Cathal O’Brien, Head Coach of Killarney Swimming Club, recently hung up his flip-flops and the club marked the occasion with a special presentation.
Cathal has been involved with the Club since it was established in 2012, attending the early meetings organised by Mike O’Sullivan as, just like everyone else, he was anxious to have his children involved in swimming as a competitive sport.
But, Cathal being Cathal, he wasn’t content with sitting back. He quickly volunteered to take on a coaching role, attaining both levels 1 & 2 coaching qualifications. Initially our C squad coach, in no time his swimmers were putting pressure on both B and A squads. Cathal would also move on to coach B and A squads in the Club. Cathal’s deep interest, dedication and training skills were an enormous asset, pushing us not only as a club but also resulting in many swimmers stretching themselves beyond their personal targets to proudly represent Killarney at county, provincial and national level.
Cathal was peerless at diving training in Tralee and elite training in Limerick and was a permanent fixture at most galas over the years. His kind and thoughtful words to the swimmers, given in person after each race, brought many a smile to a glum face.
Killarney Swimming Club wants to say a heartfelt “thank you” to Cathal for the hours and hours of dedication given to our swimmers and children over the years. He will be sorely missed in the Club, and both Committee and members wish Cathal the very best for the future.
You will all be aware now of the Government announcement in the Republic of Ireland last night to move to Level 5 from midnight tomorrow Wednesday 21st October for the next six weeks (until December 1st).
This was a very significant announcement on many levels and has meant that for the next 6 weeks our sport has, for almost all of us, effectively been stopped. Despite how devastating this is, we remind ourselves that it is only for a temporary period and we are glad to see that our Performance athletes (definition to follow) can continue as can those who are still comfortable to swim in the outdoors (and of course who live within 5km of the sea).
Whilst it is terribly disappointing news that pools in ROI are closed during this period, we wanted to assure you that we have been relentless in our efforts to represent our sport, our Clubs and the sector since the beginning of this pandemic and particularly over the past few weeks. In collaboration with Ireland Active, we have been working on your behalf to represent our sport and all involved, seek appropriate funding supports, make the case for pools to remain open, emphasise the work and commitment of our community to implement everything required of them in relation to public health measures and of course all the benefits of our sport for those involved.
We have written directly to the Taoiseach on more than one occasion, met with the Minister of State for Gaeltacht and Sport Jack Chambers individually and as part of the Covid 19 Sport Monitoring Group, were part of a representation group with the Federation of Irish Sport who presented to the Oireachtas Committee and have had numerous engagements with Sport Ireland and the Department of Sport.
We also pledge that we will continue to make representation on behalf of members and facilities and if there is a loosening of restrictions in the coming weeks, please be assured that we will be pushing for facilities to re-open at the earliest possible time.
Some key points from the information received last night, with detailed notes at the end of this document:
· Swimming Pools are closed
· Performance Swimming/Diving – A definition of who these athletes are and how this works is currently being sought from Sport Ireland and will be very much focused on the Tokyo 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Games
· Club Swimming/Water Polo/Diving – Non-contact training can take place for school aged children, outdoors in pods of 15 and within 5k of participants’ homes
We reiterate that we know this is a difficult time for the aquatic community and we will work to support and guide you through it. Some of the supports that will be available over the coming weeks include:
Swimming Pool Fund announced yesterday. Details available HERE.
We will continue to work with clubs individually and help you develop your plans for the future
We are working on our new Athlete/Club support programme to keep members engaged during pool closures and whilst they have no access to swimming pools
Revision again of our Competition format for Swimming & Water Polo (to be ready to go once we move into lower levels which allow for competition)
Moving to increase provision again for online learning opportunities including webinars and CPDs for Clubs, Facilities, Teachers and Coaches
Club Resilience Grant to support Clubs if we are successful in our Sport Ireland application (due end October)
Despite all the challenges, we as a community have managed to get through a full lockdown before and we will do so again. We urge you to try and keep positive and know that we will come out of this, our sport will continue and there are brighter days ahead.
As always, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need support of guidance.
Swim Ireland Team
Key Points for: Republic of Ireland Level 5
‘Living & Swimming with COVID-19’ Level 5 – Republic of Ireland
Performance Swimming/Diving – Key points:
· Training may continue for a group of athletes which will be defined in association with Sport Ireland. Where training for this group can take place will also become clear to us
· Performance athletes, staff, coaches, and practitioners may travel to train
· Performance specific competition may still take place with protective measures in place
Club Activities (All disciplines) – Key points:
· Facilities are closed therefore no indoor pool/land-based training can take place
· Competitions cannot take place
· Non-contact training can take place for school aged children, outdoors in pods of 15
· All other training should be individual only
· Travel – stay in your county within 5k of home
· Facilities are closed therefore no lessons can take place
Online learning to continue
Facilities are closed therefore practical sessions cannot take place
Munster Support Officer
+353 (0)86 0619452
Please note that Swim Ireland staff continue to work remotely at this time. Staff are accessible by e-mail and mobile phone only and do not have access to the office.
