Ben Higson Appointed as National Senior Team Head Coach for Swimming

After an extensive search and recruitment process, Swim Ireland and National Performance Director Jon Rudd are delighted to announce the appointment of the latest member of their exciting and vibrant Performance team, that of Ben Higson as National Senior Team Head Coach and Head Coach of the National Centre (Dublin).

In the appointments of Rudd and Higson, Swim Ireland separate the Performance Director and Head Coach roles for the first time, a keystone within the new Swim Ireland Performance Strategy.

Higson will be the fourth member of Ireland’s Performance Senior Leadership Team, alongside NPD Jon Rudd, National Performance Services Manager John Watson and National Performance Pathway Manager Andrew Reid.

Higson will lead the Irish National Team into the major senior international meets of each season, as well as head up the new National Squad system commencing in September of this year. On a day-to-day basis, he will also lead the National Centre (Dublin), one of two National Centres in Ireland, working alongside recently appointed Assistant Coaches Steven Beckerleg and Bethany Carson. Lars Humer heads up the National Centre (Limerick), with Emmet Crowley and Cormac Powell in the Assistant Coaching roles.


Ben Higson (left) with Ross Murdoch (SCO and Uni. of Stirling)

Ben Higson (left) with Ross Murdoch (SCO and Uni. of Stirling)

With an exceptional international coaching pedigree and level of experience behind him, Higson was a prime candidate for the position, with numerous senior international medal successes to his credit at Commonwealth, European and World levels. In leading a thriving National Centre in Stirling, Scotland for a number of years, Higson brings the leadership skills and coaching credentials to the role that will allow him to work with Ireland’s leading athletes on a daily basis to help underline the National Centre in Dublin as one of the best daily performance environments in the world.


As a former British Swimming Coaches Association ‘Scottish Coach of the Year’ and a graduate of the highly esteemed UK Sport Elite Coach Programme, Higson is most renowned for his coaching of World, European and Commonwealth medallist Ross Murdoch and has coached numerous athletes to finalist positions at such levels. Working alongside John Watson is his strength & conditioning role in Dublin in association with the highly acclaimed Sport Ireland Institute, will prove to be an exciting relationship for the two world-leading Scots in their new Dublin National Aquatic Centre home.

Ben Higson (left) with Ross Murdoch (SCO and Uni. of Stirling)

Ben Higson (left) with Steven Tigg (Uni. of Stirling)

Higson will take on the role at the beginning of September and is already looking forward to working with Irish athletes


“I am delighted to accept the position of National Senior Team Head Coach with Swim Ireland. The opportunity to challenge myself and work collaboratively with the swimming community throughout Ireland is extremely exciting. It has been a privilege to work at the University of Stirling with world class coaches, athletes and support staff. Without the backing and investment of so many people I would not be in this position today. I will miss working with the athletes in Stirling and wish them and the coaching staff the very best for the future – but my efforts from September will be with Ireland and the National Centre (Dublin) and I strongly believe that we have the team in place to see this nation flourish on the world stage”.

Speaking on today’s announcements, Swim Ireland National Performance Director Jon Rudd commented

“The final piece of our jigsaw is now in place, ensuring us three full years in which we can focus on how we can deliver for Ireland in Tokyo 2020. Ben brings the coaching style and philosophy that we were looking for, an impeccable record and a drive and urgency that matches the rest of our Senior Leadership Team. Our international teams, our National Squad and our National Centre in Dublin will thrive under his guidance and I am excited to work with him and all of our other key players that we now have in place in allowing Irish swimming to perform at a new and consistent world class level. To be able to offer Irish athletes the chance to work with this team on a daily basis means that not only will Ireland have a programme which is extra special for their own athletes but that we also have a daily coaching environment that will truly be the envy of world swimming”.

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