At age 25, Coach Karen Vasso was depressed, overweight, and struggling with her health. At the urging of her brother, David, she made a plan to “get healthy”, joined a gym, and met him several times a week for workouts, which included swimming with the Masters team for which he was a coach. Karen’s vow to “never, ever, ever compete” was quickly shattered under the coaching and expertise of the Masters program, when one day during a time trial she took :53 off her 50m time, and the dream for Nationals was born.
Not wanting to journey alone, she challenged her triathlete teammates to join her in her pursuit at the New England Championships, and in return, she would join them in an open water race of their choosing. Karen caught the open water bug immediately, and several years later (after adding two New England relay records, five National Top 10 times, and numerous regional and open water podium finishes to her name), she made a decision to leave the pool racing behind, and make open water middle-distance marathons her focus.
Karen began her coaching career five years ago with a large Masters team that consisted of nearly 50% triathletes, from beginner, to elite, and even Olympic levels. She comes with the experience of learning to swim as an adult, which makes her an ideal choice for teaching adults. She has a contagious passion for open water swimming at every level, a unique approach to coaching, and a deep sense of commitment to helping make the goals of other athletes a reality.
- ASCA Masters Coach Level III
- E3 Level 1 Coach
- 4 Marathon open water races, with podium finishes (Swim Around Key West 2-man relay-10K; Swim Around Key West solo -12.5 miles; Lake Willoughby-5 miles; the Kingdom Swim-10 miles)
- Numerous sprint distance open water races, all podium finishes
- 7 Triathlon relay podium finishes (Cranberry Trifest; FirmMan ; Lobsterman; Mooseman; Timberman)