Irish Record Holder Jack McMillan Will Compete for Great Britain Moving Forward

Irish Record holder Jack McMillan has decided to represent Great Britain in international competition moving forward, robbing Ireland of one of its great talents, and filling a hole in the British lineup heading toward Paris 2024.

The news came buried in a Swim Ireland release about Ireland’s team for this week’s European Championships in Rome. McMillan is one of several prominent Irish swimmers who will be absent from the meet for various reasons.

McMillan holds the Irish Record in the 200 free thanks to a 1:46.66 done at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. That swim was done on a leadoff leg of Ireland’s 14th-place 800 free relay that missed the final. It was the relay’s fastest split by almost two seconds, even without the benefit of a rolling start.

The British team that he will be joining went on to win the Olympic gold medal in the event. While the time for the 22-year old McMillan likely wouldn’t have improved that gold medal winning finals relay, he does bring two key things to the table for Great Britain in this event.

One is that he’s younger than some of that group, which includes James Guy, 26, and Duncan Scott, 25. That not only forces those guys to remain sharp, but it gives Great Britain some sustainability of this success into the future. Besides McMillan, Tom Dean is also 22, and Matthew Richards is 19. Dean and Richards both swam on the finals relay as well, and Dean was the individual Olympic gold medalist in the 200 free.

In the more immediate term, it gives the Brits some more depth after the recent retirement of Calum Jarvis. Jarvis, who split 1:45.53 on a prelims leg in Tokyo, retired after the conclusion of last week’s Commonwealth Games.

McMillan, meanwhile, will have a big hill to climb in his best events to crack a British team individually. His results are hyper-focused on the 200 free for now (his next-best times are a 49.12 in the 100 free and  2:02.98 in the 200 IM), and Britain is loaded in that race.

McMillan is in a unique situation as a native of Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is administratively part of the UK, and the official Team GB name at the Olympics is “Team Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” because Northern Ireland is not, technically, part of Great Britain. For branding reasons, though, the team is usually just referred to as Team GB.

Northern Ireland athletes, however, have the choice to represent either Ireland or Great Britain in international competition like the Olympic Games.

In spite of that unique rule, McMillan will still be required to sit out a year of competition, meaning that he won’t be eligible to compete for Great Britain until the summer of 2023. Because of the later timing of the 2023 World Championships, though, he would be eligible by the time that event came around, if selected.

During that year, he will have to establish residency in the UK, which won’t be difficult given that he trains with Stirling in Scotland. That club is also home to one of the world’s top 200 freestylers: Duncan Scott.

McMillan will still be eligible to represent Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games, however. The Republic of Ireland (known generally as just “Ireland”) is not a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and doesn’t send a team to the Commonwealth Games.

Others Missing from the Euros Roster

McMillan isn’t the only Irish swimmer who is missing from the European Championships roster. Another rising middle-distance star in the country Daniel Wiffen is also not participating. According to Swim Ireland, he “has elected not to compete in this competition, having already featured in Birmingham and at the World Championships in Budapest this season.”

Wiffen, another Irish Record holder, also is from Northern Ireland, which gives him the same flexibility as McMillan, if he so chooses. Wiffen has not yet publicly announced the intention to change his sporting citizenship, however.

Other names missing include American-trained Ellen Walshe. Walshe has withdrawn on “medical grounds,” without elaboration. Walshe, who had a high finish of 19th at the Olympic Games last summer in the 200 IM, didn’t swim at the World Championships or the Commonwealth Games.

Others that have made “medical-related” withdrawals include Jordan Sloan, Conor Ferguson, and Molly Mayne.

Racing begins in Rome at the 2022 European Championships on Thursday, August 11.

