May 31, 2022

Swim Ireland Performance have announced a number of additional members to their team this week, along with a restructuring process which is designed to enhance preparations for Irish swimming into Paris 2024 and beyond.

Steven Beckerleg has recently undertaken the role of Head Coach within the National Hub (Dublin), having operated as the Assistant Head Coach within the Hub for 4 years. This announcement comes on the back of another recent appointment, that of Kevin Anderson who has commenced work in the role of Head Coach of the recently created National Centre (Ulster) in a partnership with Swim Ulster and Sport Northern Ireland. Based at the impressive Bangor Aurora Aquatic & Leisure Complex, Anderson’s performance coaching background prior to moving to Ireland is from within the ranks of the University of Calgary and the Mississauga Swimming Programmes in Canada.

As a result of both confirmations, a newly created National Team Panel will see the three National Centre Head Coaches (Beckerleg, Anderson and John Szaranek) take on combined responsibilities for that which would have previously sat with the National Head Coach. Beckerleg’s role will be to oversee Senior relay development, with Szaranek having oversight of the Performance and Performance Transition female athlete cohort and Anderson similarly for the male equivalent. National Performance Pathway Manager Andrew Reid will continue to have oversight of all identified Performance Pathway athletes with National Performance Director Jon Rudd supporting and guiding the panel across all areas of responsibility. The Performance Senior Leadership Team has a new addition within its ranks too, as Performance Manager Niamh McDonnell is elevated in her role to a seat within the decision making group.

As a direct replacement for Beckerleg in his former role, Andrew Addison has been appointed to the Assistant Head Coach role in the National Hub (Dublin). Addison, an honorary graduate in Sports Coaching, has most recently worked as the Performance Head Coach for the Falkirk Integrated Regional Team (FIRST) in Scotland following successful coaching stints in both the Warrender and the Swim West Lothian programmes in the UK. Addison’s role will also see him take a Lead coaching responsibility for the much lauded ‘Project 28’ coaching group within the National Hub (Dublin), a coaching group specifically created to identify and develop the leading young talent within the Leinster region towards the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 2028.

Joining Addison in this coaching journey will be Zoe Smith, most recently coaching within the East Cavan swimming programme, who will coach within the Hub under the direction of Addison. Smith is part of a new Performance Coach Apprenticeship programme in a partnership with Sport Ireland - a pilot initiative to aid young coaches working in Ireland to garner experience and education at Performance levels. A similar position has commenced in the National Centre (Limerick), with Jade Murphy, a young coach renowned for her work within Limerick Swimming Club, who will now gain from the same Performance Coaching Apprenticeship programme under the guidance of the Centre’s Assistant Head Coach, Michael McCarthy. Both Smith and Murphy will also benefit as part of the coaching cohort accepted onto the Swim Ireland Women In Sport Performance Coach Mentoring Programme, which has commenced in recent weeks.

National Performance Director, Jon Rudd, is highly enthused about the additions and revisions within his team and said, “There is so much to be pleased with here. To promote from within is always something to be proud of as it is a sign of how Swim Ireland have developed their own people, and Steven Beckerleg is very much an example of that. The addition of Andrew and Zoe to the coaching team in Dublin makes it a very strong coaching unit, and this will be furthered when Bethany Carson returns from maternity leave to re-join them. I’m delighted with Niamh’s status rise within the team and the creation of the National Team Panel is also an exciting concept for us, allowing each member of it to have a clear and discrete focus to their work. The National Centre in Limerick will also benefit from the addition of Jade within their coaching ranks, all of which further establishes our strong conviction that there is no better place to be for Irish athletes who have senior international aspirations than onshore within our own programmes in Ireland”.

Note: National Hub (Dublin) is given ‘Hub’ status as it houses three distinct coaching projects within the National Aquatic Centre on the Sport Ireland Campus in Blanchardstown:

  • National Centre (Dublin)
  • Project 28
  • Club Support Programme