Charlie Clark

View Current photo via Courtesy of Jack Spitser

Charlie Clark is an American distance freestyler. He has represented the United States at both long-course and short-course World Championships.

Junior/High School Swimming

At 2019 Junior Nationals, Clark earned his first 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials cuts in the 800 free and 1500 free. Clark placed third in the 1500 on Tuesday with an 18-second drop, from a seed time of 15:51.42 to 15:33.51. On Saturday he placed seventh in the 800 free with 8:12.20 for a second OT cut. It would have been a best time by 10.8 seconds but he had gone 8:11.56 as a leadoff 800 in the 1500 on Tuesday. Between the two he competed in the 400 free (15th place with a PB of 4:01.13) and the 200 free.

At the 2019 Winter Juniors, Clark took 3rd in the 1650 with a super quick 15:07.84. He also put up a 1:40.33 and 4:25.75 in the 200 and 500 free. 

At The 2020 Ohio Division 2 State Championships, Clark went 4:26.20 in prelims and 4:26.94 in the finals for the win.

College Swimming (Ohio State)

Clark announced his commitment to The Ohio State University in late summer, 2019. 


Clark only began to show up in meets for OSU in early 2021. Against Penn State, Clark led a 1-2-3-4 OSU finish with a 9:07.90 in the 1000 free. In the 500 free, he also won, this time with a 4:30.47. Clark led a 1-2-3 in the 1000 free at the Indiana and Purdue tri-meet with a 9:07.08. He was 2nd in the 500 free with a season-best 4:25.66.

At the 2021 B1G Conference Championships, Clark had a major breakout in the college scene. He was 4th in the 500 free with a 4:17.74, a ‘B’ cut. In the mile, he was 3rd with a big PB of 14:45.24, another ‘B’ cut. He also was 1:38.54 in the 200 free, another PB. 

At NCAAs Clark had another big drop in the 1650 with a 14:40.70, good for 8th overall. He was one of just 2 unranked domestic recruits in the class of 2024 to score points at 2021 NCAAs and was perhaps one of the biggest improvements in the top end of the class: Clark was 4:25.7/15:07 at the time of our senior re-rank. He went 4:17.7/14:40.7 for Ohio State.


Against Denison, Clark took the 1000-yard freestyle (9:03.00), finishing 13 seconds ahead of the second-place swimmer. At the Ohio State Invite, Clark put up some solid times. He had a 1:38.84 200 free and a 4:19.15 500 free. Most impressive was his 14:42.21 1650, just under 2 seconds off his best time. He also went an unofficial best time in the 1000 at the flip with a 8:56.45.

Against Michigan, Clark clocked an 8:51.82 in the 1000 free, a new personal best by almost 6 seconds. He also even split the race. Clark went on to win the 500 free in 4:18.14, just off his best.

After a strong season, Clark crushed it at the 2022 B1G Championships. He had a big personal best of 4:13.77 in the 500 free for 3rd after going 4:15.39 in prelims. The 500 free might have been his swim of the meet but then came his mile. Clark was 8:47.50 at the 1000, well under his PB in the 1000. He brought it home well too as he crushed a 14:36.02 to dust the field by 8 seconds. 

At NCAAs he dropped a bit more with a 14:35.38 1650, good for 8th again. He was also 20th in the 500 free (4:14.91). 


Against Virginia Tech, Clark dominated by 7 seconds with a 4:22.72 500 free and by 17 seconds with a 9:02.58 1000 free. Both were wins and earned him B1G Men’s Swimmer of the Week. 

Less than a month out from his trip down to AUS for SC Worlds, Clark put up some solid times at the Ohio State Invite. In the 500, he was 4:18.07, a season-best. In the 1650 he was 14:46.80, another season best. 

In a tri against Texas and Alabama, Hobson topped the 1000 free with a 8:49.84, Clark’s fastest dual (or in this case tri) meet time.  Close behind him was SC Worlds distance partner and Longhorn David Johnston with a 8:50.54. Johnston flipped the script in the 500 as Clark came 2nd with a 4:21.83.

OSU was hosted by their arch-rivals: Michigan. Clark had a double of 8:58.07 in the 1000 free and a 4:24.46 500 free. He won both convincingly, finishing 15 seconds ahead of the next-fastest swimmer in the 1000. Clark also negative split the race, going 4:29.56 on the first 500, then coming home in 4:28.51. 

At the Tim Welsh Classic hosted by Notre Dame, Clark threw down a swift 8:48 1000 free. His consistency was his strength in that race as excluding the 1st and last 50s, his slowest split was 26.76 and his fastest was 26.30. He also had a 4:19.06 500 free and a season-best 1:39.13 in the 200 free. 

At the 2023 B1G Conference Championships, Clark threw down his best 500 free since 2022 NCAAs with a 4:15.35, missing what it took to make 2022 NCAAs. Of course, Clark always has his signature mile and this one did not disappoint. He smashed the field by 9 seconds with a season-best 14:41.75. He wasn’t clear of the field at the 500 but sped up to sub-54-second 100s from there on and no one was able to touch his pace. 

He put up practically the same time at NCAAs with a 4:15.96 500 free for 25th. He was able to drop a bit off his season best but Clark’s 14:41.43 did not scratch his best time. However, it was good for 7th. 

National/International Swimming

2021 Pro Swim Series (Indianapolis, Indiana)

A month out from Olympic Trials, Clark put up best times in all his races at the Pro Swim Series stop in Indy. Clark was 2nd in the 1500 with a PB 15:21.30 after being moved into the fast heat. He also put up an 8:06.93 800 free and a 3:56.12 400 free.

