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Katie Pumphrey

Swimmer Katie Pumphrey, swimming in the ocean

Nickname: I’ve had many..Pumps, Kates, K8, Wombat, my sister calls me Pumpkinbutt. :) 

Artist, open water swimmer, swim coach…I’m the youngest of 4, a coffee and craft beer lover. I live in Baltimore, MD with my amazing fiancé, Joe and our dog, Monty. I’m training towards a solo crossing of the English Channel this August!

English Channel site + blog: 


Instagram: @swimkatie15 

What is your favorite dryland workout: I love + practice Hot Vinyasa Yoga 2-3 times a week at @charmcityoga.

What is your favorite water work out: Wow, hard question. I absolutely LOVE open water, which is a good thing since I’m training for the Channel, but I train in the pool a lot, especially since open water is hard to come by for a lot of the year around Baltimore. I swim in a 25 meter pool, often solo, but also with friends, an awesome masters group, or my amazing fiancé, Joe Mahach.

Favorite pool workout and what I’m doing to prepare for the channel are two different things. Sets I’m doing to prepare are 4 x 1,000s on 15:00, lots of 100’s and 200s descending, a lot of pull with paddles, and very long kick sets. 

One of my overall favorite sets looks like this: (25 meters)

4 x{ 100 Free, 100 stroke, 100 Free 1:45

3 x{ 125 Free, 125 stroke, 150 Free 2:10

2 x{ 150 Free, 150 stroke, 175 Free 2:40

1 x{ 175 Free, 175 stroke, 200 Free 3:00

What activities do you do in JOLYN: Open water swims + races- I’m usually the only swimmer in a two piece. Pool work outs, USMS swim meets, hot yoga (misfit top + leggings), hanging on the beach.  

What's your favorite JOLYN color: Cabernet

What's your favorite JOLYN style and why: I LOVE them all! This is a hard question….I love all of the tops, but my favorites are the Vent + Uniform top, which I wear with a Brazil bottom. I wear a Fixed Back GT Onesie a lot of the year when I have to swim indoors, but my first Jolyn was a Tie Back and I loved it. I’m anxious to try a Drifter Onsie and the Tomcat top next. :)

If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 things, what would they be: 

  • A Jolyn bikini
  • Summer Shandy beer
  • My fiancé, Joe. 

What's your favorite beach that you have been to and what beach is on your list to go to: Sunny Cove in Santa Cruz, CA- it’s the most magical place ever. I went there with my fiancé last fall and within 10 minutes of each other we saw seals, dolphins, and humpback whales. So awesome! I’d love to go to Magic Sands beach in Hawaii. 

Who is your favorite athlete: I can’t really narrow it down to one, there are so many amazing people out there! I look to a lot of amazing women that have inspired me to be brave and adventurous when it comes to open water swimming: Lynne Cox, Liz Fry, Mariel Hawley, Marcy MacDonald, and Marcia Cleveland. 

What are 3 things on your bucket list:

  • Swim the English Channel 
  • Show my artwork in several cities in the US and internationally.
  • Fill more than one passport. 

If you were 60 years old, what would you tell your children: Be brave enough to be crazy. I heard that once and I think about it often. I constantly remind myself to be brave and I feel proud when I am crazy. Being a little crazy (or a lot) leads to adventures!

What is the craziest thing you have ever done: Decide to swim the English Channel.

What would we find in your refrigerator right now: Eggs, half + half, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, cheese, vanilla greek yogurt, locally brewed beer, apples, spinach, and lots of ice cream in the freezer.

What nail polish color are you: Tickle my France-y (Ha! Great name, makes me giggle)

What motivates you: The want to feel limitless. 

If you had to be an animal, what would you be and why: Sea Otter. My favorite animal is a penguin- I love them so much :)…but sea otters are always look like they're having so much fun!

What book would you recommend to our readers: Dover Solo, by Marcia Cleveland + Swimming to Antartica by Lynne Cox

What is something that nobody knows about you: I don’t know about something nobody knows…but not a lot of people know that I am colorblind. 

What would you spend your last $10 on: Coffee. I guess that wouldn’t be the whole $10, so I’d save the rest…but coffee is a must. Always. 

What is your signature dish in the kitchen: Breakfast tacos…eggs w/ spinach, mushrooms, and cheese in a tortilla with avocado on top. Yum!

What is the hardest thing you've ever experienced: Doubt

What is the most important part of a sandwich: Avocado

What is your most embarrassing moment you're willing to admit: I once ate the entire rind of a lemon because my brother told me it was the best and most sour part. 

Any last words or testimonial: Surround yourself with amazing people. 

If and when I make it to France after hours of swimming in the cold and rough waters of the English Channel, it will be because of the incredible people in my life and the amazing support and encouragement I’ve received over the past 2 years. I constantly feel extremely lucky and inspired by them, and I know I couldn’t do any of this without them. Training has been extremely hard, and the emotional highs and lows can be exhausting, but it’s a team effort and it has been an adventure I’ve loved. Let’s do this!

Swimmer Katie Pumphrey with her husband Joe
Swimmer Katie Pumphrey, swimming in the ocean
Swimmer Katie Pumphrey, swimming in the ocean
Swimmer Katie Pumphrey with a friend
Swimmer Katie Pumphrey, swimming in the ocean
Swimmer Katie Pumphrey, swimming in the ocean
Swimmer Katie Pumphrey, training in a pool
Swimmer Katie Pumphrey, training in a pool
Swimmer Katie Pumphrey with her husband Joe


1 comment

  • Congratulations Katie :)
    You are amazing !!!! and you look amazing in a 2piece bathing suit!!

    Brenda Stanfield

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