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Karen Pickering, Mark Foster and Dawn Zajac inducted into Swim England Hall of Fame

Three ‘worthy individuals’ have become the latest inductees into the Swim England Hall of Fame.

Artistic swimming pioneer Dawn Zajac plus international swimmers Mark Foster and Karen Pickering are the first new cohorts in the Hall of Fame since it was set-up in 2019 to mark Swim England’s 150th anniversary.

They were announced at the Swim England National Awards held at the University of Birmingham’s Great Hall.

Jane Nickerson, Swim England chief executive, said: “We created the Hall of Fame to honour the achievements of worthy individuals who have made a significant impact on aquatics and Dawn, Mark and Karen definitely fit the bill.

“It’s great we can honour them to recognise all they have achieved in the pool – and all they have continued to contribute to our sports outside of the pool as well.”

A total of 26 people were named in the initial induction in 2019 and included the likes of Steve Parry, Duncan Goodhew and Sharron Davies – plus pioneers of the sport’s illustrious history.

Dawn Zajac 

Born 27 February 1917, died 6 April 2012

Dawn Zajac was a pioneer of artistic swimming in Great Britain.

Without her initial vision and infectious enthusiasm, many thousands of women and girls would not have had the chance to enjoy the sport.

Zajac established the first artistic swimming club in Great Britain.

She became interested in the sport during a visit to California and, upon her return to London, formed Seymour Synchro Swim Club in 1960.

She coached the Great Britain and Austrian national teams and also held consultant roles in Norway, Egypt and Ireland – while continuing to coach with Seymour right until she was 92.

Mark Foster

Born 12 May 1970

Mark Foster is one of Great Britain’s most decorated swimmers.

A glittering 23-year career in the pool saw him win 51 international medals and set eight world records

He is patron of The Anaphylaxis UK and Regain. He also uses his profile to raise awareness of other charities, including WellChild, SportsAid and Swimathon.

In addition, he is a spokesperson for the LGBTQ+ community promoting compassion, equality and inclusion.

Foster is well known for his analytical role for the BBC.

He continues to work across a number of campaigns designed to increase participation in swimming and make the sport more accessible.

Karen Pickering

Born 19 December 1971

Karen Pickering was a dominant force in British freestyle swimming for almost two decades.

Her impressive CV boasts an incredible 35 major championships medals and 38 national titles – and she also competed at four successive Olympic Games.

Following her retirement from swimming, she became a level two Swim England qualified swimming teacher and founded the Karen Pickering SWIM Foundation.

Pickering is a commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live and Channel 4 on swimming, diving and open water swimming.

She continues to use her profile to be a passionate advocate for promoting the benefits of swimming and all water-based activity.