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Staff and Coaches

Emma Collings-Barnes - Director of Swimming

Emma joined us in April 2012 from Rushmoor Royals Swimming Club in Aldershot where in two short years she lead 25 staff members and over 300 swimmers to become one of the strongest programmes in the South East.

Prior to this, Emma worked at Millfield School. Within the swimming programme, having spent a year working as the Director of Swimming (2007 – 2008) she played an instrumental role in helping the school produce national and international medalists. Whilst at Millfield she guided swimmers such as World Champion James Guy and Olympian James Disney-May into their continued success as well as Georgia Holderness to her Olympic qualifying time in 2008, and other British Swimmers, senior and junior such as Tristan Slater and Robert Holderness.

With extensive international coaching experience, she has mentored multiple swimmers to the European Junior Championships, World Championships, Commonwealth and Olympic Games. Emma’s experience in working with various teams, including British Swimming, over the course of her 11 years in full time coaching is equaled by her enthusiasm and passion for swimming and Mount Kelly. With her Level 3 swimming qualification, university degrees in Applied Sport Science and Fine Art and 10 years personal international swimming experience, Emma brings a multi-layered skill set to the Mount Kelly Swimming Programme. You will find Emma spending many hours working with pupils in our gym, Emma leads our dynamic and fresh Strength and Conditioning programme. 

Emma’s strong personal swimming career saw her study at the illustrious Loughborough University swimming team for 5 years and in this time, she had a number of successes, resulting in her representing GB in 5000m Open Water Swimming.

Emma also assists in the daily running of the junior boarding house, helping to support and mentor swimmers across all areas of school life.

Emma is thrilled to be accepted onto the 'UK Women into High Performance Coaching Programme' run by Sports Coach UK and in close collaboration with the England Programmes Team, British Swimming and Performance Pathway Lead. Emma has been selected as one of only three swimming coaches to take part in this prestigious programme.  

  • BSc Applied Sport Science – Loughborough
  • Foundation Degree Fine Art - Loughborough
  • ASA Level 3 Coach
  •  Foundation Degree in Sports Science
  • National Pool Life Guard
  • Level 1 Thump Boxing Instructor
  • Personal Trainer
  • ASA Team Manager
  • BAWLA Leader Award
Coaching Background
  • Assistant Director of Swimming - current position
  • Head of Swimming for Years 9 to 13 – Mount Kelly April 2012 – 2018
  • Head Coach of Rushmoor Royals Swimming Club June 2010 – April 2012
  • Hampshire Swimming Head Coach – 2011
  • Acting Director of Swimming – Millfield 2008 – 2009
  • Swimming Coach – Millfield School January 2006 – June 2010
  • Assistant Coach – Loughborough University 2004 - 2006
  • Head Age Group Coach – Pine Crest School, Florida 2005
Swimming Background
  • Swimmer with Loughborough University for 5 years
  • Open Water Great Britain International Swimmer
  • British Open Water Champion
  • European Championships Puma 4some, England 3rd
  • European Championships Puma4some, England 2nd
Greg King-Limb – Assistant Director of Swimming

Greg joined us in September 2013 from Kingsbridge Swimming Club in South Devon, where he worked as Assistant Coach for two years. In this time, he coached a wide range of swimmers including County, Regional and National level athletes as well as coaching alongside Emma Collings-Barnes for many years’ prior to joining Mount Kelly during their warm weather training camps in Lanzarote.

Since working at Mount Kelly, Greg has played an integral role in shaping the swimming programme, with a specific focus on nurturing the next generation of national and international athletes at Mount Kelly. He has coached multiple national champions and medalists; guiding swimmers to break both British and English Age Group Records in the process. Consequently, Greg has been selected to coach for Swim England on both Phase 1 and 2 England Talent Camps as well as the AASE National Training Camp in Tenerife. In January 2018, Greg was invited to be part of the Swim England Coach Pathway Programme and has since gone on to coach at the World School Games in Morocco.

Greg also has a strong background in education and graduated from the University of St Mark and St John with a First Class Honours Degree in B.Ed. Primary Education in June 2014, leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Therefore, Greg brings a very current knowledge and understanding of the educational system to Mount Kelly, having recently experienced the processes of 11+ and grammar school education, GCSEs, A Levels, application to university, as well as his recent studies at degree level. Consequently, Greg also works closely with many of our athletes; supporting and mentoring swimmers across all aspects of school life at Mount Kelly.

