Challenging Times Ahead Outside Of The Pool For Swimming Australia’s Third Female CEO Eugenie Buckley

Eugenie and SA logo
CALM AND MEASURED: Eugenie Buckley has been charged with managing the challenging times ahead for Swimming Australia. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia.

Challenging Times Ahead Outside Of The Pool For Swimming Australia’s Third Female CEO Eugenie Buckley

The calm and measured approach to the challenges facing swimming in Australia was the key factor in Eugenie Buckley’s appointment today as Swimming Australia’s third female CEO.

Currently working in an interim capacity, Buckley has been leading the organisation for the past two months, taking the  full time reins as the governing body’s third CEO in the last 12 months and is effective immediately.

Her interim role followed the shock resignation of Alex Baumann, due to health reasons, after just four months in the hot seat and following Australia’s most successful Olympics ever in Tokyo.

Eugenie Buckleyb rrsize H and S

FULL OF PRAISE: President Kieren Perkins gives Eugenie Buckley the tick of approval. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia.

Buckley has a long career in sports, having worked on some of the world’s biggest events including the IRB Rugby World Cup in 2003 and the ICC Women’s World Cup in 2009, as well as organisations such as the FFA (now Football Australia), the ICC, Queensland Reds and Brisbane Roar.

She joins Vena Murray, Swimming’s first female Executive Director, who led the sport through a challenging yet highly successful tenure between 1994 and 2001 and the more recent term of Leigh Russell (2018-2020) as the third female in charge of Australia’s most successful Olympic sport.

A statement issued by Swimming Australia (SA) noted that Buckley’s strategic vision and action oriented approach impressed the Board, while the Nominations Committee, who conducted the interview process, found her extensive knowledge of the (overall) sports landscape and the people first philosophy she outlined in her interviews showed her to be the lead candidate.

Swimming Australia President Kieren Perkins was full of praise for Buckley after her first few months in charge, knowing full well she had been thrown into the deep end of a sport that is on the cusp of another golden era but facing challenging times with on-going issues outside the pool.

“Her experience speaks for itself and we have seen that with her calm and measured approach to the challenges swimming is facing,” said Perkins.

“With our strategic plan nearing finalisation we felt Eugenie was the right person to lead us through this transformative period and further build our sport into an industry leader.”

“It was clear very early on that Eugenie was someone with incredible ability to build and execute a strategy for Australian swimming.

“Her passion for the sport, and not just the administration and athletes but the wider community of Member Organisations, stakeholders and fans was infectious.

“She is a modern leader with a people first attitude and the business acumen to ensure swimming is on the right trajectory heading towards (the) Paris (Olympics) in three years, but also with an eye to (the) Brisbane (Games) of 2032.”

Buckley said it was the challenge of taking the sport to the next level that forced her to reconsider the interim status of her role and apply for the full time position.

“I feel like swimming is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities in front of us in this next period,” Buckley said.

“We have just come off an incredible Olympic and Paralympic campaign in Tokyo, with our Olympic program having their best performance ever, so we are well positioned for success in the pool.

“With Brisbane 2032 on the horizon, the chance to lead the sport through this next growth phase is exciting.

“Our strategy focuses on how we can develop our business, both at the national level but also with our Member Organisations and stakeholders, to ensure swimming is the number one Olympic sport in Australia.

“There are a lot of passionate people within the swimming community and I look forward to tackling the challenges and embracing the future together.”

Buckley’s first priority will be to finalise and embed the strategy for Swimming Australia given the shortened cycle to the Paris Games in 2024.



  1. avatar

    Tough gig in Australian sport .. her baptism of fire would be how she handles the Maddy Groves allegations ..if I see them have a selfie together while sipping cocktails later down the track then she’s done well in her role

  2. avatar

    She obviously knows Australian rugby, and therefore should also know why AUS ex-pro rugby trainers shouldn’t be doing “extraordinary treatment” and “rehabilitation” of swimmers’ shoulders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.