South Bend Adams High School, 1966 – 70
Jeff began competitive swimming as an AAU achiever for the South Bend Marlins where he was a team member from 1958 to 1968. His numerous AAU victories in breaststroke, backstroke, and freestyle began to define his longer term focus. Gaining a reputation as a formidable freestyle competitor into his teenage years, he was a selection for most freestyle events. In August 1969, Clark was a member of a 100-mile relay event that had suddenly gained world popularity. Teamed with eight other young men, including future state champions and Hall of Fame members Mark Mamula and Dan Harrigan, the relay team swam 176,000 yards (or 7,040 laps of the 25-yard pool) at the South Bend YMCA. The team demolished the existing world record by over three hours. Although recognized as a new world record, the experience was more valuable as motivation for Clark and the other team members. Several years later, Harrigan, Mamula, and Clark dominated their events at the state championships. Harrigan went on to a tremendous swimming career, earning a bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics and barely missing another world record. Clark began high school swimming competition in 1966 under the direction of renowned coach Don Coar. At South Bend John Adams, Clark was a member of the1967 and 1968 Indiana State High School Championship teams before Coach Coar retired from high school coaching in 1969. Between 1968 and 1970, Clark was undefeated in the freestyle events during the dual meet season, city championships, regional championships, and sectional championships. Clark barely missed individual championships three times at the state championship meet. During his senior year, he was unbeaten in the 100 yard free for the entire year and became the Indiana High School State Champion and record holder. Clark garnered the maximum possible eight individual medals at the Indiana High School State Swimming and Diving Championship from 1967 to 1970. He earned 2 fifth place finishes, 2 third places, 3-second places finishes, and 1 championship finish. Clark was the South Bend John Adams High School team captain in 1970 and graduated in the top 5% of his class of 530. After high school, Clark attended Purdue University after receiving full scholarship offers from The University of Washington (for Water Polo), Ball State University, Evansville University, Cornell University, and others. During four years of Big Ten competition, Clark was a participant in the Big Ten Championships as well as the NCAA Championships. He was a member of the Purdue University record setting 200, 400, and 800 yard free relays. He was also a team captain and lettered four years. In addition, Clark earned a starting position on the men’s Purdue Water Polo Team for three years. Unfortunately, Jeff passed away on April 4, 2017.