Greg became Assistant Director of Swimming in September 2018 and is incredibly passionate about continuing his career at Mount Kelly. Greg’s performance coaching and teaching experience have instilled a strong belief in the holistic approach to a child’s development – a feature which is key to the ongoing success of Mount Kelly Swimming. 

  • BEd Primary Education – University of St Mark & St John
  • ASA Level 3 Coach
  • ASA Level 2 Coach
  • National Pool Life Guard
  • ASA Team Manager
  • ASA Level 1 Teacher
  • ASA Judge 1
Coaching Background
  • Assistant Director of Swimming - current position
  • Performance Coach – Mount Kelly September 2013 - 2018
  • Swim England Pathway Coach Program 2018 - 2019
  • Devon County Head Coach 2016 & 2017. Devon County Coach 2013,2014 & 2015
  • South West English Schools Coach 2015
  • AASE National Training Camp Coach 2015
  • ASA Phase 1 England Programmes Coach 2015
  • ASA Phase 2 England Programmes Coach 2015
  • Assistant Coach – Kingsbridge Swimming Club – September 2011 – August 2013
  • Devon ASA Young Volunteer of the Year 2011
Swimming Background
  • Swam with Kingsbridge Swimming Club for 10 years
  • Devon County Champion 2009 & 2010 – 1500m Freestyle
  • Member of Devon County Swimming & Management Committee 2014-2016

Lawrie Thomson - Head of Para Swimming

Lawrie joins us with more than 15 years of coaching swimmers to National level.  After 8 years completing at county regional and national level, Lawrie started his coaching career at the University of Bath receiving a two year coaching scholarship. This allowed Lawrie to develop his skills under the guidance of International coaches and around Olympic athletes.

His expensive experience as Head Coach means he brings a variety of experience in the club environment whilst also understanding what it takes to succeed at National and International level. Lawrie has helped 3 clubs achieve success in both England and Northern Ireland where he has also been selected to coach of the respective National talent programmes. Throughout his career Lawrie has coached numerous National champions and had International representation at World school, Commonwealth and European junior level.

Lawrie has had success in the arena league, most noticeably at Haslemere where he took a village club to the National finals top 10, and many unbeaten seasons during his time at Amersham.

He has experience working in a variety of school environments too, supporting and mentoring students in Bristol and Gloucestershire over the last two years, but his passion is performance level swimming and this is highlighted by trips to Shanghai in 2007 and Australia in 2014 to work with international coaches and athletes, to learn about different training styles and techniques in a variety of elite environments.

  • UKCC LEVEL 3 Swimming coach – Performance level award
  • BSc Degree Sports conditioning and coaching – UWE Bristol
  • HND Coach Education and sports performance – University of Bath

Coaching Background
  • Coaching scholarship to the University of Bath 2003 – 2005
  • Head Coach positions held in England and N. Ireland from 2006 – 2017
  • England talent programme coaching staff 2007 – 2016
  • England talent programme Head Coach 2015 South East region
  • AASE coaching staff 2008 - 2010 

Swimming Background
  • National level swimmers at CSWPC
  • England under 16s Waterpolo talent squad

Joel Knight - Performance Swim Coach

Joel joins us after 15 years of swimming experience, with the last two years working exclusively with 9-12 year olds across two different clubs in the South East. This experience has allowed him to refine his practice and be in the best position to really influence the prep side of swimming here at Mount Kelly. Joel’s key values in his coaching stem back to values that he holds from his time swimming, where discipline and work ethic were fundamental.

Joel believes in the perfect formula of careful attention to a technical base and then building the content on top - finding the place for hard work in with the constant attention to detail.

He spent his entire secondary education at Millfield School, and has grown up in the boarding environment and learnt to balance education with an intense activity programme across several sports. The experience Joel gained at Millfield allowed him to understand the importance of lifestyle balance and dealing with performance lifestyle, with breaking his first British record during the build up to his GCSEs, and his second just weeks after, where he won the 1500m freestyle at the European Youth Olympic Festival. Joel is keen to become a positive mentor for the swimmers at Mount Kelly and be able to share his recent experiences of racing at that level and share the life lessons learnt by going through the process.

Since beginning his coaching career, he was the top age group coach at the Hampshire counties in his first year, with the top 11 year old boy. He was also a member of the Hampshire Talent camp 2017 and then on the Berks and South Bucks Talent Programme 2018. He has worked with the best swimmers and coaches across both these counties during the process to stimulate his development further.

