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Humer's Arrival Has Irish Eyes Smiling

Jan 9, 2013  - Craig Lord

Lars Humer, the Kiwi who took charge of Britain's Stockport Intensive Training Centre and the likes of world 10km champion Keri-Anne Payne when coach Sean Kelly suffered illness on the way to a home London 2012 Olympic Games, has been appointed head coach at Ireland's High Performance Centre at the University Arena in Limerick.

The arrival of Humer, who replaces Ronald Claes, was described by University of Limerick Director of Sport Dave Mahedy as "a massive shot in the arm" for the Limerick centre.

Ireland, both north and south competes as Ireland and has no link to Britain when it comes to racing. Hummer, who starts his new role on Monday, has spent 13 years in Britain, which in swim racing has no link with Ireland, where swimmers from both north and south compete together under the Irish flag.

Humer tells the Irish media: "I’m looking forward to the challenge of working with a new group of swimmers. Swim Ireland has a great structure in place already and I’m excited by the prospect of working within that structure."

The Limerick pool was the first 50m facility to be built in Ireland and would have been called the Michelle Smith pool had it not been for her falling foul of anti-doping rules.

There had been a suggestion that the centre would fold when Claes left at a time when Limerick and Swim Ireland were at loggerheads on several issues. "But now that this is sorted, the matter is over and put to bed. It is a massive shot in the arm and a great start to 2013 for us," said Mahedy. "We talked a lot with Swim Ireland over the last number of weeks and it is great that this was the outcome of those talks. We are delighted to welcome Lars to Limerick and we look forward to working together with Lars and Swim Ireland in the future".

Swim Ireland’s National Performance director Peter Banks welcomed Humer by saying: "I know he will do a great job in Limerick. Swim Ireland has started on a new Performance Pathway to 2016 and having performance centres with top class coaches in all four regions is the foundation and first step on that pathway."