Suspended coach to appeal Swim Ireland decision

Two-month suspension imposed after it was claimed the coach loudly rebuked swimmer

A Galway swimming club's head coach has said he intends to appeal a suspension by Swim Ireland and hopes to return to his job.

Swim Ireland imposed a two-month suspension on Pearse McGuigan, head coach with Galway Swimming Club, after it was claimed that he loudly rebuked a 14-year old swimmer at a contest.

The national body was told by the swimmer's parents that she felt "humiliated, powerless, scared and isolated" after the incident at a gala last January at the University of Limerick.

The complaint claimed that Mr McGuigan issued a reprimand in public after the teenager had talked to members of her former club.

He is said to have withdrawn the swimmer from her remaining events and sent her to the stands, where she was very upset.

The complaint by the teenager’s parents was considered by Swim Ireland’s complaints and disciplinary committee, and Mr McGuigan was found to be in breach of its code of conduct and was suspended for two months.

Mr McGuigan has coached with Galway Swimming Club for 10 years, and has been league coach for the Connacht performance centre, based at NUI Galway, from 2012 to 2016.

‘Flawed’

Mr McGuigan said in a written statement to the hearing that he had been wrongly treated and that the disciplinary procedures were “flawed”.

After the decision, he said he intended to leave the sport and return to a career in printing in Northern Ireland.

However, Mr McGuigan told The Irish Times he has decided to appeal, and hopes to return to working with the club in any event – either when the suspension is served or if it is lifted on appeal.

“I have received support from 99 per cent of the club and I feel it is important to honour that,” he said.

Galway Swimming Club did not respond to a request for comment. The club is holding an extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday to ratify a Swim Ireland constitution template.

Swim Ireland said it did not comment on individual cases, but confirmed that a case was on appeal.