By Stephen J. Thomas
SYDNEY, Australia, April 5. THE Aussies have lost their second high profile coach in a matter of weeks with the news that British-born Barry Prime will leave Australia to take up the position of National Performance Director for Swim Ireland. This follows the resignation of Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) head coach Pierre La Fontaine in March to return to his homeland to take up a similar position in Canada.
Prime moved from the UK to Australia in early 1993 to take up a position as senior coach at the AIS in Canberra, only to depart at the end of last year as the longest serving coach in the history of Australia’s premier swimming institute.
The 50-year-old represented England at the Munich Olympics and spent part of his twenty-five year coaching career in Birmingham. Prime guided five British swimmers to Olympic representation between 1984-88-92, including world record-holder Nick Gillingham. During his time in Australia he coached six Aussies to Olympic representation, namely Linley Frame, Scott Miller, Phil Rogers, Regan Harrison, Adam Pine and Francis Adcock.
Since departing the AIS, Prime had been assisting Denis Cotterell on the Gold Coast in recent months.
“I am very pleased to accept the position of National Performance Director for Swim Ireland. I am looking forward to working with Swim Ireland and the swimming community, the government through the Irish and Northern Ireland Sports Council's and the media and private enterprise to ensure that swimming in Ireland improves its world standing,” he told SwimInfo. “This has the potential to be a very exciting period for swimming in Ireland. I am coming into this position with a can-do attitude. This will require a team approach and commitment to ensure that success is the outcome for the young people representing Ireland in the pool."
Always known for his good sense of humour, Prime said he will be looking forward to the improved weather in the forthcoming summer in Dublin after the last few months working outdoors on Queensland's Gold Coast. He leaves Australia early next month to take up the position.