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.