2020(1) Olympic Team Trials (Omaha, Nebraska) 

In his first race, the 400 free, Clark went a personal best of 3:55.60 for 32nd. Clark got better as his races got longer. In the 800 free, he dropped over 5 seconds off his 23rd seeded 8:03.68 to place 10th in 7:58.80. In his 1500 free, Clark added from seed in prelims with a 15:22.01 but that was enough to make the final. He took full advantage of his 2nd swim where he put up a big best of 15:14.11 for 5th. 

2021 Geneva Sectionals (Geneva, Ohio)

Clark, now a month removed from Olympic Trials, put up some solid times. He went a PB of 3:54.43 in the 400 free. He was 8:04.09/15:26.67 in the 800/1500 distance pair.

2021 Summer Nationals (Greensboro, North Carolina) 

Clark made massive strides ahead of himself from just a few months prior. Clark won an impressive 3 titles in his 3 races at the east side of the 2021 Summer Nationals. In his first race, he dropped 10 seconds off his PB with a 15:04.37 in the 1500 free. The swim was the #3 time in the nation only behind 2020(1) Olympians Bobby Finke (14:39.65) and Michael Brinegar (15:00.87). In the 400 free, he dropped a dominant 3:51.65 to top the field by 4 seconds. Following his opening 100, Clark descended his back 300 meters to win. In the 800 free on the final day, Clark claimed his final title with a 7:58.87, just off his trials swim. His 1500 time earned him a spot on the National Team Roster announced in the fall. 

2021 US Open Championships (Greensboro, North Carolina)

Making a big move late, Clark fell just shy of a title in the 800 free with a 7:54.40 best time. He was closed on by Bobby Finke who won just .33 ahead of him. He was also 3:52.95 in the 400 free for 4th and 15:07.53 in the 1500 for 2nd.

2022 International Team Trials (Greensboro, North Carolina)

As the #2 seed in the 1500 free and #4 in the 800 free, Clark had a good shot at qualifying for his first International meet. It could be just random chance or the fact that a lot of high-level meets are hosted in Greensboro but the last 3 times (2021 NCAAs, 2021 Summer Nats, and 2021 U.S. Open), Clark has raced incredibly. He kept up this pattern at the 2022 International Team Trials. Clark went a PB every time he raced. On day 1, he went a massive best time in the 1500 with a 14;51.78 for 2nd. It was his first time under 15 minutes. Then, in the 400 free on day 4, Clark made the A final with a 3:51.62. In finals, he dropped that to a 3:49.36 for 4th. On day 5, behind Finke’s 800 free U.S. Open record, Clark took 2nd again with a 7:50.07. His swims earned him the Breakout Male Swimmer of the Meet. 

2022 FINA World Championships (Budapest, Hungary)

At 19, Clark was the youngest member of the United States male roster. He added in both his races with a 7:51.59 for 12th in the 800 and a 15:00.33 in the 1500 for 10th.

2022 Duel in the Pool (Sydney, Australia)

Clark took on open water racing for the first time at the iconic Bondi Beach in Sydney. In the 4×800 open water relay, Clark led off the Americans but the Aussies closed on the Americans in the final meters of the race for the win. The U.S. had used a male-male-female-female order while the Aussies used a F-F-M-M order creating a thrilling finish.

2022 FINA World Cup (Indianapolis, Indiana)

In preparation for SC Worlds, Clark got his first-ever SCM races under his belt. He raced the 1500 where he put up a solid 14:50.45 for 3rd. He was also 12th in the 400 free with a 3:46.53.  

2022 FINA Short Course World Championships (Melbourne, Australia)

Clark continued his upward trajectory. Having failed to place top at LC Worlds, he scored top 8 finishes in both his races. In the 800 free, he was 8th with a 7:37.54. In the 1500, he upgraded to 7th, one spot ahead of fellow American David Johnston. His time was 14:33.93.

2022 International Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Clark was in good form. His trials meet was very similar to 2022 trials. He opened with a PB in the 1500. His 14:50.84 was squarely 2nd with Finke 8 seconds ahead and the 3rd place finisher, Will Gallant, 12 seconds back from Clark.  In the 400 free he was 3:51.10 in prelims and 3:49.54 in finals, good for 9th. In the 800 free, he missed qualification with a 7:51.65 for 4th.

2023 World Aquatics Championships (Fukuoka, Japan)

In the 1500, Clark was 14:57.16 for 11th in prelims. His best time would have comfortably made the final and placed 6th.

–This biography was originally developed by Lucas Caswell

Best Times

Course Event Time Date Meet
scy 500 Free 4:13.77 02/24/22 2022 B1G Conference Championships
West Lafayette, Indiana
scy 1000 Free 8:47.50 02/26/22 2022 B1G Conference Championships
West Lafayette, Indiana
scy 1650 Free 14:35.38 03/26/22 2022 NCAA Championships,
Atlanta, Georgia
scm 800 Free 7:37.54 12/17/22 2022 SC World Championships
Melbourne, Australia
scm 1500 Free 14:33.93 12/13/22 2022 SC World Championships
Melbourne, Australia
lcm 400 Free 3:49.36 04/29/22 2022 International Team Trials
Greensboro, North Carolina
lcm 800 Free 7:50.07 04/30/22 2022 International Team Trials
Greensboro, North Carolina
lcm 1500 Free 14:50.84 06/27/23 2023 International Team Trials
Indianapolis, Indiana