Further Personal Information
||Marketing - University of Tennessee: Knoxville, TN, USA
Sport Specific Information
|When and where did you begin this sport?
||He started swimming at the age of five.
|Hero / Idol
||Ireland's 200m breaststroke silver medallist at the 1989 European Championships, Gary O'Toole. (independent.ie, 30 Dec 2007)
||He suffered a leg injury in early 2003. (utsports.collegesports.com, 16 Jul 2004)
|Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
||He once anonymously received a book in the post that changed his life. The book was by prominent United States life coach and motivational speaker Tony Robbins. "It's about trying to learn about the human mind," he said. "There's stuff out there that's way bigger. If you look at the planet earth in relation to the galaxy and the universe, it's so tiny. If anything stressful happens I try to laugh at it because I know it isn't really all that important." (Irish Independent, 30 Dec 2007)
|Sporting philosophy / motto
||"Aim higher and take on the best." (news.bbc.co.uk, 01 Aug 2000)
He failed to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games by just 0.4 seconds and was so devastated he stayed away from a swimming pool for six months. After coming to terms with his near miss, he examined his approach to the sport and looked at every aspect of his training in order that he could compete at an elite level. "I went back to looking at my stroke in detail and broke it all down," he said. "Even the way my hand enters the water has changed. All the little things make a big difference." He converted half of his apartment into a gym and moved his personal conditioning coach Thomas Clavier in so he could concentrate on increasing his muscle mass. "Maybe some people thought that I couldn't do it but I never lost the belief that if I sacrificed I could make it." (belfasttelegraph.co.uk, 11 Dec 2007)
The Northern Ireland Sports Council ended his lottery funding in 2006, saying that it must prioritise its investment in athletes who can provide a tangible return on public funding. Although his funding was cut, he continued to be supported by his family, the Irish Sports Council and Swim Ireland. "I was disappointed that they cut my money," he said. "But I just do my talking in the water and I won't waste any energy on feeling bitter." (BBC Sport, 13 Oct 2006)
He showed ability in the pool at the Ards Swimming Club in Northern Ireland from a young age and made the standard for the club's elite squad at the age of 12. (irishnews.com, 19 Sep 2000)
He tested positive for a banned substance in December 2007. The substance was in a nasal inhaler which he purchased and didnt know the substance Levmethamfetamine was contained in the medicine. The doping panel were convinced that the use of the drug was not intended to enhance performance. (blogspot.com, 29 May 2008)