April 09, 2020

We would like to thank all club committee members and coaches who engaged with us through our recent webinars and survey, we were overwhelmed with the numbers and level of engagement from our clubs. 

The feedback provided by you has helped us to develop this FAQ, which is intended to provide clubs with answers to common questions being received by Swim Ireland regarding the current Covid-19 situation.

If you are still unsure about your question after reading this document, please contact Swim Ireland through your Club Support Officer for further advice.  

Club Activities  

As a club what activities should we continue with?

In line with the directive issued by Swim Ireland on the 25th of March 2020 and by the HSE advices all activities that involve personal social interaction, such as group training, meetings and social activities are cancelled until further notice. In line with this advice all competitions are cancelled until the new 2020-21 season. It is very important however that clubs still undertake the following:

  • Hold committee meetings via conference call/video conferencing
  • Coaches engage regularly with athletes through video conferencing, email and social media. Further advice regarding the use of video conferencing is provided below and Swim Ireland can support your club if you need help setting up a session.
  • Provide athletes with safe and appropriate home-based training programmes that they would be familiar with and have undertaken previously
  • Engage and follow Swim Ireland support through training advice, online forums and education training
  • Keep a regular communication channel open (with and for) your club members  

Can coaches provide programmes and/or advice on dryland training for club members?

Club coaches should be providing advice and guidance in relation to dry land training programmes during the current situation. 

Use this as an opportunity to improve areas of weaknesses, such as flexibility or control. It is important however, that any activities provided to the athletes should be familiar to them and should not involve using equipment they cannot access or would not have used previously.  

Swim Ireland Performance Department can be contacted to provide guidance, support and programmes to be shared with your athletes. Contact details can be found at the end of the document.   

If we decide to use virtual platforms, such as video conferencing what do we need to consider particularly in relation to young people? 

Swim Ireland has produced some policy guidance for using Virtual Learning Platforms with young people. This is safeguarding information for ensuring that the welfare and protection of young people is paramount when interacting online; taking into account existing safeguarding policies as well as ensuring that everyone abides by the codes of conduct. 

Policies can be found here:

Using Virtual Learning Platforms for online interactions with young people

Social Media

Filming and Photography


We have put together some guidance for some of the widely used Virtual Learning Platforms that  you might be considering or are already using, they can be found here:

Virtual Learning Platforms April 2020.   

How often should we engage with our members?

There is no straight forward answer to this question as only you know your members. However, as a rule of thumb, people like meaningful engagement throughout these unprecedented times and communicating on a regular basis is important to keep your members engaged. 

We would suggest that you are guided by how often you would normally engage with your members therefore it probably makes sense that there would be more interaction with squads/groups that have the most sessions. Having said that we suggest it is important to ensure as much as possible that all squads are contacted/engaged weekly. 

We are currently developing new opportunities and will be able to launch an exciting new project where clubs can engage with our senior athletes later this week - keep an eye on our social media channels. 

We will also circulate more information this week on different activities that the club can do to help engage members. 

The Club Children’s Officers have been engaging with Swim Ireland and each other through an online forum and as a club it is vital that you are with engaging them to consider what might be offered to the young people in your club.  

We have ceased training and the facility is closed - are we liable for pool fees?

You will need to engage with the facility manger to understand their policy regarding refunds and/or provision of services. If you have further queries in this regard, please contact your Club Support Officer, contact details can be found at the bottom of this page.  

We have ceased training - how do we keep our coaches involved?

Your club coaches are vital in providing support and advice to the athletes within your club. They should be providing essential information on training, nutrition, goal setting and social interaction with other club members. 

Swim Ireland is providing lots of useful advice for coaches and athletes through social media which can be used and shared. If you need more help in this regard, please contact Swim Ireland through your Regional Pathway Development Coach - contact details can be found at the end of the document.   

Swim Ireland is delighted to launch our Online Training Schedule for the month of April. The schedule, available HERE, is aimed at all learners including teachers, coaches of different disciplines, is a mixture of online Continuous Professional Development (CPD), Forums, Classrooms and Modules delivered by professionals from our Education, Performance, Youth Development and Clubs and Communities Departments. 

The vast majority of these are free and they are open to members and non-members. 

There are opportunities within this schedule for learning to take place for all members and parents within the club, such as officials, team manager and safeguarding courses, CCO forums and committee training. 

This will help keep everyone engaged and supported and is an opportunity to help clubs increase the number of qualified members within the club. If you have any suggestions please contact the Education Department, contact details below.   

