Indiana native Brian Barnes is entering his seventh season as the head coach of the University of Notre Dame women's swimming and diving program in 2014-15 after joining the Irish in August 2008 as the program's fifth head coach.
During his time with the Irish, Barnes has helped take the program to new heights, as they have become regular standouts on the conference and national stage. Just some of the highlights include the first individual national championship (junior Emma Reaney, 2014) for a Notre Dame swimmer or diver in school history (men's or women's), eight All-Americans, 13 honorable mention All-Americans, 24 NCAA qualifiers among 14 student-athletes, three Atlantic Coast Conference individual titles, four all-ACC honorees, one ACC Most Valuable Swimmer, one ACC Swimmer of the Year, two BIG EAST team titles, 42 BIG EAST combined relay and individual titles, 164 All-BIG EAST honors, three BIG EAST Swimming Coach of the Year awards, two BIG EAST Most Outstanding Swimmer awards and two BIG EAST Most Outstanding Diver awards. Eighteen of the 23 school records have fallen during Barnes' time with the program.
In the classroom, the Irish routinely sport a team semester GPA over 3.00, while multiple student-athletes have received elite honors. In 2013, senior Kim Holden was awarded a prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship, while Reaney was named the 2014 ACC Women's Swimming & Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year before becoming the first student-athlete in program history to earn Capital One first team Academic All-America honors.
In 2011, Barnes created and ran the first Coaches vs. Cancer Fighting Irish Swim Clinic. The clinic saw almost 100 children ages 8-18 participate and raised more than $5,000 that went to South Bend's RiverBend Cancer Services and the American Cancer Society.
Barnes and the rest of the Irish swimming and diving team topped their performance in 2012, raising over $20,000 with the help of Olympic gold medalist Tyler McGill, who coached at the meet, and a $10,000 donation from Notre Dame football head coach Brian Kelly's foundation Kelly Cares.
2013 saw Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary appear at the third annual clinic, with the total raised topping $20,000 for the second straight year.
In three years, the swim clinic has raised over $45,000 for local families that are battling cancer.
Along with the rest of the athletic department, the Irish women's swimming and diving program made the move to the vastly more competitive ACC for the 2013-14 season. Barnes navigated the transition smoothly as his Irish dove headfirst into the new league and picked up dual meet wins over Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech in the regular season before placing sixth at the ACC Championships. At the ACC meet, the Irish broke six school records - including two relay standards - witnessed the emergence of freshman Katie Miller as a real threat in the coming years and watched an absolutely dominating performance by Reaney.
In addition to several impressive relay performances with her teammates, the Lawrence, Kan., native broke three ACC, ACC meet and school records in winning the 100 and 200 breaststroke and the 200 IM. In the 200 breaststroke, Reaney also set NCAA, U.S. Open and American records by swimming 2:04.34 to cement Most Valuable Swimmer honors and qualify first nationally in the event for the NCAA Championships.
At the NCAA Championships, Reaney became one of the hits of the meet by earning three All-America scrolls and breaking her own American record in the 200 breaststroke (2:04.06) to help lead the Irish to a tie for 16th place at the meet, which tied the 2012-13 squad for the best showing in program history. The finish helped Notre Dame beat several ACC and regional foes that had bested the Irish in dual meets or at the ACC meet throughout the season.
A member of the U.S. National Team, Reaney trained at the elite SwimMAC Carolina facility in Charlotte, N.C., in the summer of 2014 under former Auburn head coach and Barnes mentor David Marsh.
Barnes, meanwhile, continued to add to his remarkable coaching resume in the summer of 2014, as he was part of a small contingent of U.S. coaches that mentored some of America's best swimmers (including Reaney) at the Mare Nostrum in Canet, France and Barcelona, Spain in June.
A strong 2012-13 season saw the Irish place a program-best 16th at the NCAA Championships by scoring 55 points, the second most in school history. Reaney continued stamping her mark in program annals, earning BIG EAST Most Outstanding Swimmer accolades, receiving two All-America and two honorable mention All-America certificates and turning in a world-class performance at the U.S. Open to lock up a spot on the 2013-14 U.S. Swimming National Team. In addition to Reaney, four other Irish performers combined to win six honorable mention All-America certificates and the Irish closed out their time in the BIG EAST with their third consecutive runner-up finish. For his efforts, Barnes earned BIG EAST Swimming Coach of the Year for the third time.
On the boards, senior Jenny Chiang made it a perfect 4-for-4 at the BIG EAST meet on the 3-meter board and also earned honorable mention All-America honors in the event to close out her remarkable career.
