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Swimmer’s medal heaps credit on Denby centre

Swimming glory girl Imogen Clark with one of her mentors, Denby-based coach Gordon Watson.
Swimming glory girl Imogen Clark with one of her mentors, Denby-based coach Gordon Watson.

A memorable international debut by one of Britain’s best young swimmers has heaped credit on a gym in Denby.

For Imogen Clark, who won a silver medal at the European Championships in Glasgow, receives valuable help in her training and preparation from the Complete Body Engineering centre run by Gordon Watson.

The 31-year-old Watson, a former professional boxer, was asked a few years ago by the Derbyshire Institute of Sport to help Imogen with her strength and conditioning.

Since then, the 19-year-old from Morton has made remarkable progress, with Watson’s work at the Denby Institute centre also branching out into mentoring and full management of her lifestyle.

“She has really benefited,” said Watson. “We talk all the time, and I help her with everything that goes on. She loves it down here. But she works and trains really hard. She has true dedication.”

After back-to-back national titles, Imogen lowered her own British record on her way to the 50m breaststroke final at Glasgow, where she finished an excellent second to Russia’s Yuliya Efimova.

Now her main ambition is to swim at the 2020 Olympic Games. “It’s a realistic target,” said Watson. “She has the credentials to do it.”

Imogen is also keen on mentoring youngsters herself, and is such a natural at it that Watson predicts there will be at least ten Olympians from the area over the next 15 years.

Not bad for a girl who was once advised by doctors not to swim again because she had epilepsy.