds-defying come-back story with audiences of all ages and from all walks of life. Drawing from the numerous challenges she faced rise from the depths of addiction and self-destruction to her induction into the international swimming Hall of Fame, Karlyn inspires, engages in entertains all who attend.

Karlyn also owns and operates Aquatic Edge (www.aquaticedge.org) with the goal of teaching swimmers and triathletes how to swim faster with less effort by offering swim technique workshops worldwide, and private swim instruction and camps in Kona, Hawaii.

I love Foggies! This anti-fog product is by far the best I've ever used... I've been around the sport of swimming a long time. Simply wipe it on, let it dry, and your old pair of goggles will perform like they're brand new! 

I love the convenience of TRISLIDE. Simply spray it on, then race worry free knowing that your problem areas that chafe and rub are now nicely lubricated. I also like the hands-free application. No mess!

TRISWIM is the best anti-chlorine hair care on the market. I've been using it for years and as a result have been able to grow my hair really long, which is not typical for someone who spends as much time swimming in a chlorinated pool as I do.

How many swimsuits do I own
Great question close to 50!!!

How many years swimming 
Since age four...51 years!

What is the highest elevation you have been at (this does not include a plane or rocket)
I swim in Bogotá, Columbia with the altitude at over 8000 feet. I couldn't breathe all right, I just couldn't swim!

Favorite place to vacation and why
The big Island Hawaii...where I live!
Favorite cocktail
haven't had an alcoholic drink in 24 years!!
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things would you want with you
Pair of goggles, sunscreen and my husband Christopher.

One of my favorite memories is from when I was about seven. The highlight of the Pipes kids’ summer was to go to a YMCA camp in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. In the spring we’d go door-to-door selling cans of butter toffee peanuts for fifty cents to raise funds for tuition. The camp was in a beautiful setting with hundreds of acres of mature forest and a sprawling lake. Mom worked as the waterfront director and Dad ran the camp store selling soda, chips, candy bars, and bait.

While the YMCA Learn to Swim classes at home had challenged me to be a better swimmer, the lessons at camp took on a whole new dimension as they were held in the open water. As with all Y programs, you are given an opportunity to progress through the ranks, in this case from pollywog to guppy to minnow to flying fish to porpoise to shark. Everyone, of course, wanted to be a shark. In order to earn that distinction, you had to swim across Lake Sequoia. As an added incentive, any kid who also managed to swim back across the lake earned a big chocolate candy bar.

I tackled that lake crossing challenge as soon as I was old enough. There was a rowboat escort for me, with Mom paddling alongside, cheering me on. The lake was brilliant in the sunlight, glowing like a green gemstone. It seemed as far across as an ocean, but I kept swimming. And I made it. I could have stopped at that point, already having become one of the youngest campers to earn the shark patch, but I wanted more. After a brief rest, I made a decision. I was going swim back and earn that big chocolate candy bar.

 As I eased back into the water I wondered to myself, Could I do it? What would happen if I failed and had to be pulled up into the boat? Would Mom be disappointed? I pushed my fears aside and began stroking across the lake, seeking the safe harbor on the opposite shore. It seemed to take three times as long to get back, but just as I was about to give up I heard cheers from a small crowd waiting for me on the beach. I experienced a burst of energy and worked as hard as I could until I touched the sandy bottom. The crowd went wild. I had just become the youngest person to accomplish this feat in the history of the world! The scene overwhelmed my seven-year-old mind, and I reveled in the feeling of accomplishment and validation. I also knew I wanted to feel like that again.