Vacancy: Head Coach of National Centre (Ulster)

July 16, 2021

As part of its Performance strategy for the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle and beyond, Swim Ireland Performance are partnering with Swim Ulster to seek a suitably qualified, experienced and driven swimming coach with a proven Performance coaching profile to assume the role of Head Coach for a new National Centre in Bangor, Northern Ireland, from September 2021.

One of the key pillars within the Performance Strategy is to provide strategic geographic locations for centralised Performance environments in an endeavor to amplify athlete opportunity and outcome into and beyond the 2024 Olympic Games. Alongside the existing National Centres in Dublin and Limerick (within the Republic of Ireland), the National Centre in Bangor will bring a third dimension to this offering for Ireland’s highest performing athletes.

The Coach will be responsible to the National Performance Director and the National Head Coach (Swimming) and together they will work collaboratively to lead and deliver a world-class Performance programme in Bangor Aurora Leisure Complex (in association with partners Swim Ulster and the Sport Northern Ireland Sport Institute). Bangor Aurora is a 10-lane 50m pool (with movable booms for short course purposes) and a separate 6-lane 25m diving tank. The Strength & Conditioning facility is in the same building and athletes will be able to access tertiary education opportunities at either Queen’s University Belfast or the University of Ulster which are short drives from the pool. The facility is situated 17km from George Best Belfast City Airport and 50km from Belfast International Airport.

The Coach will also oversee a group of full-time athletes within the Centre and all coaching initiatives within the programme as a whole. Support services will be provided by the Sport Northern Ireland Sports Institute and will be managed jointly by the Head Coach and the Swim Ireland Head of Physical Preparation. They will operate according to the Swim Ireland Performance Plan, assisting (in the first instance) in the establishment of the Centre within the region and in the preparation of the Centre’s athletes for all relevant international meets at junior and senior level in the period 2021-2024, with a view to producing athletes for the Irish team at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the 2024 Olympic Games. Our Vision for Performance Swimming is:

“High performing people in a high performance system working in unison to consistently achieve Olympic and World medals.”

Central to achieving this Vision are a core set of principles:

  • A commitment to a long-term Performance programme which is focused on recurrent success not on short-term Olympic cycles;
  • A dedication to the development of a system that can enable the full potential of our athletes repeatedly rather than one-off successes based on individual athletes;
  • A programme that aspires to consistently deliver Olympic, World Championship and Commonwealth success;
  • A Performance programme that is centered on the people within the system – athletes, coaches, and practitioners, and in developing their capabilities to ensure that they reach world class standards to ensure Irish swimming success;
  • An aspiration to make membership of the Performance programme a positive journey for all, leaving people in a better place for having been part of it and creating an aspiration for others to be involved

Applicants must display:

  • Knowledge and experience in the development, organisation, implementation and coordination of a Performance and/or Performance Pathway programme and the development of such athletes to ensure that all individuals within the programme are given the opportunity to maximise their potential
  • Dynamic leadership with an ability to effectively establish and maintain strong relationships with athletes and key partners and build a high level of credibility within and for the Centre, constantly enabling athletes towards the next level of their individual development
  • Excellent communication skills, including the mentoring, managing and enabling other staff and key partners and, in association with the National Performance Director, display an ability to direct the development of the programme in the short and long term
  • An ability to aid in the progression of the Swim Ireland Performance programme as a whole to ensure continued and furthered success, with the National Centre being a key contributor to this

Applicants must understand that they will:

  • Facilitate the transition of athletes developed in Clubs towards a Performance environment which can more readily lead them to success on the international stage
  • Plan for and attend swim meets and/or swim camps to support Centre, National Squad and/or National Team athletes as and when required
  • Work all necessary hours to fulfil the requirements of the post and work unsocial hours including early mornings, evenings and weekends when necessary
  • Travel within Ireland for meetings as necessary
  • Be able to work as an integral part of the National Squad programme and, when required, as a member of National Team staff
  • Organise education opportunities as required
  • Maintain a Swim Ireland Level 3 Swimming Coach qualification (or international equivalent) through compliance with the Swim Ireland Coach Licensing scheme

All applications will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and applicants may mention within the application process their current salary and/or their remuneration expectations for such a role. Applications should be made by submitting the following to the Swim Ireland Performance Manager niamhmcdonnell@swimireland.ie

  • A cover letter to include a personal statement addressing the essential criteria, and why the applicant believes that their skills, experience and values meet the requirements of the position
  • A comprehensive CV relevant to the position, including three referees, one of whom must be their current employer

The closing date for applications is 1200 GMT on Friday 13/08/2021 with interviews currently scheduled for the week commencing Monday 30/08/2021. This is a full-time position, with a proposed start period late September – early October as part of an initial three-year fixed term contract through to and including August 2024.

National Centre (Ulster) Head Coach Job Description