Karen Bosveld Zemlin (Inducted 2017)

Even though Karen did not start swimming until age 14, she was around swimming her whole life. Through her dad, Roger Bosveld (MN Master's Swimming HOF inductee, 2015), Karen grew up watching the camaraderie of the sport and heavily identifies community as one of the key factors for her longevity with the sport. Other key components for Karen are the feeling of a great workout and the unlimited interesting goals.

As a child, Karen's first volunteer experience for MN Master's Swimming was stapling and stamping The Old Sternwheeler newsletters, then timing for meets and long distance postal events. As an adult, Karen has held various positions on the MN Master's Board and the Executive Committee. As Board Chair she worked with volunteers to identify strengths and created process that supports their work.

In the pool and on the shore, Karen has never been one to overestimate her ability. As she has taken on new goals, she enjoys the strategy of identifying her specific obstacles and looking for ways to overcome or compensate for those. One of her training mantras that keeps her going through long workouts is – “It's What You Do After Your'e Tired That Counts”. At times, Karen can get herself in situations where she thinks she may be in over-her-head but says “it's okay to be a little scared of your goals, it keeps life interesting.”

Another training mantra that keeps her going at those times is – “Trepidation Focuses My Preparation”. Karen remembers standing on the shore with her dad at her first lake race, he told her she had an advantage because she was “not afraid of weeds”. As she swam that first lake race, Karen remembers trying to convince herself she wasn't afraid of weeds by repeating in her head, “I'm not afraid of weeds...I'm not afraid of weeds...” And now almost 40 years later, she hopes to overcome another obstacle and convince herself she's not afraid of jelly fish! There are so many things that keep her going with pool and open water training. Swimming has taught Karen how to continually compensate for her short comings brought on by the physical elements of aging and other hardships that life can bring. She never stops thinking about how to get better and drive through the impediments we all encounter; not only with swimming but also her involvement on the Board of Directors and bringing visibility to what the board does for Minnesota Masters swimmers.

The emotional healing and friendships that Minnesota Masters Swimming provides, keeps her in the pool, open water and continued board participation. Swimming accomplishments include:

  • NCAA Div. III All American 1989
  • Hamline University 1000 Fr Record holder (currently still standing)
  • Hamline University Hall of Fame inductee 2010
  • USMS Top Ten Honors: 49 individual, 26 relay
  • USMS All American: 4 years individual, 2 years relay, and 2 years long distance USMS Fitness Log: multiple years over 1000 miles
  • 1 Individual FINA top ten time
  • 1 Relay FINA top ten time
  • Lake Mille Lacs crossing, 2007, Isle to Garrison in a time of 9 hours 52 minutes
  • End Wet, 26 miles Red River swim, 2013, 1st place overall in a time of 6 hours 58 minutes
  • Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, 2014, 3rd place overall in a time of 7 hours 23 minutes
  • Point to LaPointe, 2008-2014, 7 time - Women's top finisher and Women's course record holder 44:44.2
  • AIRS, 2014, Lake Superior 20 mile swim around Madeline Island, 1st place, time of 8 hours 49 minutes
  • English Channel attempt, 2015 
  • Catalina channel 2018, 9:44
  • English channel 2019, 10:17, fastest women over 50
  • Completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Marathon Swimming
  • Inducted into MN Swimming Hall of Fame 2020
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About Minnesota Masters Swimming

Minnesota Masters Swimming LMSC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to a healthy swimming lifestyle for adult swimmers within 87 counties in Minnesota and 3 in Western Wisconsin. It is the local governing body for United States Masters Swimming (USMS).

There are 1,172 registered swimmers in the Minnesota LMSC and over 60,000 nationwide. Anyone 18 years of age or older is eligible to join. No prior competitive swimming experience is necessary.

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