May 25, 2005
The Yale Men's swimming program is one of the most decorated sports in the rich history of athletics. The Bulldogs have captured 60 individual NCAA Championships and four team national titles, while swimmers from Yale have won 19 Olympic medals.
On June 4 at 3 p.m. in the Kiphuth Trophy Room of Payne Whitney Gym, one of those Olympians, Steve Clark '65, will donate one of his gold medals from the 1964 Olympics.
"The gold is still shiny but the ribbons are as faded as I am," said Clark, who is very humbled by the request to make an event out of his gift during his 40th reunion weekend. "I don't want to live on past athletic glory. That's not the way I was raised, and that's not why I am giving the medal to Yale. There are a lot of people in our Class who did great things. This is more of a tribute to my coach at Yale, Phil Moriarty, who has been a father figure to me."
Clark swam the preliminaries of the 400 medley and 800 freestyle relays for the 1960 United States team at Rome as a high school student but did not medal under the rules of that time.
In the Tokyo Olympiad, Clark won three gold medals as a member of the 400-meter freestyle and 800-freestyle relays and the 400-medley relay, each of those teams achieving world records. In addition, as the lead swimmer for the 400 free relay, Clark tied the 100-meter world record time of 52.9.
"I am extremely pleased that he has decided to do this," said the head coach of Yale Men's and Women's swimming, Frank Keefe. "He is one of the greatest swimmers of all time, and we are very fortunate to have the support from someone like Steve. This is the Heisman Trophy of swimming. " "We are thrilled to receive this generous gift from Steve Clark and are very excited to display his great piece of Olympic history. He was one of the most prolific collegiate and Olympic swimmers ever and one of the finest leaders to wear the Blue and White," said Yale Athletics Director Tom Beckett. During his illustrious collegiate career, the Los Altos, Calif., native won five individual NCAA titles, was part of a relay national title and captained the 1964-65 Yale team. Clark is the first man in the world to swim faster than 48, 47 and 46 seconds for 100 yards and 21 seconds for 50 yards. At the 1965 AAU Championships held at Yale, Clark lowered the 100-yard American record to 45.6. He received a standing ovation from over 2,000 fans as Moriarty, awarded him his AAU Championship medal in the final race of his senior year. Clark, a lawyer, was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an honor swimmer in 1966. He is a Masters swimmer with San Francisco's Olympic Club.
"After I led off the relay at the Olympics with the world record time, the starter walked over and handed me the shell from the gun which I still have," said Clark from his office at CSI Capital Management in San Francisco, a financial advisory firm for professional athletes. "A lot of my success in swimming could be attributed to the fact I had some of the greatest coaches in the world, including Phil Moriarty. Phil, and Yale, helped me become more than just a swimmer."
report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Assistant AD and Sports Publicity Director