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Inducted May 2008Karen began her swimming career at the Bath YMCA in 1975 under Coach Guy Saucier. She quickly began establishing team records.
By age 15, she held every LRSC team record and 6 YMCA state records and 2 AAU state records. She was the Maine 1981 senior high point winner and a 2 time Y national’s swimmer. As a 14 year old she was a #7 nationally ranked swimmer in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.55). Her family moved to Oklahoma where she became a member of the Phillips 66 Splash Club. She was a 4 year junior nationals swimmer and set many team and Oklahoma state records. She was named Oklahoma swimmer of the year in 1984.
In 1981, as a freshman at Morse High School, she became Maine’s first sub 25 second 50 freestyle swimmer, with a state record time of 24.69 which stood for 13 years. She was also Maine’s first sub 1:10 100 breaststroke swimmer in State record time of 1:09.02. She was also named Maine school girl swimmer of the year for 1981. Both events earned her All American consideration. As a swimmer at Bartlesville High School, she was a high school All State and All American all 3 years. She was named Oklahoma swimmer of the year for 1983 and 1984. In her 4 years of high school swimming she was undefeated.
The University of Kansas’ first full scholarship incoming freshman swimmer in the fall of 1985, Karen went on to become the Big 8 100 breaststroke champion (1:04.96) and was an NCAA division 1 All American in the 200 Medley and 200 Free relays. Her 100 breaststroke time also qualified her for the 1988 Olympic trials.
In the fall of 1986, a tragic car accident cut her swimming career short. She eventually earned her degree in Therapeutic Recreation from U Kansas. She has gone on to council others who have survived similar injuries and served on the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association in Kansas City, Chairwoman of the Traumatic Advisory Board in Topeka. In 2007, Karen was selected by the Governor of Kansas to be a member of the Kansas State Rehabilitation Council.
She is married to Todd Fitzpatrick and they have 1 son (Davis) and currently live in Stilwell, Kansas.