Life Coach Magazine

The Do Over: My Journey from the Depths of Addiction to World Champion Swimmer by Karlyn Pipes

By Debi Lantzer @debiL1611

The Do Over: My Journey from the Depths of Addiction to World Champion Swimmer by Karlyn PipesThe Do-Over: My Journey from the Depths of Addiction to World Champion Swimmer Published by Aquatic Edge on November 15th 2015
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Sports
Pages: 376
Format: Paperback

From the time she first stepped onto the starting blocks, Karlyn Pipes seemed destined for Olympic medals, Wheaties boxes, and greatness. Brimming with talent and coached by two-time Olympic gold medalist Mike Troy, she had the potential to be the best. But unable to keep up with the expectations, she turned her back on the sport and replaced the liquid of the pool with that of the bottle.

Karlyn eventually found herself in a destructive free fall that not only derailed her swimming career but very nearly took her life. At thirty-one, in the darkest hours of her disease, Karlyn found the courage, strength, and resilience to turn her life around. She returned to the source of her pain and her pleasure–the water. She returned to heal. Today Karlyn is one of the most accomplished competitive swimmers in the world.

The Do-Over is an inspiring story about recovery, hope, and second chances. Candid, compelling, and insightful, this is a beneath-the-surface look at a remarkable, odds-defying comeback–not just in the pool, but in life.

Somewhere around the time I was watching the Olympics this year, I received an email about a book by author and world champion swimmer, Karlyn Pipes called The Do Over: My Journey from the Depths of Addiction to World Champion Swimmer.  Olympic swimming is one of those things we watch in our house without fail. None of us are really swimmers, but we love it so much we never miss it. By the time the Olympics are over, we feel like we’ve come to know the swimmers personally.  

…and I might not know about swimming, but I sure do know about addictions, having experienced a “bottom” of my own over 23 years ago, and by the grace of God, I’ve been sober ever since. 

Karlyn has a similar story to many others that have walked the road of addiction to recovery.  She paid the price for her “bottom” as well.  I could identify with Karlyn’s story from cover to cover.  

Karlyn shares with readers her walk through life starting with her childhood, family swimming, an alcoholic father, divorce, and other life struggles. She drinks to escape her burdens, to suppress her depression, to avoid the reality of her life. As her drinking increases, she has more difficulty with day to day things, with being accountable for herself and for basically showing up.

When she finally hits her bottom and has a moment of clarity, she is able to admit to her mom that she might be an alcoholic, and everything starts to change for Karlyn.  Thanks to the love, support and guidance she receives, she is able to get sober, and stay sober so that she can be provided with the gift of a “do over”. She finds a great guy, marries, and continues to grow in her recovery by rising back to the top of her swimming game, stronger and smarter than before.

Whether you are an athlete, or whether you are struggling or in recovery for an addiction, you will be able to relate to Karlyn’s amazing story of redemption and family restoration.  The Do Over is definitely a great read, and I really enjoyed it.


In June of 2015, Karlyn reached the pinnacle of her swimming career when at the age of 53 she was inducted into the prestigious International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) joining all-time swimming greats such as Janet Evans, Mark Spitz and Johnny Weissmuller in this prestigious recognition. Only twelve people per year are inducted and are selected from all of the aquatic sports including swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming, open water, coaching and pioneer contributors. Since its inception, only 14 Masters swimmers have been honored.

Karlyn is professional speaker offering both inspirational and technical talks, and is a three-time presenter at the American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA) World Clinic. As a writer, from 2007-2012 Karlyn penned a monthly column entitled The Pool’s Edge in Swimming World Magazine, has been a contributor to SWIMMER Magazine and West Hawaii Today newspaper.

Karlyn’s swimming technique is so efficient that Go Swim Productions created two instructional videos using her as the model. Go Swim Freestyle and Go Swim All-Strokes with Karlyn Pipes is available on Amazon. 

 When not traveling, teaching and speaking, Karlyn lives in Kona, Hawaii and trains with the Kona Dolphin (youth) swim team. To contact Karlyn, email [email protected]

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher without cost in exchange for my honest review.

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