35 swimmers accepted to National Programme 2021-22

November 08, 2021

Swim Ireland today announce their Performance team and centralised National Centre structure, which will support and enable an exciting crop of identified athletes into the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Additionally, they also announce a group of 35 athletes who will form their National Programme for swimming in the 2021-2022 season, just as the clock ticks inside the 1,000 day mark to the Paris Games.

Performance Team

The Performance Team will continue to be headed up by National Performance Director for Swimming & Diving, Jon Rudd, with Rudd leading a six-person Performance Senior Leadership Team through the cycle:

Ben Higson, National Head Coach (Swimming)

Damian Ball, National Head Coach (Diving)

Andrew Reid, National Performance Pathway Manager

Paul Talty, Head of Physical Preparation

Kevin McGuigan, Head of Performance Analysis (a new appointment)

Rudd and the remainder of the Performance Senior Leadership team will be ably supported by Performance Manager Niamh McDonnell and Performance Research Manager Shane Keane.

McGuigan was appointed from his Performance Analysis role with the Sport Northern Ireland Sport Institute (SNISI) and has commenced his new Swim Ireland role in recent days.

New National Centre in Ulster

A three-strong National Centre approach to Performance swimming across the course of the cycle will be the primary focus of delivery into Paris 2024.

This is made possible by the addition of National Centre (Ulster), based at the Bangor Aurora Aquatic & Leisure Complex in Northern Ireland, with Swim Ireland and Swim Ulster working in partnership to deliver a world-class coaching environment.

Kevin Anderson, formerly the Head Coach of the Mississauga swimming programme in Ontario, Canada has been appointed as Head Coach of this new Centre, with Ards Swimming Club Head Coach Davy Johnston moving on from his club role to become the Centre’s Assistant Head Coach.

Johnston has been working as interim Head Coach for National Centre (Ulster), with Anderson set to take the reins in early December, bringing with him an impressive list of coaching achievements in a highly successful swimming coaching career thus far.

Sport Northern Ireland Sports Institute’s Ryan Keating is in position to deliver Strength & Conditioning for the Centre.

Dublin Hub

National Hub (Dublin), based at the National Aquatic Centre and at the Sport Ireland Institute on the highly lauded Sport Ireland Campus, will once again be led by Ben Higson.

Steven Beckerleg continues in his role as Assistant Head Coach under Higson, alongside Paul Talty as the Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach for the National Centre athletes within the Hub.

Matt Coward will head-up the newly-created ‘Project 28’ Programme within the Hub, designed to provide an amplified coaching environment for Dublin-based athletes with 2028 prospects.

Beth Carson will provide coaching support in this area and the newly-appointed Tim Franzmann will cover Strength & Conditioning duties for what is already an impressive group of young athletes.

The Diving element of the National Centre (Dublin) will be operated on a part-time basis, with Damian Ball’s role also taking on an element of widening the reach of the sport on the island, with Limerick and Bangor being two key focus points for Ball, alongside that already operating in Dublin.

Limerick Team

The University of Limerick-based National Centre (Limerick) once again sees Centre Head Coach John Szaranek lead the programme into Paris.

Assistant Head Coach Michael McCarthy will provide Szaranek with essential support in what is an increasingly popular option for Irish athletes, with the Centre being based on one of the island’s premier third level/higher education campuses.

Lorna Barry will continue in her crucial role as Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Centre.

Development Pathway

With the Swim Ireland Development Pathway already looking at Olympic hopefuls for Los Angeles 2028, Mark Lappin will continue in his role as Regional Pathway Development Coach for Leinster, with Mark Craig continuing to undertake a similar role for Ulster.

Sarah Fellner having returned to her native Canada to undertake a university coaching position, Swim Ireland will soon seek a replacement for her role within the regions of Munster and Connacht.

National Programme 2021-22

Swim Ireland’s National Programme for identified swimming athletes has also been announced for the 2021-2022 season.

The FINA World Championships , LEN European Aquatics Championships and Commonwealth Games for Northern Irish athletes are the three key meets in 2022.

Athletes are split into three distinct cohorts:

  • Performance (for those with a primary focus on Paris 2024)
  • Performance Transition (for those with an even focus on Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028)
  • Performance Pathway (for those with a primary focus on Los Angeles 2028).