As you are aware the Irish Government announced last night that all counties in the Republic of Ireland will move to Level 3 from midnight tonight (Tuesday 6 October 2020) for a period of three weeks. As with all announcements we endeavour to provide you, our club volunteers with the information you require in a timely manner.
Clubs and members should adhere to Government guidance and follow the Swim Ireland ‘Living and Swimming with COVID-19’ Framework – our plan for the next 6-9 months which has been approved by the DTTAS/Sport Ireland Return to Sport Expert Group. We have seen Dublin and Donegal clubs continue to operate confidently under Level 3 restrictions in recent weeks which gives us great assurance in our club’s abilities to adapt to such requirements. Whilst moving into Level 3 does bring with it a need to reduce numbers in lanes, we are thankful to Sport Ireland that we have been classified as an individual sport and can continue to operate our club activities. We would encourage clubs to support their athletes who unable to travel to club sessions in communicating with them and coaching them by virtual means if possible and clubs/coaches should also consider how they can collaborate with other clubs to access pool time in other locations.
As always, it is important to communicate and work closely with your facility to ensure you are both clear on all current protocols. Please remember that we are in this together and should support each other wherever possible in the interests of our sport and all of our members
Please note for club activities the following updated numbers for the Republic of Ireland
50m Pool – up to 6 individual athletes per lane
25m Pool – up to 5 individual athletes per lane
20m Pool – up to 4 individual athletes per lane
Domestic travel – you should not travel outside your county unless for essential work or education purposes. Exceptions have been laid out in the Framework and in correspondence sent to clubs on Friday 2nd October
Swimmers who are 16 years of age or over (age as of 31/12/2020) who have qualified for the 2020 Irish National Winter Championships, the 2021 Irish Open Championships and/or the 2021 Irish Summer National Championships may travel between counties for the purposes of training
Water Polo players who are 16 years of age or over, who are named by clubs as part of a 15-person squad who will compete in Division 1 or Division 2 matches may travel between counties for the purposes of training. Please see exception note for those attending education/ essential work at the bottom of this email
Travel between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland – athletes should not travel from Northern Ireland into the Republic of Ireland (or vice versa) for the purposes of training. Exceptions to this have been laid out in the Framework and above
Competitions – A review is taking place of the virtual meet structure and updated guidance will issue on Wednesday – (7th October 2020)
Education & Essential Worker Exceptions
Other than those athletes deemed to be at Senior National level (see above and/or the Framework for definitions/guidance), those athletes who live in one county may not travel to train with a club in another county. The following exceptions apply:
Athletes who are travelling from one county to another county for full time education/as an essential worker and are attending an organised club training session directly before or afterwards (e.g. attending school/essential work in another county from 9.00am-4.00pm and travelling directly to facility for training at 5.00pm, or alternatively training at 5.00am-7.00am and travelling directly to essential work/school afterwards)
Athletes leaving one county to another county after education/essential work may not return to that county for training purposes
Athletes should not remain in a county that they have travelled to for unnecessary prolonged periods of time
Athletes may not travel to train with a club in another county on a non-education/essential workday (with this being Saturdays and Sundays in most cases)
Thank you to our club coaches, teachers, committees, and volunteers who have worked more diligently than ever to engage with club members during lockdown, negotiate return to water plans with facilities and initiate new guidelines and protocols to keep our members safe on their return to the water.
Thank you to our club members who have participated in online training sessions, quizzes, and challenges. We have loved watching the creativity shown around the country as clubs created videos and activities to keep in touch and stay motivated. Thank you for the resilience and adaptability you have shown over the last 6 months.
Some of our clubs have been returning to the water since early July. Thanks to those who have shared their Return to Water Story with us. We have featured club stories on our social media over the last few weeks, check them out HERE. Our Clubs and Community Team continue to work with clubs who have not yet secured pool time or finalised their return to water plan.
As we are about to enter a new season, the Clubs and Community team want to take this opportunity to reflect and show appreciation to you, our club members for a season like no other. Like many of you, we were looking forward to an exciting summer of National Swimming Championships, Open Water events, Water Polo Cups, Olympic and Paralympic Games. Whilst we did not get to see you in person this summer, thousands of our members connected with us through live webinars and social media for the first time ever.
The Season Ahead
The 2020-2021 season promises to bring new challenges and opportunities for Swim Ireland, our clubs, and members. We are working closely with Sport Ireland, Ireland Active and other key stakeholders so we can ensure our sport is as vibrant, exciting, and engaging as it has been in previous years. We will continue to offer a wide range of supports and resources to our clubs and members. We also understand how important competitions are to our clubs and are working on a versatile competition programme for all disciplines.
We also want to take this opportunity to reach out and ask for your support this season. We have 3 suggestions that we believe will support our clubs this season:
1. GET INVOLVED – Now, more than ever our clubs will need volunteers and support from you. Clubs require COVID-19 Officers on duty for each session, check out our e-Learning module, which takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. Consider becoming an official or team manager, supporting your club’s fundraising initiatives or joining your club’s management committee.
