ACLAÍ – My Experience by Ross McAuliffe

A Parent’s Perspective (Diarmaid) – Since joining Aclai it’s great to see Ross develop as an athlete by training with top quality coaches and other like minded athletes in a friendly environment with a great atmosphere. Aclai really take an active interest in each athlete and supports them in achieving their goals.Ross has achieved many of his swimming goals which drives him forward knowing that the hard work is paying off.

Introduction – The past year has been my most successful year in the pool since joining Aclai. I really enjoy the sessions with Ainle, Shakira and Mark even though they can be hard after a 5:30am start and a full day in in school. After training all week I look forward to going to the Farmers Market in Douglas for some good quality healthy food with the coaches.

Goal Setting – Since joining Aclai I have achieved and surpassed many of my personal swimming goals. While some goals are long term the confidence i’ve gained from achieving my goals so far will help me into the future. There is a big board in the gym on which I write my goals at the beginning of the year which act as a reminder to me before starting each session. It’s a great sense of achievement when you get to tick them off the list.

Recovery Process – After a hard training session or following competitions the recovery process is very important to avoid injury and or burnout. Aclai actively monitor how tired I feel and adjust my program to suit by incorporating foam rolling, stretching, mobility etc to aid my recovery.

Nutrition – With the demands of training between two and four hours a day it’s difficult to know the types and quantities of foods to eat for fuel and recovery in order to maintain the required level of effort. Aclai produced a nutrition plan for me based on my weekly training schedule taking into account my food preferences, workload in the pool, gym, competitions etc. They only promote healthy eating and regularly hold workshops and demonstrations.

Benefits of Training in Aclai in addition to Swim Training – There are many benefits to training in Aclai in conjunction with my Swim training. In Aclai you get individual attention at every session. The sessions are regularly reviewed and updated so you get the maximum benefit while at the same time keeping them interesting. All the coaches are Sport Scientists and understand the demands associated with swimming and have designed a strength and conditioning program specific to my requirements. They also ensure that my sessions are tapered correctly in advance of competitions.    

A Typical Week – I am a member of Sundays Well Swimming Club based in Douglas Cork but also train with the Swim Ireland Cork Performance Squad in Brookfield College Road. Once a month I travel to Limerick to train with the Munster squad in the University of Limerick which consists of two pool session and a Gym session. In a typical week training consists of 8 sessions in the pool including two on Friday and two on Saturday totalling 15 hours per week. Depending on competitions throughout the year the volume of training can vary from 30km to 80km per week in the pool. In additional to my pool training I also attend two 1 hour sessions per week in Aclai.


My highlights since joining ACLAÍ include;


  • Broke the Munster record for the 50m Backstroke which had not been broken for 16 years.


  • Won the Sandycove Island Challenge in Kinsale (Wetsuit Category) coming second overall in the 1.9km open water swim around Sandycove Island
  • Qualified and competed in the Portuguese Open Swimming Championships


  • Won my first senior National Medal by coming third in the 50m Backstroke at the Irish Open Swimming Competition
  • Won the 100m Backstroke at the Munster Senior Schools and National Senior Schools competitions
  • Broke the 60 second barrier for the 100m Backstroke
  • Won the 100m and 200m Backstroke at the Munster Connaught Age Groups
  • Awarded the Best Overall Athlete at the Michael Bowles Gala and was awarded the Eoin Deasy Memorial Trophy
  • Qualified and competed at the British Swimming Championships
  • Set and currently hold club records in the 50m, 100m and 200m Backstroke Short Course (25m pool) and also set and hold club records in the 50m, 100mm Backstroke Long Course (50m pool)


  • Won the 50m Backstroke and 50m Butterfly at Munster Championships in the University of Limerick and came third in the 100m Backstroke (senior categories)
  • Bronze in 50m Backstroke, and Silver in 4 x 100 IM at the Irish Open Shourt Course Championships

For any one thinking of joining Aclai I would highly recommend it, whether it’s for Sports performance, Injury rehab or general fitness. The coaches and facilities are top class and they will help you achieve your goals, you won’t regret it.

Ross McAuliffe