The 2011-12 season saw two student-athletes earn All-America honors, 10 receive all-BIG EAST accolades and eight secure a spot at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Highlighting the season were sophomore Kelly Ryan and the freshman Reaney. Ryan received seven all-BIG EAST scrolls, won four events (two individual and two relay), was named an All-American in the 200 back and swam three events at the Olympic Trials, while Reaney earned all-BIG EAST honors in seven events, won four BIG EAST championships (two individual and two relay), was named an honorable mention All-American in three events (100 and 200 breast, 200 IM) and competed in four events at the Olympic Trials, including a semifinal appearance in the 200 IM. Reaney also earned a spot in Sports Illustrated's Faces In The Crowd for the Jan. 16th edition.
Chiang also turned in an impressive year as she won the BIG EAST 3-meter crown for the third year in a row and advanced to the NCAA Championships in both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events, finishing 17th in the 1-meter, just one spot away from earning All-America honors.
In his first two years with the Irish in 2008-09 and 2009-10, Barnes helped secure the 14th and 15th consecutive BIG EAST titles. The streak is the longest in BIG EAST history regardless of sport. For his efforts, he earned BIG EAST Coach of the Year both seasons.
During those campaigns, the program brought home 18 championships (five relay and 13 individual) 13 second-place finishes (two relay and 11 individual) and nine third-place finishes (two relay and seven individual). All totaled, Irish student-athletes claimed 67 All-BIG EAST awards in 2009 and 2010.
During that time span, junior diver Natalie Stitt earned BIG EAST Most Outstanding Diver accolades in 2009 after winning the one and three-meter dives, while junior Samantha Maxwell claimed BIG EAST Most Outstanding Swimmer honors in 2010 after having a hand in four titles (100 and 200 breast, 200 and 400 medley relay).
Barnes also coached a pair of All-Americans in Maxwell and Amywren Miller during his first two years.
Maxwell earned All-America honors in the 100 breast and honorable mention in the 200 breast as a sophomore in 2009 and honorable mention in the 100 breast as a junior in 2010. Miller received All-America accolades as a junior in 2010 in the 50 free. Stitt advanced to nationals in 2009 in the one-meter dive. Despite claiming second at the 2011 BIG EAST Championships, thus ending Notre Dame's dominant streak, the Irish racked up the accolades, winning seven titles, two relay and five individual, and earning 29 All-BIG EAST scrolls.
Maxwell returned to the NCAA Championships in 2011, and was joined by sophomore Kim Holden, who competed in three events.
During the summer of 2011, five Notre Dame swimmers, including incoming freshman Bridget Casey, competed at the ConocoPhillips National Championships. For her efforts in the 200 fly, Casey earned a spot on the USA Swimming National Junior Team.
Before coming to Notre Dame, the Osceola, Ind., native helped guide both the Auburn men's and women's swimming and diving teams to NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2007. The men won the Southeastern Conference meet three times from 2006-08, while the women picked up a pair of league titles during that span. In 2008, Auburn's men placed fifth at the NCAA meet, with the women posting a runner-up performance.
Overall, Barnes helped mentor five Olympians - George Bovell, Cesar Cielo, McGill, Eric Shateau and Matt Targett - and 291 All-Americans in his three years as an assistant, including 11 individual and six relay titles between the two teams. In the SEC, the women produced 15 individual titles and eight relay titles during Barnes three seasons, while the men had 12 individual and relay titles.
Barnes spent three seasons (2002-05) as the assistant men's swimming coach at his alma mater, Indiana University. He helped coach the 2005 Hoosiers to their highest finish at the NCAA Championships since 1991 and their first 10-win dual meet season since 1985. In 2005, Indiana garnered 29 All-America honors, the most since 1976, and finished second at the Big Ten Conference Championships. In 2004, the Hoosiers had five All-Americans and finished 17th at the NCAA Men's Championships. Overall, Barnes helped tutor 93 All-Americans and seven Big Ten champions while with the Hoosiers.
Barnes was a highly accomplished swimmer during his career at Indiana from 1992-95. He was a two-time All-American and a five-time honorable mention All-American. His school record in the 400 Individual Medley stood for more than 15 years from 1992 until 2007. A two-time team most valuable swimmer, he served as team captain during his senior campaign.
The two-time Indiana Swimming Male Swimmer of the Year (1989, 1995) was also a member of the USA Swimming National Team in 1989 and 1992. Barnes was a U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier in 1992 and 1996.
A 1995 graduate of Indiana, Barnes earned a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and is a level-4 certified member of the American Swimming Coaches Association.
Following graduation, Barnes got into coaching with the local Michiana Marlins, a USA Swimming club team that practices in the Rolfs Aquatic Center on the campus of Notre Dame. He was the assistant coach for two seasons at the University of Kansas and the head coach of the Lawrence (Kan.) Aquahawks swim club from 1998-2002 before heading to his alma mater for three seasons.
Barnes, the father of Jack and Caroline, lives in South Bend.
THE BARNES FILE
Head Coach, University of Notre Dame, 2008-Present
2009, 2010, 2013 BIG EAST Swimming Coach of the Year
Assistant Coach, Auburn University, 2005-08
Assistant Coach, Indiana University, 2002-05
Assistant Coach, University of Kansas, 1997-98