Richard Gheel   Performance Squad Coach and Acting Head Coach

Level 4 ASA GB Coach, Level 2 SI Coach and Teacher

Richard joined COB in 2019. He has 33 years of experience in coaching and training swimmers at all levels. Richard has coached swimmers and triathletes selected for the London 2012 Olympics, the European & Commonwealth Games, and the European Youth Olympic Festival. He was Coach to National Age, Youth and Senior Champions in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand, and British Age/Youth Championships. He was selected onto the British Swimming’s 1st World Class Potential Camp.  Richard was Head Coach of Portsmouth Northsea and coached on the British Swimming’s first Regional Performance Centre. He coached on Scottish National Squads and was Lead Coach on the East District Regional Programme.

As a swimmer, he competed at the topmost international level: he was the 100m and 200m Backstroke Irish Record Holder (LC), competed at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, and was a Triple Commonwealth Games swimmer (1986, 1990 and 1994).


Sophia Cross   Development & Age Group Squad Coach and Assistant Head Coach

Level 3 SI Coach, Level 2 SI Teacher, SI Tutor

Having led an Age Group Squad in one of the top clubs in Ulster for several seasons, in addition to coaching at various other competitive clubs across Ulster, Sophia has a huge amount of experience, and continues to work with Swim Ulster in the area of Talent ID. Sophia will introduce energy system training and race skills to the Development Squad who are progressing towards achieving the standards for the Swim Ulster Qualifying Meets.



Stephen McKay   Junior 3 Squad Coach

 Level 2 SI Coach, NRASTC Lifesaving Award, St. Johns Ambulance First Aid Award

Stephen Has been a coach at City of Belfast since 2012. He is a former Ulster and Irish Schools Swimming Champion, a former RLSS Ulster and Irish Junior Lifesaving Champion and a former triathlete at Olympian Triathlon Club competing at a national level.

More recently he has been a medallist at the 2012 and 2013 Ulster Masters Swimming Championships.

Outside of swimming Stephen was a successful GAA Minor, winning 3 County Armagh Gaelic Football Championships. He also currently coaches at ST. Brigids GAC.

Stephen will leverage his experience to the Junior 3 Squad, where he will optimise technique and stroke efficiency for those who are beginning to compete at Swim Ulster Development Meet level.

Gavin McGuken Junior 2 Squad Coach

Level 1 and 2 SI Coach, Level 2 ASA Teacher

Gavin is former competitive swimmer and coach with Cookstown SC and has also coached more recently as a full time swim teacher in Dubai. Gavin is also a keen rugby player for Harlequins RFC. Gavin joined City of Belfast in 2016 and  coaches our Junior 2 Squad.


Hilary Idzikowska Aquastrokes Coordinator & Teacher and Junior 1 squad Coach

Level 3 SI Coach, Level 2 SI Teacher, SI Tutor

Hilary is a Level 3 Swim Ireland Coach, and a Swim Ireland Tutor with unparalleled teaching experience having led one of the top Learn to Swim programmes in Ulster Ireland for many years. CoB are delighted to have Hilary lead the Aquastrokes programme, which she has designed to take the youngest swimmers to build their swimming proficiency, all the way to the Junior 1 Squad.

Nathan Taylor   Development & Age Group Squad Assistant Coach

Level 2 SI Coach and Teacher, Level 2 SI Water Polo Coach and Teacher

Nathan joined COB in 2019, with 8 years experience of teaching and coaching at other clubs in Ulster ranging from Learn to swim to Age Group. He was nominated for Young Coach of the Year in 2017. Nathan is a former National level swimmer and is a regular competitive Senior Waterpolo player with Cathal Brugha Water Polo Club. 


Iain Chisholm   Coach

Level 1 Teaching Aquatics, Level 1 Coaching Swimming, NRASTC Lifesaving Award

Iain is an ex-Irish National Squad member and still holds multiple Ulster and Irish relay records. He has won a number Ulster and Irish Championships and has been a British Youth Finalist, with success coming in events such as 100 & 200 freestyle, 200 butterfly and 100 and 200 IM. Swimming has allowed Iain to travel within Europe to multiple National Training Camps and to compete in FINA World Cup meets against some of the best in the world.

Iain has been a member of City of Belfast for upwards of 17 years, where he has trained and competed before coaching. He took a break from swimming in 2011/12 to live and work in America for a year and on his return took up a coaching position here in September 2013.

He works as a Civil Engineer in Belfast.

Outside of swimming Iain played waterpolo for Ulster Schools and enjoys all forms of outdoor pursuits including surfing, wakeboarding, fishing and camping.

Eórann O’Neill   Coach

Level 2 SI Teacher

Eórann has joined the team this season . She has amassed a wealth of experience within swimming both as a competitive athlete and as a swimming teacher and is bringing her valuable skill set to the Junior 1 Squad.

Eórann’s swimming career involved representing Ulster and Ireland at various competitions including British Championships and the Luxembourg 2012 Olympic trails.

Eórann’s interest in water sports began in the field of waterpolo, where she represented Irish Under 16 and Under 18, traveling as far as Sweden, winning a Tri-Nations championship. Eórann has also had a career in lifesaving, still holding at least two individual British records. She represented Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Championships in Austraila, Great Britain in Germany on two occasions and captained the Great Britain team in Italy.

Outside of swimming, Eórann enjoys racing cars and is also studying a Master’s degree at Queen’s University.