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Christopher Clarke, 1968 - 2014

The swimming community is mourning the loss of a great friend and teammate. On June 22, 2014, Chris Clarke, 45, was participating in the Indy Open Water Challenge when he was pulled from the water.

Words cannot express the depth and magnitude of grief being felt by his Indy Aquatic Masters teammates and his friends in the greater swimming community. Anyone who knew Chris felt his enthusiasm for life and his passion for swimming.

Born December 10, 1968, he spent much of his youth in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chris came to the United States to swim for Michigan State in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was named to the Dean's List seven times before earning both his bachelors and masters degrees in engineering from Michigan State.

After nine years of working as a project manager at a major pharmaceutical company in Indianapolis, Chris founded Clarke Engineering Services in 1997. The president and founder of both CES and its sister company, Acquire Automation, Chris is also is the CEO and board president of the Verbal Behavior Center for Autism in Indianapolis and was active in the Indianapolis business community.

Chris was also a force to be reckoned with in the water. Just a few of his Masters Swimming achievements include:

  • 2-time USMS All-American
  • 27 individual USMS Top 10s
  • 12 USMS relay Top 10s
  • USMS relay record-holder in the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay, with Dan Michael, Grant Wieczorek, and Ben Christoffel
  • 3rd overall in the 2010 5K Big Shoulders Open Water Swim
  • 2nd overall in the 2011 2.5K Big Shoulders Open Water Swim
  • 5th overall in the 2014 2.4-Mile USMS Open Water National Championship

Chris is survived by his wife, Jane; his two daughters and a son.

A hugely attended memorial service was held to celebrate Chris' life on Saturday, June 28. Ben Christoffel gave the eulogy for Chris and put together a gallery of images.

Donations in honor of Chris Clarke can be made to the Non-Profit 501(c)3 school he founded:

Verbal Behavior Center for Autism
9830 Bauer Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46280
(317) 848-4774


Update - September 30, 2014
Attached is a letter from Chris' wife, Jane. The initial donations from IAM have been used by the VBCA to purchase and install a new security system at the school. Pictured to the right are VBCA Board Members, Jane Clarke and John Duffin, and new Executive Director, Breanne Hartley. Thanks to the IAM donations, the security system at the school is much easier to operate and the kids are safer. Thank you for your generosity in Chris' name.