In 1948, as a Redford High School senior, Scholes won Detroit City League titles in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle. Although not the fastest swimmer in the state, Clarke Scholes was persuaded to swim collegiately for Michigan State University. While under the direction of coach Charles McCaffree, Clarke was transformed into a five-time All-American and three-time NCAA champion in the 100-yard freestyle.
Scholes was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1980. He was part of the inaugural class of thirty inductees into the Michigan State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, and he was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, which honors professional and amateur athletes who have played in, or are from, the state of Michigan.