Irish Roster for the 2022 European Aquatics Championships


Name First Name Club
Danielle Hill Larne ASC
Victoria Catterson Ards ASC/National Centre Ulster
Grace Hodgins Trojan SC
Ellie McCartney Ards ASC/National Centre Ulster
Shane Ryan National Aquatic Centre/National Centre Dublin
Darragh Greene Longford SC/National Centre Dublin
Robert Powell Athlone SC/National Centre Dublin
Finn McGeever Seal SC/National Centre Limerick
Eoin Corby Limerick SC/National Centre Limerick
Max McCusker Dolphin SC/Arizona State University
Liam Custer Sundays Well SC/Sarasota Sharks
Brendan Hyland Tallaght Swim Team/Nunawading SC
Mona McSharry Marlins ASC/University of Tennessee
Niamh Coyne Tallaght Swim Team/National Centre Dublin


Name First Name Date of birth Club
Clare Cryan 03/12/1993 Shamrock Diving Club/Sheffield Diving Club
Ciara McGing 03/03/2001 Shamrock Diving Club/Ohio State University
Tanya Watson 24/12/2001 Shamrock Diving Club/Southampton Diving Academy

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1 month ago

It might actually happen. We could have a 4×200 relay in Paris where every leg is swum from a different nation in the UK. 1x England, 1x Northern Ireland, 1x Wales, 1x Scotland

Why would he stay?
1 month ago

After the utter incompetence shown by Swim Ireland during the Olympic qualifications in 2021 (The MTR that never was, the complete absence of knowledge on relay qualification rules, leaving behind swimmers who got the relay there, making up a reason to bring Brendan, trying to stop Ellen Walshe from going), is it any wonder he’s moving on? why wouldn’t the rest of them?

or Maybe he’s doing it to make it easier to justify giving Brendan a spot in 2024 ?

Reply to  Why would he stay?
1 month ago

They literally did gymnastics in trying to justify a reason to bring hula d for him to run to Australia soon after.
Similarly tried numerous ways to prevent Ellen from going.
Least big Brendan has a shoe in for 2024 however way he was swimming before his departure be lucky to qualify under a B time

1 month ago

Makes you wonder if there is more to this than just the chance of a medal for McMillan. Read the comments under other Swim Ireland related posts across social media. Coaches not involved in the Swim Ireland ‘system’ are vocal enough across their own social media platforms about problems with the organisation. There’s clearly a lot of issues in Swim Ireland and maybe this is part of the reason McMillan has decided to leave this organisation.

Swim Ireland have invested in these National Centres for the past few years but their best swimmers and up-in-coming talent seem to keep leaving for programmes in other countries. A few examples: Mona McSharry, Ellen Walsh, Daniel Wiffen, Paddy Johnston, Max McCuster, Jack… Read more »

Unbelievable Jeff
Reply to  Neveryoumind
1 month ago

So Tokyo produced the most fina a qualified swimmers ever for Ireland
Ni have just had their best ever results from aquatics at the commies
But Irish swimming is in the doldrums ???
Jacks coach was not sacked
Jack produced his lifetime best swim (his first fina a time) at tokyo after he had parted co from his coach
I know this obv doesn’t suit ur agenda but asking why jack didn’t stay in Ireland is a bit like asking why George best didnt say no to Man Utd and opt to play for linfield
He’s left to try an get an Olympic medal and for a bigger programme that puts more money into… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Unbelievable Jeff
Reply to  Unbelievable Jeff
1 month ago

While it may have produced the most Fina A swimmers, must be in context
9 swimmers – 8 A Fina times , 1 B Fina time
Of the 9 swimmers, 5 were from clubs not the national development centres. This leaves 4 from centres, 1 of which is a B time swimmer who should t have really gone , so 3 from national centres.
Of the 3, 1 is an American who swam very highly in USA but just not good enough to represent so swims for Ireland. So 2 from national development centres, so I would say the ‘high performance centres’ in Ireland is in the doldrums

Reply to  Jd121
1 month ago

Almost there with the numbers.
Just a clarification
9 swimmers travelled to the Olympics

  • 6 ‘A’ times – 4 from Clubs / Outside Centres (still the most ever but we’ve typically been 3-5)

And in order to manage the spin and PR, and to divert attention & save his own skin from the relay fiasco, the Dr added

  • 1 B time ‘invite’ – and SI have rejected these previously – Policy is ‘A’ times and it’s CLEAR.
  • 2 B times to make up the relay, and save face – 1 of which was an ‘A’ time at the event.