Is it possible to engage with other clubs to understand how they are managing the current situation?

Yes, we will provide several ways for clubs to engage with Swim Ireland and other clubs around the country. We have already hosted online webinars for committees and coaches and will continue to review the need for more of these opportunities. 

There are Treasurers/Finance Forums planned for April and a Chairperson Forum planned for 29th April 2020. We have also set up several online forums aimed at particular roles which will allow individuals to engage with Swim Ireland and other people in the same role.   

Chairperson - https://www.facebook.com/groups/swimirelandchairpersoncommunity/

Secretary - https://www.facebook.com/groups/swimirelandsecretarycommunity/

Treasurer - https://www.facebook.com/groups/swimirelandtreasurercommunity/

Coach - https://www.facebook.com/groups/swimirelandcoachcommunity/ 

Our coaches are self-employed - what are our options?

In this regard the club has two options in relation to contractors. In short these are:

  • Continue to retain your contractors at some level and use them to remain engaging and providing advice and training to members.
  • If the club cannot maintain the services of any self-employed contractors, both ROI and NI governments have launched support in this area. Self-employed workers may

be eligible to apply for a payment where they have lost employment. More information can be found below:

All clubs are unique in this regard and in both scenarios, it is very important that the committee make informed decisions in relation to their own club and what the club can maintain financially. 

If in any doubt, advice should be sought through the appropriate financial channels (I.e. Club Accountant) and clear communication with self-employed workers is vital.   

As a club we have employees - what are our options?

In this regard the club has several options in relation to employees. In short these are:

  • Retain your employees as normal and use them to continue engaging and providing advice and training to members. The governments (ROI and NI) have launched a Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, whereby the government will subsidise employers to retain their workers. More information can be found below:
  • If the club cannot maintain the services of any employees, the ROI government has launched support through a COVID-19 Unemployment Payment, whereby workers may be eligible to apply for the payment where they have lost employment. More information can be found below: 

All clubs are unique in this regard and in both scenarios, it is very important that the committee make informed decisions in relation to their own club and what the club can maintain financially. 

If in any doubt advice should be sought through the appropriate financial channels and clear communication with workers is vital.   

Should we continue to charge membership fees?

As all clubs are unique and are in different situations it will be for the committee to decide this. 

If the club is still providing a regular service through member engagement, training programmes and incurring expenses it may be suitable that the club still charge reduced fees to cover any costs – particularly if some of this work requires you to pay your coach (even if this is at a reduced rate or an hourly rate). 

It is very important to consider all aspects of the clubs finances (i.e. reserves, future expenses, outstanding money) and make informed decisions in this regard. If you have further queries on this, please contact your Club Support Officer who can provide further guidance.  

Should we issue refunds or credits for membership fees?

As above, all clubs will need to make informed decisions in this regard and take the decision that is right for the club. We are currently collating information in relation to what clubs are currently doing and will share this as soon as the information becomes available. 

Will Swim Ireland be issuing refunds or credits regarding membership fees?

As Swim Ireland continues to provide a comprehensive service to clubs and members and is quickly developing a new range on online supports and programmes, we are still incurring considerable costs and will not be issuing refunds. Swim Ireland continues to be open for business and is committed to engaging with, offering learning opportunities and supporting members through this time. 

Our club AGM is due to take place in the coming weeks

In relation to your AGM the club has the following options:

  • Hold your AGM via video conference (webinar). Swim Ireland can support you to undertake this. Contact your Club Support Officer. for further information on the available platforms.
  • Postpone your AGM until the advice has changed and club activities are back to normal.

With either option it is important the committee communicate with all members about the process and decisions being taken.   

Our club AGM is due to take place in several months

It is best to delay a decision in this regard and wait until advice has been updated. Once advice in relation to club activities is clear, follow the advice as set out above. 

We are an open water club - what should we be doing?

As the current season for open water has not started, we are still closely monitoring the advice and guidance prior to issuing any further directives. 

However, clubs must not be holding training sessions and if swimmers are still taking part in open water training, it must be undertaken in line with guidance from the Department of Health (to exercise within 2kms of your house and you cannot exercise with people from outside your household).   

International Travel  

What should we do if our flights have been cancelled?

Engage with your airline or travel agent to understand their policy. Most airlines are fully refunding customers for any cancelled flights. If the airline is not providing refunds, then please contact Swim Ireland Club Support Officers for further guidance. 

We are a club based in the ROI and our event has been cancelled or facility is closed - what should we do?

