Imogen Clark Snags 50 Breast Gold In 30.06 At British Summer Championships


While all eyes are on the 2023 World Championships taking place in Fukuoka, Japan, various national competitions are still underway. One is that of the British Summer Championships which kicked off last night in Sheffield, England.

Night one at Ponds Forge was distance night, including the men’s and women’s 1500m freestyle event.

Taking the men’s 1500m for ages 19+ was 23-year-old Nathan Hodges of Swansea. Hodges clocked a winning effort of 15:19.05 to get his hand on the wall well ahead of runner-up Joseph Deighan. Deighan, also of Swansea, secured silver in 15:35.32 while bronze was collected by Loughborough’s Tobias Robinson who hit 15:44.98.

On the women’s side in the same age category, it was Loughborough’s Lucie Hanquet who grabbed the gold. 20-year-old Hanquet, who represents Belgium internationally, scored a time of 16:29.42, narrowly edging out training teammate Fleur Lewis in the process.

Lewis settled for silver less than half a second later in 16:29.87 while Bath’s Leah Crisp rounded out the podium in 16:44.18.

Highlighting day two’s action was 24-year-old Kieran Bird striking gold in the men’s 200m freestyle. The 24-year-old Bath ace notched a time of 1:48.87 to represent one of three sub-1:50 swimmers on the evening.

Behind Bird in the 19+ category was Sheffield’s Ben Cope who nabbed silver in 1:49.78 while the 18+ winner was represented by Tyler Melbourne-Smith of Liverpool who posted 1:49.96 to shimmy under the barrier.

Stirling’s Michaella Glenister got it done for gold in the women’s 19+ 400m free, producing a mark of 4:15.13. Joining her in the 4:15 zone was Jemima Hall of Bath who earned runner-up status in 4:15.99.

Lewis was on the podium once again, following up her 1500m free silver with a bronze in this shorter distance.

Glenister’s Stirling teammate Jamie Robertson was the quickest athlete among the 19+ 50m backstroke field, hitting 25.54 for the gold this evening.

National record holder Imogen Clark was in the Ponds Forge water, taking on her signature 50m breaststroke event.

The 24-year-old from Derby Excel soared to the wall in a winning effort of 30.06, beating the field by well over a second. The time sits just .04 outside of Clark’s British standard of 30.02, a time she logged for silver at the 2022 Commonwealth Games behind winner Lara van Niekerk of South Africa.

Clark’s time here, therefore, checks in as the 4th swiftest performance of her career. It nearly matches her season-best of 30.05 put up in May on this year’s Mare Nostrum Tour.

As a refresher, Clark was disqualified in this 50m breaststroke event at April’s British Swimming Championships/World Championships Trials. She did snag silver in the 100m breaststroke race; however, her time of 1:07.92 did not meet the federation’s qualification standard for the Fukuoka roster.

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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