March 31, 2022

Swim Ireland Performance have bolstered their team this month through the appointment of two Regional Pathway Development Coaches for the regions of Munster and Connacht. Carlo Boni will take up the role for Munster as of the beginning of April, with Helen Gunning fulfilling a similar role for Connacht from the end of March, joining the coaches already in position within these roles - Mark Lappin in Leinster and Mark Craig in Ulster. Once in situ, all four of the coaches will work under the direction of the National Performance Pathway Manager, Andrew Reid, running an aligned Regional Programme across the island and driving the Regional Club Cluster Plan to help Irish swimming progress through and towards the 2032 Olympic Games.

The two appointments are both full time positions, taking over from the dual-Regional role formerly held by Sarah Fellner up to the end of 2021. Carlo Boni will leave his role as the Head Coach and Technical Director of Società Canottieri Garda Salò swimming programme in Italy to relocate to Ireland, with Boni also having undertaken a Head Coach role with both the SOGEIS programme and SSD Team Lombardia in Italy in the period of 2009 through to the present time. A graduate in Business from the University of Brescia, Boni will bring a wealth of experience to the post as Munster’s first full time Regional Pathway Development Coach.

Helen Gunning is a highly renowned and respected swimming coach within the Irish aquatics community, relinquishing her role as Head Coach of the Bluefin swimming programme in Galway which she has held since 2016 to take up this post. As with Munster, this will be Connacht’s first full time appointee. Gunning is a Level 3 Swimming Coach and a graduate of the 2020 Swim Ireland Women in Sport Coach Mentoring Programme, as well as having studied at Reading College in England. A former member of the Connacht Regional Management Committee, Gunning will have ‘home advantage’ when she commences the role and will be able to hit the ground running in understanding the wants and the needs of her own Region.

National Performance Pathway Manager Andrew Reid said, “We are delighted to welcome Helen and Carlo to the Performance team. They bring with them a diverse range of experience and understanding of the challenges faced by clubs and their coaches, and they have a knowledge of how this has been successfully combatted in some of the leading swimming nations. Full-time roles in all four of the Provinces will allow us to work in partnership with the Regions to explore initiatives that will increase the number of athletes achieving the criteria to be selected for our Regional and National Programmes in the years to come.”