Swim Ireland Starts Search for a New National Performance Director

With the Rio Olympics having come to an end Swim Ireland has started their search for a new National Performance Director. It was known well before Rio that Peter Banks who had been the National Performance Director since 2009 would not be continuing after the conclusion of the Olympics. Banks resigned from his position to spend more time with his family in American.

Swimming Ireland is now looking for someone to head up the new High Performance Strategy that they announced in May. The new National Performance Director will report to Swimming Ireland’s CEO Sarah Keane. They will be based out of the National Sports Campus in Dublin and will be hired for a four year term.

The primary purpose of the role is stated as:

To personally lead and be primarily accountable for all aspects of High Performance Planning, Programme Delivery and High Performance Staffing aligned to Swim Ireland’s current High Performance Framework and directed towards the achievement of the Swim Ireland (SI) High Performance Vision.The organization states their five ‘core set of principles’ as long-term perspective, systemic, podium, people and a positive journey

  • Long-term perspective: we are committed to a long-term Performance Programme focussed on recurrent success not on short-term Olympic or World Championship cycles;
  • Systemic: our goal is to create a ‘system’ that is capable of developing the full potential of our athletes repeatedly rather than one-off successes based on individual athletes;
  • Podium: we are in the medals business – our programme aspires to deliver Olympic and World Championship medals;
  • People: the High Performance Programme is centred on the people within the system – athletes, coaches, support staff, and administrators and developing their capability to ensure that they reach world class standard for the good of the programme;
  • Positive journey: we aspire to make participation in the High Performance Programme a positive journey for all, leaving people in a better place for having been part of the programme and creating an aspiration for others to be involved.

During Banks tenure in Ireland there were 16 new female and 17 new male senior records set. Despite the athletes success in re-writing the history books they did not have much luck finding the podium at major international competitions. At the 2008 Olympics they had three athletes compete at the Games with only Andrew Bree achieving a second swim. Bree finished 11th in the 200 breaststroke. At the 2012 Olympics in London they had four athletes race, but none made the top 16. In Rio there were three Irish athletes competing with Shane Ryan being the only swimmer to finish in the top 16. Ryan placed 16th in the 100 backstroke.

At both the 2010 and 2012 European Championships they came away with one silver and were shut out of the medals at both the 2014 and 2016 events.

Despite those results it will be hard for the organization to find another coach with Banks’ pedigree to take the position. He is one of the most successful Irish coaches in the history of the sport. In 2015 he was inducted into the ASCA Hall of Fame and recently he was inducted into the Swim Ireland Hall of Fame.

More information on the position can be found here.

Swim Ireland will also be hiring a new National Team Head Coach.


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7 years ago

First job: try to persuade Siobhan Haughey to switch nationalities. Probability? No chance……

First job....
Reply to  emg1986
7 years ago

Stop looking outside Ireland. Start developing athletes and systems in the country so that there is eventually a clear pathway for athletes to develop from youth to senior levels of competition?

7 years ago

Sadly Banks “success” is nothing but an illusion every swimmer who set these new records either trained abroad in foreign programs or other programs in the country Banks was outdated in his aproach and often looked as though he had literally no idea what was going on. He had a one hit wonder out of thousands of swimmers with Brooke and took credit for the performances of swimmers that train abroad rather than try and build an internal program of success. Glad to see he’s gone.

Strongly agree
Reply to  Anonymous
7 years ago


7 years ago

We need an article over Ryan returning and how it will set up one final showdown between the two Ryan’s in the 100 back

Reply to  Uberfan
7 years ago

Are you referring to Ryan Murphy? If so, there is no showdown. Just a show.

7 years ago

What has PB achieved ?? In the History of the Sport??

Reply to  Bingo
7 years ago

“what has PB achieved?! thats the same if you would asked who’s bruce lee?.
shame bingo…the Brandon Blue Wave Swim Team just outside of tampa,fl. in early 90’s, the BW was one of the top nation age group programs, PB developed powerful Florida swim team age group program featuring a dozen of Junior and National champons, a few Olympic medalists such as B.Bennet and Ritz Correia, raised and set the foundations of the Ireland Swimming Natl federation…..im lazy to educate you…do your homework
put your speedos on and get back in the pool until the set is successfully accomplished…actually, change the lanes!!!, go into the far lane where we cant see you…or even better come in at the… Read more »

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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