Karen Lord was a state and national swimming champion.
When she was 15, Karen won the Australian Age Championships for 100m and 200m Backstroke. In 1986 she competed in Canada as a member of the Young Olympian Tour team and qualified for Australian selection for the Nikon Pan Pacific Championships in 1987, with 2min 16.98sec time.
Coached by her father, Mick Lord, Karen competed at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where she had to swim the 100m Backstroke preliminary three times in 1 hour and 35 minutes, as the competitors dead-heated.
Karen and her brother Gary were selected to represent Australia at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand, where she received a Bronze Medal for 200m Backstroke.