Karen’s swimming career began at age 7.  Karyn, along with sisters Lynne and Paige, began swimming at the Cumberland Lincoln Boys club and Abbott Run Valley Swim Club.  In 1980 she joined LIttle Rohde Aquatic Club where she trained until joining The Cumberland Area Swim Team in 1984.

            In 1986, Karyn placed 3rd in the 200 backstroke at the United States Swimming Zone Championship meet.  She was named to the New England All-Star Team in 1985 and 1986.  Karyn was a five time Junior National Qualifier from 1986 to 1988.  In 1987, she placed 11th in the 1000 and 1650 freestyle events and 13th in the 500 yard freestyle.  At the Junior Olympics in 1988. Karyn had perhaps the best swim of her career in the 1650 freestyle.  With this swim she finished 8th, achieved a Senior National qualifying time, and earned a time which ranked her 13th fastest in the country for the year.  For her accomplishments, Karyn was named Rhode Island Swimmer of the Year in 1988.  Several of the topy 10 times in New England in both 1987 and 1988 were held by Karyn, among those were the fastest times in the 200 backstroke, 500, 1000, and 1650 freestyle.

            Karyn was awarded academic All-American honors in her senior year at Cumberland High School in 1988.  Karyn earned a scholarship to the University of Minnesota where she was a varsity letter winner in 1988-1989 and 1990-1991.  At the Big Ten Championships, she placed in three individual events; the 200 backstroke, 500 freestyle and 1650 freestyle.

            She now resides in Cumberland and is in private dental practice in Lincoln, RI along with her twin sister Lynne Ward and Husband Christian Johnston.