Chatting with Clarice Artis champion swimmer at 97

Clarice Artis is a golden girl with a can-do attitude she talks about being a champion swimmer at 97.


Bev With Clarise

Inspired at 72 by a 92-year-old diving champion, Clarice decided to change her lifestyle.

“I thought I have to do something, it was 25 or more years since I’ve been swimming,” she says

“I didn’t play sport, hadn’t been into the sea even though I lived there from when my children were youngsters,”

“I made up my mind I was going to go swimming the next morning at the local pool.”

The next day Clarice woke up at 6 am full of enthusiasm to take over the pool.

“I’m just going like an Olympian doing a lap, I got about two thirds of the way and I thought what’s wrong with me, I just felt like I was going to have a heart attack and I grabbed hold of the side and a couple of women came along and they said are you alright?” she says

“They helped me out of the water and very disappointed I went home.”

This experience did not deter Clarice and the very next day she went straight back into the pool.

“From then on I was going three times a week and I did about 50 laps till I was 80, and developed heart trouble but I still went swimming,” she says.

One day while coming out of the water a gentleman decided to pop over and ask if she was in the Masters swimming.

“I said oh no I’m too old, he kept ringing me until at 86 I joined he greeted me and said the Australian Championships this year are in Victoria I’ve entered you in 50, 100, 200 and I nearly dropped in my tracks I thought how dare he do this,” she says

“It was only about a month off, I got very cross with him I said you have no right to do that I’ve never been a race in my life,”

“I went in them and broke all the records, that was in backstroke only I could not believe it,”

“I broke my own record the next year, and won a lot of medals.”

Clarice says the secret to thinking young is to keep active.

“Look after yourself not only physically but mentally as well, I do crossword puzzles and play cards once a week,” she says “I advise people to walk a lot, keep moving otherwise you lose it and it is so true.”