Clara LaMore Walker, Olympian who Set More Than 180 World Records, Has Died

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 3

April 03rd, 2021 News

Clara LaMore Walker, a 1948 U.S. Olympian and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, died on Friday. According to her great-niece, Alyssa Kent, she died of natural causes at an assisted living facility. She was 94-years old.

Walker won AAU breaststroke national championships in 1945 (200 meter breaststroke, outdoor), 1947 (100 yard breaststroke, indoor) and 1948 (220 yard breaststroke, indoor), and qualified for the 1948 Olympic Games. There she finished 6th in her heat and 19th overall in the 200 meter breaststroke with a time of 3:23.6.

After those Olympic Games, she retired from swimming, but resumed the sport three decades later in 1980 on her doctor’s advice to relieve back pain. In the time since, she set more than 180 World Records and 465 American Records in masters swimming and won 8 consecutive Outstanding Masters Swimmer awards from US Masters Swimming.

She didn’t lose a masters race for over a decade, and at one point she held every World and National Record in the 65-69 age group aside from the butterfly events.

That effort saw her inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame not for her Olympic qualification, but for what she achieved after that qualification in masters competition.

After the 1948 Olympics, Walker graduated from Providence College, where she had been training, and began to work at a telephone company. Eventually she would become a teacher at Western Hills Middle School

“Clara was an extraordinary woman and athlete who excelled at all she did,” said current Providence head swim coach John O’Neill. “She loved her time working and training at PC, and was a huge Friar fan.  A member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, she was one of the most focused and driven athletes I have ever worked with.  She will be missed by all who had the privilege to know her.”

Walker was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 1968.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ol' Longhorn
5 months ago

Amazing woman and athlete. Like many masters swimmers, she picked swimming up again when she was in her early 50’s.

Peter Solomon
5 months ago

RIP, Clara. You will be missed. We are fortunate to call you our “friend”.

cynthia curran
5 months ago

I did a comparison of her times compared to the 60-64 and 65-69 age group in masters versus the younger group that did age group swimming in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Yeah, the current record holders in those age groups are faster, but some started back in swimming in their 30’s instead of their 50’s that helps to keep your speed intake. Also, the younger swimmers today in their 60’s came from a period where times were faster as well

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »