Recent Open Water Swims:
2007, Donner Lake 2.7 mile swim, Age group 2nd place finish
2008, Donner Lake 2.7 mile swim, Age group 1st place finish
2008, Solo width of Lake Tahoe, 11 miles, 5 hours 32 minutes
2008, Bob Roper’s 3rd Annual Golden Gate Invitational Swim,
……….13th place overall, Age group 1st place finish
2009, Solo Golden Gate Bridge to San Mateo Bridge, 23 miles,
…………7 hours 58 minutes
2009, Donner Lake Quad Crossing, 11.04 miles, 5 hours 24 minutes
2009, Solo length of Lake Tahoe, 21.5 miles, 10 hours 50 minutes
2010, Richmond San Rafael Bridge to Point Bonita,
………..14 miles, 3 hours 20 minutes (water temp 50 degrees F.)
2010, Sea Buoy to Golden Gate Bridge,
………..12.65 miles, 4 hours 30 minutes (51 degrees F.)
2010, Golden Gate to San Mateo Bridge,
………..23 miles, 7 hours 21 minutes
My Story: Karen Rogers, nee Polkinghorn
When I was two years old my parents joined the local pool, Canyon Swim and Racket Club. I remember the day that we walked into the pool area and I was sporting my new pink terrycloth two piece suit that my Mom had made me. I felt very timid and shy but could not wait to get into the water. At first my Mom said that I was allowed to sit on the first step of the shallow end. By the end of the first week she would allow me to scoot around on the second step. After maybe one more week passed and my knees were raw from scraping them on the step. I consciously recall making the decision that I was no longer going to be confined to the steps. This was not a feeling of trying to get away from my Mom, who was sitting on the deck. It was a feeling of going back to something that felt very familiar to me. Going back to a place where I was surrounded with water. A place that I felt very comfortable and happy. I patiently waited for her to look away and then I pushed off, straight into the middle of the shallow end. I heard her scream and felt her jump in the water to retrieve me but I was never nervous. I didn’t feel scared at all and I knew I had just found my happy place. That moment in time began my life long love of swimming.
The following summer I asked my Mom for a Speedo swimsuit and she told me “those are for people on the swim team” I said okay, sign me up. At age 4 after regularly bugging our coach Steve Haufler to allow me to swim the 25 yrd. free, they let me. Finally I was allowed to race and that was the beginning of many years of competitive swimming.
I continued to compete in the summer league until age 8 when I moved into year round AAU swimming. I swam under the club affiliation of San Pablo Rec and Park for two years. After much consideration by myself and my parents, I changed teams and joined one of the nation’s strongest age group swim teams, Pleasant Hill Swim Club. A 1980 West County Times article quoted coach Bernie Stenson and Cal Men’s coach Nort Thornton as saying “there’s no telling at present what heights Karen can attain between now and the end of her swimming career” At that time I held five national Top 10 times.
I continued to swim competitively through my first year of college when I decided it was time to live life on land. I remember there was an adjustment period of not knowing what to do with myself when I didn’t need to train anymore. The twice a day workouts, 5-6 days a week, 11 months a year had taken up an enormous amount of my life so far. I stepped away from swimming and started to pursue other interests.
I still think it is true today that “there’s no telling at present what heights Karen can attain between now and the end of her swimming career” because I haven’t seen the end yet. In fact I feel like that little girl in the pink terrycloth two piece. A feeling like I am just beginning and going back to something very familiar.