Jersey Wahoos announces Paul Donovan as Director of Competitive Swimming



Jersey Wahoos are pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Donovan as our new Director of Competitive Swimming. In this role Donovan will have responsibility for leading and delivering the complete Wahoo program from lessons to the Senior National group.

Donovan’s immediate background is in performance swimming, having worked as the Head Coach at the National Aquatic Centre Performance Centre for Swim Ireland for eight seasons. During that time athletes under his direct supervision represented Ireland at every level of the sport, including Shane Ryan (Rio Olympic semi-finalist), Barry Murphy (London Olympian, European Bronze medallist 2013) & countless others who broke more than 50 Irish Records during that time and won more than 100 National titles. Donovan himself lead Irish teams to international meets during this time and travelled to competitions across the world on the Junior, European and World stage. His background is in club swimming having been the Head Coach in Trojan SC (Dublin), previously serving at all levels in the club from 10 & unders all the way up to producing athletes representing Ireland on the World stage. In between these two roles Donovan spent the 2007/2008 season as a Volunteer Assistant at the University of Florida.

Commenting on his appointment Donovan said,

I am delighted to accept this opportunity with the Jersey Wahoos. It is a program with a strong tradition at the national level, but one that also plays a key role in offering opportunities in the community to be part of the sport.

My coaching philosophy is centred around creating an environment where excellence is inevitable. Delivering a program every day that offers the opportunity to pursue the physical and technical training required, supports the psychological and emotional preparation needed and allows the athletes to grow as people is how we will best achieve this together.

I have been very fortunate to have worked under two coaches who have influenced my own philosophy greatly. Whilst at the University of Florida I worked under 2012 Team USA Olympic Head Coach Gregg Troy, who for many decades now has been a leading figure in international coaching ranks, guiding athletes such as Olympic gold medallists Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Lochte among others. From Coach Troy I learnt how important it is to explain to the athletes why you are asking them to do specific things and having that ongoing communication and dialogue is key to building lasting trusting relationships. In Swim Ireland I worked under former National Performance Director and Team USA Olympic Coach and coach of 3 time Olympic Gold Medallist Brooke Bennett, Peter Banks. From Coach Banks I learned the importance of the daily challenge needed in training to show athletes the relationship between what they are doing and their goals. I hope I bring these lessons and many others I have learned along my own coaching journey and interaction with athletes with me to the Wahoos.

Communication plays a central role to supporting the athletes’ journey through any program. My initial goal when the new season begins is to take the opportunity to meet with all the training groups off the pool deck to talk in more detail about the club’s vision for the future. From there my commitment to you all is that we will have a system in place where continuing education is key to what we do with the athletes and parents as they move through the club.

I have been blown away with the energy and passion the current coaches have for the athletes. I want to take this opportunity to thank them for their work this summer and in particular to Coach Karen for the fantastic job she has done while this search has been going on. Delivering a program that is aligned from top to bottom with a common language being used to develop skilful, well trained swimmers is a major goal going forward and I am looking forward to working with all the coaches to deliver a program that allows the athletes the opportunity to be the very best they can be.

Brad Glenn, Jersey Wahoos President added:

On behalf of the board, we welcome Paul, his wife Cliona and their young son Billy to the Jersey Wahoos and our strong network of families, friends, and alumni. We ran a national/ international search for a new director. Of the over 20 applicants we reviewed, our top candidates all had experience and success at the Olympic, collegiate, and club level. Paul stood out because he also had a diverse background that included involvement at all levels of club coaching and a vision that best matched our mission statement.

Since taking over Sea Jays Swim Club in 1973, the Jersey Wahoos have played a leading role in developing and inspiring athletes in South Jersey and the region. In addition to being one of the dominant teams in the Middle Atlantic LSC, our swimmers also play a prominent role in summer league, high school, and at the regional and national level as well. Many of our graduates move on to collegiate swimming where they have competed at the NCAA championships, the Olympic Trials, and a few have even competed internationally all the way to the pinnacle of our sport…the USA Olympic Team.

More information and updates will follow between now and the start of the Fall season.


The Jersey Wahoos mission is to develop and inspire athletes of all ages to excel in the pool, the classroom and the community.