Swimming coach Barrett leaves school

By Alex Leichenger

Boys’ Swimming Head Coach Dawn Barrett will not return for her ninth season at the school this year. Barrett plans to take a “hiatus” from coaching to seek different professional options, Head of Athletics Audrius Barzdukas said. Barrett informed Barzdukas of her decision in late August before breaking the news to the team through e-mail.

“I have experienced eight incredibly rewarding years on the deck and have enjoyed working with each and every one of you,” Barrett wrote to the swimmers. “This was definitely not an easy decision to make, but after much consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided to pursue other opportunities which will allow me to progress professionally.”

Barrett won league titles in 2005 and 2006.

Barzdukas described Barrett as an “outstanding high-school swimming coach” whose strongest qualities were her organization, discipline, and “deep understanding of the school’s culture.”

“She is a winner,” Barzdukas said. “I have no doubt that whatever she goes on to, she will succeed in that endeavor.”

In last year’s CIF Finals, James McNamara ’10 broke a school record in the 100-yard butterfly under Barrett’s guidance.

The relay team of McNamara, Danny Fujinaka ’10, Max Eliot ’09, and Michael Hartwick ’09 set two other school records in the same meet.

“I give her 95 percent credit for everything I accomplished last year,” McNamara said. “I might not even swim this year now that she’s gone.”

McNamara added that Barrett was an integral member of the water polo coaching staff, assisting the team with conditioning among others.

She also developed many water polo players into successful swimmers, including McNamara himself.

“I’ve known her since I was very little,” McNamara said. “She got me into water polo, and then she got me into swimming, and she kind of held our team together. Now that she’s gone . . . I’m sure we’ll still be good, but she really cared about the team.”

“I think it’s just going to be weird to have someone come in and replace a very motherly figure whom everyone really liked,” swimmer Russell Madison ’10 said. “It’s going to be hard to adjust.”

Fujinaka cited Barrett’s ability to develop less experienced swimmers and her motivational skills as her most valuable assets.

“She was really tough on us, but she got the guys to work, and everybody loved that about her.”

The athletic department has not yet begun the search for Barrett’s successor. Barzdukas said there will not be a deadline set for hiring a new coach because his greatest concern is finding the right person.