Swim Ulster Coaches Conference

Swim Ulster Coaches Conference

15 Jan 2024

The Swim Ulster Coaching Conference was hosted by our Aquatics Development and Coach Support team on Saturday the 13th January 2024 at Glenlola Collegiate School.It turned out to be a milestone event in terms of attendance. This conference, attended by an impressive 115 coaches. It was a showcase of commitment, passion, and the relentless pursuit of coaching excellence by the coaches in our region and across Swim Ireland.


The day started with a shared breakfast and casual conversations, setting a tone of for the event. The agenda was a well-thought-out blend of theoretical learning and practical application, addressing the diverse needs of the coaching community.


The morning session was hosted by the keynote speaker, Stuart McNarry, who delved into coaching principles, programme success, and coaching team values. Stuart presented on his knowledge of swimming, real-world experiences, guiding principles, and transformative coaching strategies. After lunch hosted by Coffee Cure @ the Museum, the afternoon session saw McNarry continuing his insightful discourse on pathway success and detailing the Swim Wales Pathway and Hub Programmes. The theoretical sessions culminated in a hands-on practical pool session at Bangor Aurora, where the theories and strategies discussed were put into practice.


The highlight of the conference for Swim Ulster was Stuart McNarry, an ex-Ards swimmer, returning to his roots to share his wealth of knowledge and experience from across the Irish sea. He shared his journey from a local swimmer to a performance coach with Swim Wales . McNarry's tenure at Swim Wales and his contributions to the sport, including coaching swimmers to international success and his involvement in the British Swimming’s World Class Programme, have been nothing short of phenomenal producing swimmers such as Alys Thomas,Olympian and Commonwealth Games Gold medalist.


McNarry’s approach, blending technical skill with a deep understanding of athlete psychology and team dynamics, offered a new perspective on coaching. His sessions provided practical insights into developing successful swimming programs,a skills of new drills and techniques,nurturing talent from grassroots to international levels, and building cohesive, value-driven coaching teams.


Thank you to Glenlola Collegiate School for hosting this event. Its state-of-the-art facilities accommodated the large turnout comfortably but also provided an environment conducive to learning, interaction, and practical sessions. The school's support in hosting the conference shows its commitment to promoting sports and education in the region, with many of its pupils swimming or playing waterpolo within clubs in in the Aurora Centre.


Beyond the structured sessions, the conference is designed to be a supportive part of the community in Ulster and Irish swimming. Coaches from clubs across Ireland came together to share experiences, knowledge, and insights. This gathering was a clear reflection of the community's eagerness to embrace new ideas and continuously improve. The networking opportunities provided at the conference were invaluable, it creates connections that are essential for the growth and development of both coaches and athletes.


The conference's unique approach of combining theoretical sessions with practical application was highly effective. The pool session at Bangor Aurora was not just a demonstration but an interactive experience that allowed coaches to apply new concepts in real-time. This hands-on approach ensured that the learning was not just theoretical but deeply ingrained through practical execution.


At the Bangor Aurora, the session brought the day's learning to life. It was a hands-on part of the day where everyone got stuck in. Coaches were all around the pool, eager to put into practice what they'd been talking about. Stuart McNarry led the session, showing us some top-notch swimming techniques and coaching tips.Everyone got to participate, try out new methods, and see how they could improve. The Aurora’s fantastic facilities made it all the better, giving us the perfect spot to wrap up a day full of learning. You could see coaches leaving with new ideas buzzing in their heads, ready to take back to their own teams.


As the day wrapped up, it was clear that the 2024 Swim Ulster Coaching Conference was a milestone in the continuous journey of learning and development for swimming coaches in Ulster. The record attendance shows the growing interest and commitment within the community. The conference provided a platform for learning from one of the best in the field.


The success of the Swim Ulster Coaching Conference sets a high benchmark for future conferences and will go a long way in developing the vibrant and progressive nature of the swimming community in Ulster and Ireland. Club and Coach Support Officer Ruth McQuillan had this to say, " This was the biggest conference we have had to date, it was a great day for Ulster swimming and the Swim Ulster Conference." The presence of a celebrated figure like Stuart McNarry, coupled with the enthusiastic participation of the Irish coaching community, underscores a bright future for swimming in the region. As we look forward to more such enriching events, the spirit of learning, collaboration, and excellence continues to thrive within Ulster swimming.


Back to News