September 16, 2020

The 2020-2021 season will see a change to the structure of Swim Ireland's National Squad programme, as the Performance team plan for the commencement of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games cycle, whilst keeping a firm eye on the successful completion of the 2020 (+1) Tokyo Olympic cycle.

The Performance team will operate through a three-tiered system, encompassing a Performance (PE) cohort for Olympic Games 2021 identified athletes, a Performance Transition (PT) cohort focussed on both the 2021 and 2024 Olympic Games, and a Performance Pathway (PP) group with a 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games focus.

The tiering of the Programme into three distinct levels will be continued each season across the 2020-2024 cycle into the Paris Olympic Games, with the Programme aiming to support athletes as they endeavour to reach their full potential at senior international level.

The Performance element of the National Squad is spearheaded by 2019 LEN European medallist Shane Ryan, Ireland’s two strongest performers at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Brendan Hyland and Darragh Greene also amongst those selected.

This group has a strong relay focus as Ireland look to cement one or more relay berths for 2021, with the nation not having achieved the qualification of an Olympic relay since 1972.

National Performance Director Jon Rudd and National Senior Team Head Coach Ben Higson will have primary oversight of this group of athletes as they prepare for their Olympic Trials in Dublin from 20th – 24th April, 2021


Performance Cohort

Name

Surname

Home Programme

Coach

Calum

Bain

University of Stirling (UK)

Bradley Hay

Niamh

Coyne

National Centre (Dublin)

Ben Higson/Steve Beckerleg

Conor

Ferguson

Larne SC

Peter Hill

Darragh

Greene

National Centre (Dublin)

Ben Higson/Steve Beckerleg

Danielle

Hill

Larne SC

Peter Hill

Brendan

Hyland

National Centre (Dublin)

Ben Higson/Steve Beckerleg

Jack

McMillan

Bangor SC

Paul Dennis

Cillian

Melly

National Centre (Dublin)

Ben Higson/Steve Beckerleg

Nicholas

Quinn

University of Edinburgh (UK)

Chris Jones

Shane

Ryan

National Centre (Dublin)

Ben Higson/Steve Beckerleg

Jordan

Sloan

Bangor SC

Paul Dennis

Ellen

Walshe

Templeogue SC (Dublin)

Brian Sweeney


The newly identified Performance Transition cohort features 2019 LEN European Junior and 2019 FINA World Junior finalist Eoin Corby, alongside Ireland's strongest performers at junior level over recent years.

Ben Higson will also have primary oversight of this group of athletes, some of whom will have the 2021 Olympic Games in mind, with others placing their focus on the forthcoming 2021 FISU World University Games.


Performance Transition Cohort

Name

Surname

Home Programme

Coach

Victoria

Catterson

Ards SC (Newtonards)

Davy Johnston

Uiseann

Cooke

University of Edinburgh (UK)

Chris Jones

Eoin

Corby

National Centre (Limerick)

John Szaranek/Mikey McCarthy

Andrew

Feenan

National Centre (Limerick)

John Szaranek/Mikey McCarthy

Maria

Godden

Kilkenny SC

John Duffy

Michael

Hewitt

Ards SC (Newtonards)

Davy Johnston

Paddy

Johnston

Ards SC (Newtonards)

Davy Johnston

Sophie

Maguire

University of Birmingham (UK)

Gary Humpage

Cadan

McCarthy

National Centre (Limerick)

John Szaranek/Mikey McCarthy

Rory

McEvoy

National Centre (Dublin)

Ben Higson/Steve Beckerleg

Finn

McGeever

National Centre (Limerick)

John Szaranek/Mikey McCarthy

Gerry

Quinn

National Centre (Dublin)

Ben Higson/Steve Beckerleg

Rebecca

Reid

Ards SC (Newtonards)

Davy Johnston

Daniel

Wiffen

Loughborough University (UK)

Andi Manley

The Performance Pathway cohort of athletes comprises Ireland's brightest current prospects, including 2019 LEN European Junior and 2019 FINA World Junior athlete Amelia Kane, 2019 LEN European Junior athlete Sean Scannell and 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival athlete Ellie McKibbin.

National Performance Pathway Manager Andrew Reid will have primary oversight of this group of athletes, with the 2021 LEN European Junior Championships and FINA World Junior Championships the premier focus for this group.


Performance Pathway Cohort

Name

Surname

Home Programme

Coach

Ethan

Hansen

Mount Kelly (UK)

Emma Collings-Barnes

Grace

Hodgins

Trojan SC (Dublin)

Jonathan Preston

Amelia

Kane

Ards SC (Newtonards)

Davy Johnston

Julia

Knox

Banbridge SC

Davy Wilson

Mollie

McAlorum

Leander SC (Belfast)

Kathryn Wylie

Ellie

McCartney

Enniskillen Lakelanders SC

Aaron Rickhuss

Ellie

McKibbin

Ards SC (Newtonards)

Davy Johnston

Hannah

O'Shea

Dolphin SC (Cork)

Mick McCormack

Cora

Rooney

Enniskillen Lakelanders SC

Sinead Donagher/Aaron Rickhuss

Aisling

Rowlands

Millfield School (UK)

Euan Dale

Sean

Scannell

National Centre (Dublin)

Ben Higson/Steve Beckerleg

Naomi

Trait

Kilkenny SC

John Duffy

Ben

Woodside

Larne SC

Peter Hill


Athletes based outside of Europe would not normally be selected for Ireland’s National Squad on logistical grounds, with Mona McSharry (University of Tennessee, USA), Sean McNicholl (George Tech, USA) and Molly Mayne (Hamilton Aquatics, UAE) meeting the required qualification criteria to gain National Squad status in this regard.

Revised Selection Criteria

The COVID-19 virus disrupted the majority of the 2019-2020 long course season, with both domestic and international competitions unable to take place in the March 2020 – August 2020 period. As such, the tried and tested method of considering performances at the Irish Open Championships, and an identified summer benchmark meet was not possible in 2020.

The Performance team also felt that the utilisation of short course performances from the September 2019 – December 2019 period of the season was not appropriate in identifying the athletes for this programme. As such, a revised Selection Criteria was adopted for these unprecedented circumstances and will only be utilised for this one particular season.

National Performance Director Jon Rudd said: “The Swim Ireland National Squad is a programme designed to assist and add value to each athlete's home programme environment.

"The programme will provide these athletes and their home programme coaches access to opportunities and services, which may otherwise be limited or unavailable to them. However, we strongly believe that this particular programme is so much more than camps, meets and services.

"It is about who we are, our identity as we approach an Olympic Games in 2021. It is a component which is key to further developing the performance culture within Irish swimming.

"We have strong beliefs and values, and we have high standards and expectations; as such, our National Squad allows us to ensure that when we walk into the arena together, we are galvanised, aligned and we possess a collective understanding of what is expected and required of us, and from us.

"This is a very exciting group of athletes and we look forward to working with and for them over the months to come.”