“I swam at Sewanee Military School in high school and I was okay. I was an undefeated swimmer at Auburn but we didn’t have a good coach or a good pool. I didn’t swim again until after vet school. I was in the Air Force for two years and had a veterinary practice in Mobile for twenty years. I retired from that and swam again for a while. It has been 30 years since I swam, but I couldn’t stand it any longer and wanted to compete. I am 89 and made myself get in the pool ten days ago. I am not getting any younger and started with the Eastern Shore Masters swimming program to compete again. I swam 50 yards today and I have to get my cardio back up for the mile. The mile swim was my best and I want to swim a mile again. I once beat the three best American swimmers. I had so much adrenaline and my wife went crazy. Swimming makes you feel good.
I sold my vet practice because I realized one day I would need money to retire. I went to work for the Mobile County Health Department. I got retirement and health care. I did a little bit of everything. Have you ever worked for a bureaucracy? Don’t. It will drive you crazy. I had a wonderful wife and we were married for 61 years. She died three years ago. She had systemic heart problems but that didn’t slow her down. I had her for 61 years and loved her so much. Marriage is not easy, but it takes both of you working hard at it.
I will be in the pool again tomorrow. I am going to work up to that mile.”
(At the Eastern Shore Masters Meet on Saturday, Clarke posted a top 10 time nationally for the 50 freestyle. He is now ranked eighth in the nation in his age group.)