Swim England

A nation swimming

Karen Pickering

Karen Pickering
  • Born: 19 December 1971

Karen Pickering

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.

Pickering made her senior international debut in 1986 and claimed a total of eight World Championship medals, four of them gold, 14 European Championship podium places and 13 Commonwealth Games medals, including four golds.

Her first major title was at the inaugural 1993 FINA Short Course World Championships in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

In 1994, Pickering was awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List for services to swimming.
Following her retirement from swimming, she became a level two Swim England qualified swimming teacher and founded the Karen Pickering SWIM Foundation.

The charity ran alongside her swim schools and gave bursaries to those who might otherwise be unable to afford swimming lessons.

She is passionate about giving elite athletes a voice and is a past Chair of the British Athletes Commission.

Karen joined the Sport England Board on 28 October 2016 and is currently serving her second three-year term.

Pickering is a commentator for BBC Radio 5 Live and Channel 4 on swimming, diving and open water swimming as well as being Head of Swimming at Ardingly College.

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