If your event has been cancelled, you may be eligible to claim back the cost of your accommodation and flights through the Swim Ireland club insurance policy. Please email or call your Support Officer to find out more information and they will put you in contact with the broker. 

We are a club based in the ROI and our flights and or/event has been cancelled and we have paid for accommodation - what should we do?

If your flights and/or event has been cancelled, you may be eligible to claim back the cost of your accommodation through the Swim Ireland club insurance policy. Please email or call your Support Officer to find out more information and they will put you in contact with the broker.   

What should we do if we have an overseas trip planned for later in the year and no advice is being provided or nothing has been cancelled?

You will need to delay any decision and withhold any further payments until the situation becomes clearer and further advice is provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs (https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/). 

A decision may also be taken by the airline or event organisers to cancel flights and/or event. Please contact Swim Ireland for further guidance and support. 

We are a club based in NI and we have questions regarding possible travel insurance.

If you have any questions regarding your trip and travel insurance, you will need to contact Swim Ulster and they will provide you with more information. Contact details can be found at the end of the document. 

2020-21 Swim Ireland Season  

When will the competitions calendar be released?

The draft competition calendar for next season has been issued to Regional Management Committees to start the planning and scheduling of events for the coming season. 

This is, of course, subject to us being able to return to the pool in/from September 2020 and other changes may be necessary if this not the case. The regions will be in contact with all clubs shortly to schedule a calendar meeting.

The National Short Course calendar of events has been finalised and will be issued in the coming weeks. The National Long Course calendar cannot be finalised until the dates for all international (FINA/LEN) events are confirmed.   

If this National crisis resolves itself more quickly than anticipated Swim Ireland will consider this further in relation to any additional events that it might be possible to hold.  

What will be the process for selection to Regional and National squads?

The Performance Department are currently reviewing the application process for all squads and will issue this to all clubs in the very near future. With no competitions occurring between March 2020 and September 2020, this has been a challenge for them! 


We hope you find the above information helpful in answering any questions you may have in relation to the current situation that we are all facing. We will continue to monitor the advice being issued by the relevant government departments and issue directives and updates to clubs in this regard. 

For the most up to date information please follow the Swim Ireland website or  social media pages, links are provided below. It is important as a club to continue engaging with everyone in your club, make informed decisions and engage with Swim Ireland, we are here to help and offer guidance and support through all our departments. If you have any further suggestions or questions, please feel free to contact us.  

Useful Contacts

Useful Contacts

Clubs and Community

Adam Cox (Head of Clubs, Community and Competitions) – adamcox@swimireland.ie

Aisling McKeever (Club Support Manager) – aislingmckeever@swimireland.ie

Sarah Kelly (Discipline Support Manager) – sarahkelly@swimireland.ie

Vincent Finn (Connacht Club Support Officer) – vincentfinn@swimireland.ie

Damien Fitzpatrick (Munster Club Support Officer) – damienfitzpatrick@swimireland.ie

Pat Daly (Competitions Manager) – patdaly@swimireland.ie  

Youth Development

Kate Hills (Head of Safeguarding, Ethics and Youth Development) – katehills@swimireland.ie 



Niamh McDonnell (Performance Manager) - niamhmcdonnell@swimireland.ie

Jon Rudd (Performance Director Swimming and Diving) – jonrudd@swimireland.ie

Ben Higson (National Senior Team Head Coach) – benhigson@swimireland.ie

Damian Ball (National Diving Coach) – damianball@swimireland.ie

Andrew Reid (National Performance Pathway Manager) – andrewreid@swimireland.ie

Paul Talty (Associate Head of Performance Services -Physical) - paultalty@swimireland.ie

Cormac Powell (Associate Head of Performance Services -Applied) – comrmacpowell@swimireland.ie

Mark Lappin (Regional Pathway Development Coach – Leinster) - marklappin@swimireland.ie

Sarah Fellner (Regional Pathway Development Coach - Con/Mun) - sarahfellner@swimireland.ie   


Joni Harding (Director of Education) - joniharding@swimireland.ie

Paul Cain (Education Support Officer) - paulcain@swimireland.ie

Csenge Deak (Education Support Officer) - cdeak@swimireland.ie   

Swim Ulster

Stephen Cuddy (Operations Manager) – stephen@swimulster.net

Ruth McQuillan (Club and Workforce Development) – ruth@swimulster.net

Mark Craig (Regional Pathway Development Coach - Ulster) - talentid@swimulster.net