Sport Ireland announced a €36 million investment ($3.96 million USD) to the country’s National Governing Bodies of Sport, High-Performance Sport and Local Sports Partnerships for the year 2020.
Of the aforementioned amount, Swim Ireland will be receiving €1.9 million ($2.0 million USD) on top of the current support received through Sport Ireland at the National Aquatic Centre and Sport Ireland Institute. For comparison, the total Sport Ireland allocation to Swim Ireland for last year amounted to €1.7 million.
Regarding the 2020 figure, Swim Ireland CEO Sarah Keane commented ‘Today’s funding news is welcomed by Swim Ireland and we are delighted to see an increase in our core funding once again in 2020. We have a big year planned in Swim Ireland with many initiatives taking place across our different departments. I’d like to thank Ministers Ross and Griffin and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport for their leadership in securing funds and John Treacy and all at Sport Ireland, for their continued support across our sports.’
None of Ireland’s swimmers made it past the heats at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, save for Shane Ryan who placed 16th in the men’s 100m backstroke semi-finals.
Since then, however, Ryan has become a 3-time elite international medalist in the men’s 50 backstroke, taking 2017 World University Games gold, 2018 European Championships bronze and 2018 World Short Course Championships bronze in the men’s 50m backstroke.
Ryan also snagged bronze at the 2019 European Short Course Championships in the 50m back event. Although the 50m backstroke is not an Olympic event, the racing experience and confidence that comes from earning podium spots may contribute to a better 100m backstroke outcome in Tokyo for the Irish swimmer.
Per Swim Ireland’s announcement, key priorities for Swim Ireland in 2020 include:
- Run a successful Olympic and Paralympic Trials – Irish Open Swimming Championships
- Launch of a new ‘Leisure Membership’ aimed at reaching the wider swimming community
- Launch of an Inclusion Policy and a Gender Balance Policy
- Launch of a combined Level 1 and Level 2 Swimming Teacher Qualification
- By end of the year over 50% of our clubs completed Clubmark
- Launch of online resources for our clubs and members
- Work with the Department of Sport to develop a National Swimming Strategy
- Develop a framework for ‘The Voice of the Athlete’
- Work with our athletes before and after the Olympic and Paralympic Games to raise their profiles and give them ambassadorial roles which will include club and school visits.
- Deliver a variety of community programmes aimed at increasing participation. Through Dormant Accounts target 600 participants with tailored programmes to suit the needs of individuals and groups and work with local partners including LSPs and community groups. Through Healthy Ireland Funding deliver swimming lessons to children in a target of 50 DEIS (primary) schools.