Of the 41 athletes identified, 35 were accepted onto the programme, with three unable to accept their position on this occasion, and three Performance Pathway athletes residing outside of Europe for their training base.

All nine of Ireland’s 2021 swimming Olympians feature within the Performance cohort, whilst the Performance Transition and Performance Pathway groups feature some up and coming names of the future.

National Performance Director Jon Rudd said: “We are delighted to be able to announce our Performance team for this cycle and particularly pleased to be able to retain a highly-talented staff, one that helped deliver Ireland’s best ever aquatics outcome at an Olympic Games, most recently in Tokyo.

"To have the two Kevin’s join us alongside Davy joining the team makes us even stronger in what we can deliver for our athletes.

"This National Programme cohort is also a very exciting list of names and we have already held our first camp for these athletes to bring them together and set the values, culture and expectation for the days ahead into Paris.

"It continues to be an exciting time working in and for Swim Ireland Performance."

Due to the challenges that faced a number of our Transition/Junior swimmers and their access to training/racing over the past 18 months, a decision has been made for the 2021/2022 season that we will accept new members onto the National Programme following the Irish SC Championships in December. The standards for these swimmers to achieve can be found in the National Programme document.


National Programme 2021-22

Performance Cohort

Name - Home Programme (Coach)

Calum Bain - University of Stirling, Scotland (Bradley Hay)

Victoria Catterson - National Centre (Ulster) (Davy Johnston)

Eoin Corby - National Centre (Limerick) (John Szaranek)

Niamh Coyne - National Centre (Dublin) (Ben Higson)

Conor Ferguson - Larne Swimming Club (Peter Hill)

Darragh Greene - National Centre (Dublin) (Ben Higson)

Danielle Hill - Larne Swimming Club (Peter Hill)

Brendan Hyland - National Centre (Dublin) (Ben Higson)

Paddy Johnston - Cleveland State University, USA (Hannah Burandt)

Max McCusker - Florida State University, USA (Neal Studd)

Finn McGeever - National Centre (Limerick) (John Szaranek)

Jack McMillan - National Centre (Ulster) (Davy Johnston)

Mona McSharry - University of Tennessee, USA (Matt Kredich)

Shane Ryan - National Centre (Dublin) (Ben Higson)

Jordan Sloan - National Centre (Ulster) (Davy Johnston)

Ellen Walshe - University of Tennessee, USA (Matt Kredich)

Daniel Wiffen - Loughborough University, England (Andi Manley)


Performance Transition Cohort

Name - Home Programme (Coach)

Uiseann Cooke - University of Edinburgh, Scotland (Chris Jones)

Andrew Feenan - National Centre (Limerick) (John Szaranek)

Maria Godden - National Centre (Limerick) (John Szaranek)

Ethan Hansen - Arizona State University, USA (Bob Bowman)

Amelia Kane - Rice University, USA (Seth Huston)

Julia Knox - George Washington University, USA (Brian Thomas)

Cadan McCarthy - National Centre (Limerick) (John Szaranek)

Ellie McKibbin - National Centre (Ulster) (Davy Johnston)

Robert Powell - National Centre (Dublin) (Ben Higson)

Diarmuid Sutton - National Centre (Limerick) (John Szaranek)


Performance Pathway Cohort

Name - Home Programme (Coach)

Adam Barnes - Ards Swimming Club (Newtownards) (Curtis Coulter)

Ella Carroll - National Centre (Limerick) (John Szaranek)

*Jack Cassin - Nexus International School, Signapore (Ivan Bunakov)

*Liam Custer - Sarasota Sharks, USA (Brent Arckey)

Grace Davison - Ards Swimming Club (Newtownards) (Curtis Coulter)

Conor Fitzgerald - Splashworld Sharks Swimming Club (Tramore) (Kevin Willmott)

Grace Hodgins - Trojan Swimming Club (Dublin) (Jonathan Preston)

Daniel Kennedy - Repton School, England (Scott Talbot)

* Molly Mayne - Hamilton Aquatics, Dubai (Ash Morris)

Ellie McCartney - National Centre (Ulster) (David Johnston)

Danny Morgan - Project 28/Coolmine Swimming Club (Matt Coward/Neil Curran)


*PP athletes based outside of Europe are not invited to join the programme as a whole, but can partake in different interventions


Related links

2021 World and European Championship Teams Announced

Swim Ireland National Programme

Records, Rankings & Results