Ben Higson Leaves Role As Swim Ireland Head Coach In Move To Swimming Australia

18/11/2017 Swim Ireland. NAC, Dublin. Picture by Diarmuid Greene
Ben Higson - Photo Courtesy: Diarmuid Greene, for Swim Ireland

Ben Higson will leave his role as Swim Ireland national head coach in mid-March after being appointed head swimming coach at the Western Australia Institute of Sport in Perth.

Higson, who is also the head coach of the national centre (Dublin), has been with Swim Ireland since September 2017 after moving from the University of Stirling.

He has played an integral role in guiding Ireland to more than 30 international medals in that period, along with their most ever successful Olympic Games in Tokyo and, most recently, the World Short-Course Championships in Abu Dhabi in December at which they won two medals courtesy of Mona McSharry and Ellen Walshe.

Higson said in a Swim Ireland press release:

“It has been a privilege to work within the Swim Ireland Performance department and the Irish swimming community over the past four-and-a-half years.

“I cannot speak highly enough of the athletes, coaches and support staff that I have been fortunate to work for and with.

“Their commitment and dedication has been second to none.

“Over the last few years, Irish swimming has made significant inroads on the world stage, and I am very proud to have contributed to this.

“I wish the Irish swimming community nothing but the best and have every faith in the continued growth and success of the sport on the island of Ireland.”

Ben Higson

Ben Higson: Photo Courtesy: Swim Ireland

National performance director Jon Rudd paid tribute to Higson, saying:

“Ben’s contribution and legacy to Irish swimming will be felt for many years to come and he has certainly helped me and other members of the Performance team to establish ourselves more firmly as a swimming nation that is capable of performing at the highest level.

“On a personal level, I will miss his contributions and ideas in all areas of what we do, both strategically and operationally, and he moves on to this new role with our thanks and our sincere best wishes.

“We have some time now to take stock and review what we can and should do to reformulate the Performance team in preparation for Paris 2024 and beyond.

“Something of this nature should be seen as an opportunity for a team to reflect on how they can operate for the betterment of the programme and the athletes both in our daily care and as part of our National Programme and we will do this with careful consideration.

“It remains an exciting time for Irish swimming following our results in 2021 and with three National Centres now available to our premier athletes and a rejuvenated National Programme planned for 2022 and beyond, there is much to look forward to.”

Higson will lead a multi-disciplinary team at the WA High-Performance Hub – part of Swimming Australia’s national strategy.

It will focus on athlete performance, wellbeing and sport science, towards the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and other benchmark international competitions.

He said through a WAIS release:

“My philosophy is based around creating a bespoke plan for all athletes with a person-first approach, ensuring that the wellbeing of the athlete as person is at the forefront of all actions and decisions.
“Over the past eight years I have been fortunate to work with world class athletes & practitioners in different countries and environments.
“I hope to use this experience to operate a collaborative approach that ensures the growth of the WAIS program and endeavours to appropriately develop the next generation of athletes to having a significant contribution to Swimming Australia’s success.”
Swimming Australia head coach Rohan Taylor added:
“Ben is an impressive coach with an impressive track record of recent times, and I think fits in really well with the Hub approach. Not only for the ongoing development of athletes in the WAIS Hub but also to help upskill other coaches in the system. I think that is one thing he will bring to the table that I feel really excited about.
“I feel Ben will offer a lot to the high-performance team across the national system, from his experience in the UK and Ireland and that fits really well with the collaborative approach between WAIS and Swimming Australia.”