Swimmer Karen Higgison (nee Phillips) joined the Nowra Swimming Club when she was 12.
Her competitive career began when she set records in the pool at the 1982 NSW State and Canberra Winter Swimming Championships.
In 1983 Karen competed in the Leeton Summer Country Swimming Championships and won six gold, two silver and three bronze medals. The following year she won nine gold medals at the NSW State Age and Open Swimming Championships and set four state records.
At 18, Karen she was selected for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and proved to be an outstanding choice. Winning a silver medal in the 200 metre butterfly and narrowly missing the final of the 200 metre individual medley by 0.1 of a second.
In 1986 she swam at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Games and again won silver in the 200 metre butterfly and bronze in the 400 metre medley relay.