Two Centres. One Nation.

The Performance Programme operates two National Centres, one at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin (swimming & diving) and one at the University of Limerick (swimming).

The two National Centres provide performance support for identified athletes across Ireland as we continue to prepare for the Olympic Games in 2020 and 2024 and operate as performance hubs for swimming (and diving in the case of Dublin).

Each continue to grow from their current Centre-based coaching group programme to an all-encompassing approach to preparation, development and education for both athletes and coaches.

The National Centres have an open door policy for targeted athletes and coaches within Ireland’s Performance and Performance Pathway systems. 

If you are interested in joining either Centre as a full-time or 'In Touch' member, please contact Niamh for a copy of the relevant Coaching Programme and information on how to apply.

Key features of the National Centres include:

  • Daily access to both 50m and 25m pools
  • Provision of a fully integrated daily training environment with over 25 hours of dedicated pool coaching per week available. Over 75% of the swimming water time is allocated to long course coaching
  • Commitment to providing the best possible living environment conducive to Performance training, with accommodation available on campus at both Centres
  • An aim to give holistic support to athletes to ensure that they achieve an ideal lifestyle and performance balance
  • Targeted athletes and coaches will be invited to attend Centres for experiential, development and testing purposes across the course of a season
  • A ‘Hub’ approach to educate our Performance coaches of the future
  • Full time coaching support in a world class performance facility with priority access to water time
  • An integrated Sports Science and Sports Medicine (SSSM) support programme determined by the National Senior Team Head Coach or National Performance Services Manager and subject to approval by the National Performance Director. The SSSM programme is supported by world class practitioners at the Sport Ireland Institute on the Dublin National Sports Campus


National Centre Athlete Membership

  • Athletes must be eligible to compete for Ireland. If an athlete is not eligible to compete for Ireland, the enquiry will only be considered if such a membership is considered to accentuate the daily training environment of the Irish athletes in situ.
  • Athletes must achieve the relevant entry standards for the Centre/Squad they wish to join. These standards are available by emailing Niamh
  • Athletes must complete an Enquiry Form which will be considered by the relevant National Centre Lead Coach and the National Performance Director
  • The aim is to notify eligible applicants within two weeks as to whether or not their enquiry has been successful
  • If the enquiry is successful, an athlete may be offered a trial at the National Centre
  • Athletes who are offered a Full-Time place at a National Centre will undergo an Induction Process and will be subject to a National Centre Agreement 
National Centre (Dublin)

National Centre (Dublin)

Based at the National Aquatics Centre in Dublin. National Senior Team Head Coach Ben Higson is the Lead Coach for the Centre (swimming), assisted by Senior Assistant Coaches Steven Beckerleg and Assistant Coach Bethany Carson.

National Diving Coach Damian Ball is Lead Coach for the Centre (diving) assisted by Assistant Coach Sarah Barrow 

Both swimming and diving are supported by National Head of Performance Services John Watson

For further information on the National Centre (Dublin)'s 'In Touch' Programme and Pathway Training Programme please click here

As part of our 'person first - athlete second approach' in Performance swimming & diving, the National Centre (Dublin) works closely with two partner Higher Education Institutions who both offer scholarship opportunities, a preferred academic entry scheme and a comprehensive athlete support programme:

Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) - www.dit.ie

DIT & Swim Ireland Leaflet 

Why Choose DIT

DIT Elite Sport Contact - Niamh O'Callaghan

Dublin City College (DCU) - www.dcu.ie 

DCU Sport Scholarship Leaflet

DCU Sport Scholarship Contact - Yvonne McGowan

National Centre (Limerick)

National Centre (Limerick)

Based at the University of Limerick. Coach John Szaranek is the Lead Coach for the Centre, assisted by Senior Assistant Coach Emmet Crowley and Assistant Coaches Cormac Powell, Fiona Doyle & Bernard Cahill

Athletes are also supported by S&C Coach Lorna Barry & Physiotherapist Scott Murphy

For further information on the National Centre (Limerick)'s 'In Touch' Programme and Trainability Squad please click here

As part of our 'person first - athlete second approach' in Performance swimming & diving, the National Centre (Limerick) works closely with a partner Higher Education Institution which offers scholarship opportunities, a preferred academic entry scheme and a comprehensive athlete support programme:

University of Limerick - www.ul.ie 

UL Scholarship Leaflet 

Why Choose UL

UL Sport Scholarship Contact - Gary Ryan

National Centre Enquiries

Niamh McDonnell

Niamh McDonnell

Performance Manager

+353 86 775 0775