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Darragh Greene – Longford Olympian, Late Blooming, & Resetting Goals – EP159!

April 23, 2020

Darragh Greene is an Irish professional swimmer from Longford. He was the first Irish athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and will compete in the 100 meter and 200 meter breaststroke at the games.

In this one we cover a lot of ground and I was very keen to get an understanding of the focus, commitment, dedication and sacrifices that Darragh has made to get to the level he’s now at. As he says himself, he’s a late bloomer and if he keeps up the rate at which his improving and continues to shave off milliseconds and keep breaking his PBs, then he’ll be in serious contention next summer when the games come around.

I’ve listed below a summary of our conversation. Enjoy this one, folks.


  • Moving from hard training to stopping due to COVI19
  • Preparing for the Irish trials but stopped
  • Pre-validation at world championships
  • Targeting 8 swimmers for Ireland at this Olympics
  • Why did Darragh specialise in swimming – after breaking his leg lead him to this
  • Why Swimming?
  • How big of an influence your dad was? (tried to get you to play in goals?)
  • Other influences growing up?
  • When did you start to see there could be something in it?
  • What was your approach like then?
  • Where are you on natural talent v working hard?
  • Taking other sports as distractions away lead
  • Influencers growing up coaches like Donal O’Neill
  • Being a late bloomer in swimming
  • Ben Higson as another influencer
  • Going all in
  • Was there always a high-level of discipline?
  • Sacrifices were key to start making progress
  • Once moved to the National Aquatic centre in Dublin made a big difference
  • Setting goals and achieving them within 10 weeks for the year
  • Breaking the Irish record
  • Gaining self-belief and confidence
  • Setting the goal to be the first Irish man to break 60 seconds
  • Setting big and mini-goals
  • Measuring every session with goals
  • The mental side of sport, tools and approaches used?
  • Loving the buzz of competition and rising to the occasion in real events v training
  • Dealing with what comes your way and having to deal with it the best!
  • Changing techniques, changing fundamentals of the stroke, making tweaks
  • Using Video Analysis, sports science
  • Working with Jan Olbrecht & bringing much more science to the training
  • Testing off lactate levels against times and using algorithms
  • Dealing with injuries and how to overcome them
  • Working on core, mobility, and using Yoga and Pilates to help with flexibility
  • Individual performance v teamwork
  • Hours spent swimming on an average day
  • Swimming and working on retaining the mind focused during the swims when they need to swim for 5km
  • Keeping technique in focus for the long sessions – how does Darragh keep this?
  • Breaking up the 5km into smaller sections and chunks
  • Dealing with Nerves and Stress
  • Preparation & keeping cool
  • Pre-race rituals and routines
  • Using Caffeine v other energy drinks
  • When bursting onto the scene, having a surprise factor and having nothing to lose
  • Performing better in some pools than others with Rome as Darragh’s favourite venue
  • Taking part in competitions internationally
  • Longer term plans – after Tokyo and beyond?
  • A passion for staying in professional sport after swimming?
  • The International Swimming League (ISL) and interest for the future
  • Setting goals for 2021, Tokyo and aiming for a second swim with a lifetime best!

Follow Darragh on Twitter at @GreeneDarragh

Thanks for listening!



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