2. STAY INVOLVED – When we venture back to diving boards, step up on to the blocks, look out over the sea and prepare for a tough match, we want you there. We want our sport to be competitive, we want our training partners pushing us and opposing teams challenging us goal for goal. Your club needs you and we want you to keep Diving, keep Swimming and keep playing Water Polo. As we enter this new season, we hope you will renew your club membership and continue to be part of the Swim Ireland Family.
3. TALK TO US – We want to continue to provide the resources and support that you and your club need. We are always open to feedback and welcome new ideas. Drop us a line email@example.com, get involved in our virtual webinars and engage with our club support officers.
We are excited to announce that we are currently working on a plan to get athletes back competing as soon as possible, as we are fully aware how much the competitive environment means to us all. In line with government advice around indoor numbers, it will not be possible to run (for the foreseeable future) pool competitions in the way we have become accustomed to, however we are reviewing competition structures at all levels (swimming and water polo) and preparing detailed plans. In the meantime, a brief update on some of the changes:
We are preparing plans for clubs to deliver virtual in club competitions, which will form part of the regional qualifying and development meet opportunities for October and November.
Regional Short Course Championships are being reviewed and plans being developed to hold these in the original venues, albeit some changes
Irish Winter Championships are already being planned and preparation is underway to hold this event as previously advertised in December.
The National Water Polo Committee would like to thank all clubs for completing the Return to Water Polo Club Survey. The survey has been reviewed and competition and league plans are being developed for competitive matches to start first week in October.
Remember it is important that to take part in any level of competition you will need to be registered as a competitive member.
There may be some changes to dates as we work through this planning. If you want to keep up to date or have any queries regarding competitions please see our website HEREfor all up to date information.
Return to Water Campaign
We are excited to launch a ‘Return to Water’ Campaign. We want all of our members to be reminded of the love and passion that they have for their sport and our ‘Return to Water’ Campaign showcases the joy, the glee, and the thrill of being in the water. The main video feature is told from the perspective of the swimming pool, who has sat calm and empty for such a long period of time, now ready to welcome our members ‘home’. This is a six-week campaign with video and imagery that will be shared across all of our social media channels. You can view the main feature video HERE and make sure to keep an eye out as the campaign progresses over the next few weeks.
Thanks for being with us in 2019-2020 and we hope you to see you soon at a pool, lake, or sea near you!
At last, we will be back in the pool this coming week! This is very exciting for Killarney Swimming Club, but it is going to be difficult for everyone for the first few weeks as we all adapt to a new environment. Please bear with us as we work through the inevitable teething problems. If you haven’t completed your forms, please get these back to Samantha now.
Also, we are on the hunt for new members! Any young swimmers who think they might have what it takes (or if you know someone who might reach the standard) are invited to attend an open assessment at the Killarney Sports and Leisure Centre on Tuesday the 15th of September at 6:15 pm (this coming Tuesday).
Interested swimmers should have attained an advanced stage in the Swim Ireland “Learn to Swim” programme, or its equivalent, with swimmers expected to demonstrate excellent timing and technique across all strokes. Spaces are limited so notification of interest in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org would be appreciated.
Killarney Swimming Club has been challenged to a fitness contest by Kingdom. Now, this is serious. We know for a fact that we are way fitter than those ‘aul townies, but how do we knock them off their perch?
For a start, it’s with push ups. OUR coach, John Edwards, has initiated a Push Up Challenge in which everyone in the club (including Samantha) can take part. Basically, a swimmers average number of push ups per week are counted, then all the clubs averages are added and at the end of the week the totals from Killarney, Tralee, Kenmare, Ballybunion, Limerick and Blackrock are compared.
Lads, listen up now, we need to win this one. Sure, it says its only about fun and fitness but the key is in the name – “Challenge” – so lets start notching up those push ups.
There’s a video about it all up on the Tralee Facebook page which can be found here. The instructions on how to do good push ups are excellent so take a look, do your push ups and email the numbers in to Samantha at email@example.com . A video of your push ups is needed also.
Let’s go for this and don’t forget your Killarney Swimming Club t-shirt for the video!
There are some excellent articles going up on the Swim Ireland website with good online training and webinars. One that sounds particularly good, starting next Wednesday the 22nd, can be found through this link.
Swim Ireland has just published a really useful Newsletter with lots of excellent links and tips. It can be found in our “Downloads” or, if you are stretched on the couch and lack the willpower to even move the mouse that much, it can be found here.
In the times we are living in, all we can do is try and make the best of what we’ve got. Thankfully, in Killarney Swimming Club, we have John Edwards to inspire us both inside and outside the pool. For instance, if you think you need a large pool (or, indeed, any pool or even water) to swim, then you are wrong. Or, if you think you are the only one going stir crazy and looking for things to do at home – well, you are wrong again. For a good laugh, go to John’s Facebook pages either here or here.
Well done John for putting this together and keep up the good work!