Name: Tara Dunne

Location: Aughris, Enniscrone & Westport

Please describe in 150 words, what do you love about open water swimming?

The people and locations I have come in contact with would be the first thing I think of, having met such a wonderful community of swimmers in the many gorgeous locations we have programmes in the west over the last few years . I have a new found appreciation of how lucky we are in Ireland to have the open water locations we have and the community of people that I have become a part of having immersed myself in open water swimming. I love the inclusivity of it as it is something that people of all abilities and ages can become involved in and the fact that regardless of your mood prior to going for a swim you never regret taking the plunge and taking a paddle.

State in 150 words, what inspired you to become an open water swimming coach?

Having competed at a high level in swimming when I was younger, I left the sport abruptly and it was through open water swimming that I regained my love for the sport again. I have spent the last few summers being involved in the programmes and meeting people and it was through this I realised I wanted to share my love and knowledge of the sport with others through coaching and hopefully encourage others to join and experience it for themselves.

Discuss in 150 words, what qualities do you have that help you to be successful as an open water coach?

I hope I come across as approachable, encouraging and friendly. I have a love of the sport and a passion for getting more people involved and enjoying the sport. Coming from a competitive swimming background I enjoy forever constantly learning as the sport evolves and in turn finding new ways to teach aspects of technique to swimmers across all ages. Most of all I enjoy coaching and get great satisfaction in helping people achieve their goals and develop their passion for swimming.

Describe in 200 words, what is your favourite memory from coaching?

There are many across the summer to come to mind, my particular favourites are the occasions when swimmers reach a personal milestone in their open water swimming journey whether that be reaching a distance, participating in a OW event or finally mastering an aspect of technique they have struggled with. You can see the joy and sense of achievement on their faces and its very special to play a small part in that. I also have many that involve other coaches on the programmes having the laugh with both coaches and swimmers during sessions. And finally having spent four weeks in July doing the kids intensive weeks with over 240 kids the many funny and wholesome incidents that occurred such as little kids coming up and saying how much they love swimming and enjoyed the camp or kids who may at first have been reluctant in joining in by the end of the week fully immersing themselves in the classes and having fun.