Our resident american when he was on a USA team had been inside the ‘A’… Read more »

Unbelievable Jeff
Reply to  Jd121
1 month ago

So just to be clear this isn’t anti Irish swimming just anti national centre ?
Davy Johnston and Ards sc were the most anti and then guess what…,,,they filled it
Peter hill applied for the job by his own admission apparently
John szaranek has proven popular in limerick and rumour has it the new guy in ulster Kevin Anderson is well respected by the athletes up there who were in both in the NC and those from outside it at the commies
To re iterate the point swimmers don’t leave because of the centre or the coach they leave because of the opportunities elsewhere
Just look at all the good to mediocre swimmers getting a… Read more »

Reply to  Unbelievable Jeff
1 month ago

It’s not anti Irish swimming it would be more, centres aren’t up to scratch on where they should be. That could be down to the opportunities elsewhere and also those who are in charge at the top and those who coach in the centres.
Jon in Limerick doing a fantastic job no doubt and is very popular. Dub did a great job, pity he left however Kevin does appear to be well liked. Be interesting to see how they progress under him. In relation to the ‘main hub’ as they like to call it or the dublin centre
P28 being led by someone with little experience brining swimmers through, assisted by a coach with little to no experience… Read more »

1 month ago

Jack has the potential to push Guy off the 4×200 finals team in two year’s time. Wiffen could make a similar switch but he doesn’t really gain anything as he’s not featured on relays.

1 month ago

Whilst it is understandable from a medal point of view, coming from Northern Ireland myself, this is extremely disappointing. Swimming is organised on an all-Ireland (North and Republic) basis in Northern Ireland. British Swimming has had nothing to do with anyone or anything in Northern Ireland, and has no local presence.

I feel gutted for Swim Ireland who have supported so much investment into NI athletes over the years, just to lose out like this and potentially not secure qualification for the 4×2 in Paris like we historically did in Tokyo. I have seen the work on the ground that Swim Ireland and Ulster coaches have done to develop talents such as Jack, and I hope this is a… Read more »

Reply to  ShamrockSwimmer
1 month ago

British swimming has no presence in NI not through indifference of lack of effort, but because it is not within it’s jurisdiction. As you say, Swim Ireland is an ‘all Ireland’ concept, and as a result it is responsible for and holds governance across the entire island of Ireland. British Swimming would be severely undermining Swim Ireland if it had a presence in NI. British Swimming is just a federation of three national governing bodies (England, Wales & Scotland – Not NI/Ulster).

Obviously it’ll be hard to swallow for Swim Ireland, but this is the nature of NI and should come as no surprise.

Swimmer Tan
Reply to  ShamrockSwimmer
1 month ago

British Swimming has a lot more to do with Irish Swimming then most seem to realise. Most of the educational material is based on ASA programmes, half the time Swim Ireland don’t even have the sense to read the courses they give out to remove the ASA/GB references from the learning material

Look at the coaching line up for Swim Ireland – majority are UK originated coaches, certainly most of the top level roles are.

it’s not long ago that Dr Rudd proposed that Ireland become a province in a UK swimming league.

And it’s hardly a true ‘all-island’ organisation when one section of it decides to go their own way every time the commonwealth games comes around.

Reply to  ShamrockSwimmer
1 month ago

SHAMrock Swimmer you need ré-read the points in Neveryoumind’s comment to get some context of the mood out there with the NGB not supporting swimmers & Coaches in NI…
This time last year wen Jack did his best 1. 46.66 in the 1st leg of the 4×2 relays in Tokyo he had been prepared by his club coach who was then unceremoniously kicked outta his Head Coach’s position as his club was in cahoots with the NGB to get Jack into the new regional centre in Bangor & were his club Coach who got him to such levels was technically kicked out of the sport never to return this far – is that the mark of an NGB supporting… Read more »

1 month ago

A shame for Ireland, but who could blame him looking at the medal potential with GBs 4×200 come Paris. His current PB would put him on the team, and he is young enough to expect faster in the coming years.

Welcome aboard, Jack.

PS – Jack left Bangor and is now based out of Stirling.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dee

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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