Joel’s swimming background carried success as a junior following a key spell with our own Emma Collings-Barnes. The distance events found Joel. He found great joy in 800s and 1500s, winning a National medal every year. It was at 14 he won his first national titles, in the 800 free and open water as well as being a part of a 3x winning relay team that same year. 

  • ASA Level 2 swimming coach
  • ASA Level 2 swimming teacher
  • HFI diploma in personal training level 2
Coaching Background
  • 2017 Hampshire Talent Camp
  • 2018 Berks and South Bucks Talent Camp
  • 2018 ESSA South East head girls coach
  • 2017 Hampshire Age Group top coach
  • Lead Development Coach, Rushmoor Royals 2017-2018
  • Lead Technical Coach, Amersham SC 2018 
Swimming Background
  • Olympic Trials 5th Place 2012
  • European Youth Olympic Festival Champion 2011
  • British record holder 15years 1500 Free
  • Millfield Sports Performer of the year 2011/2012
  • 5x National Gold Medallist 2010
  • 8x 9years Herts County record breaker
  • 2010-2014 South West Regional Champion 1500m
Josh Norrie - Performance Swim Coach

Josh joined the Mount Kelly Coaching team in September 2016 and graduated from the University of St Mark and St John in 2013 where he studied Applied Sport Science and Coaching (Bsc with honours) and also gained his Level 3 Personal Trainer certificate. Since this time he has worked at Dinnaton Swimming Club as the Lead Strength and Conditioning Coach and at Sparkwell Primary school as a P.E Teacher and Sports Coach across all year groups.

Having a real passion for swimming Josh was able to apply his experience and knowledge in all aspects of the swim programme and is now working through his Level 2 Swimming Coaching Qualification at Mount Kelly. 

Josh’s background in swimming, strength and conditioning, and all the sport science aspects surrounding the sport has provided him with a wealth of experience and helped him succeed with the coaching of swimmers at from County through to National level. In addition, his high level qualifications and experience in strength and conditioning across a range of performance sports, including Plymouth Argyle Youth teams, makes Josh a very rounded coach with the ability to hone in on specific needs on an individual and group basis.

Josh has been involved with performance sports from an early age having represented Plymouth school boys in football as a child. More recently he played at semi-professional level with Ivybridge Town football club and from his formative years untill late teens he trained in Tae-Kwon-do where he attained his Black belt second Dan and competed both regionally and nationally in both patterns and sparring disciplines.

  • Applied Sport Science and Coaching with honours BSc
  • Level 1 and Level 2 swim coaching qualification - working towards
  • Level 2 paediatric first aid
  • Body weight suspension training Level 1
  • Personal training qualification Level 3 (2013)
Coaching Background
  • Lead prep and club squad swimming coach September 2016 - Present
  • Lead strength and conditioning coach for performance potential squad. September 2016 - Present
  • Strength and conditioning on an individual basis for swimmers within the swim programme September 2016 - Present
  • Assistant youth strength and conditioning coach at Plymouth Argyle Development March 2016 - July 2016
  • Lead strength and conditioning coach at Dinnaton Swim club Sept 2013 - Sept 2016
  • Cover swim coach at Dinnaton swim club Sept 2014 -Sept 2016
  • Volunteer Sports coach for disabled adults (Active for Life) 2012-2013
  • Gym Instructor (Tone Leisure) 2012-2014
  • Mini circuits instructor Tone Leisure 2012-2016
  • Badminton coach Tone Leisure 2015
  • Football coach Tone Leisure 2013-2015
Sports Background
  • Ivybridge men's football team 2009 - Present
  • University Of St. Mark and St. John 1st 11 football team 2010 - 2013
  • Tae-kwon-do Black belt 2nd dan competing Nationally 2002 - 2008

Niamh Robinson - Swimming Intern

Niamh will be known to many of you, having left Mount Kelly at the end of the Summer Term.  She returns as an athlete intern, completing a Psychology A Level whilst assisting with the Prep Squads.  Niamh will be living in at the Prep, and will offer excellent care and support for our younger swimmers.  Niamh has four years of international racing experience having represented the Isle of Man in two Commonwealth Games, and experienced significant national success including a senior national medal at the National Winter Meet in 2016.


Ian Gaffney - Triathlon Coach

Ian was born and brought up in Florida and was awarded a Bachelor’s degree from Florida University, and whilst completing his MPhil at Cambridge secured a Blue for swimming and a Half Blue for triathlon.  He has completed several Ironman competitions with top ten finishes, is also an open-water swim coach, and has worked as Assistant Coach with the City of Cambridge Swimming Club.