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Liberty: Barnes promoted to on swimming & diving staff

LibertyLiberty head coach Jake Shellenberger has announced the promotion of Jessica Barnes from assistant coach to her current position as associate head coach.

Barnes has been instrumental in the success of the Liberty swimming & diving team, serving as an assistant coach since the team’s inaugural NCAA Division I season in 2010-11. Her recruiting and training have been recognized nationally by such outlets as

“Continuity in Division I Swimming & Diving is rare; authentic loyalty, rarer still,” Shellenberger said. “Here at Liberty, we’re fortunate to have a staff that is bought in and sold out for the vision and mission of this university. Jessica helped start our program from nothing some ten years ago, and her dedication to eternal impact in the lives of our women is invaluable. We would not be where we are today without her, and we’re excited about her future here at Liberty. The best is yet to come.”

During her time at Liberty, the Lady Flames have posted a 99-30 dual meet record. Additionally, Liberty has won two CCSA titles (2014, 2019) and posted six conference runner-up finishes (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018).

The Lady Flames hosted the 2019 CCSA Championships, scoring a meet-record 1,859.5 points while ousting four-time defending champion FGCU by nearly 200 points. It came five years to the day after Liberty’s first championship. This was the third straight year that a Liberty swimmer has been named Most Outstanding Freshman of the CCSA Meet. Liberty finished the meet with program record for both podium finishes (27) and event victories (10) at a CCSA Championship meet, and earned eight NCAA B cuts.

Barnes played a key role in building the Liberty program into one that has now had two NCAA scorers and has scored at six different USA Swimming sponsored national-level meets. Additionally, Liberty swimmers have competed at the last two U.S. Olympic Team Trials (2012, 2016) and Alicia Finnigan and Payton Keiner have already qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials. Barnes has worked closely with Finnigan and Keiner all throughout their careers as they excel at the highest level.

Barnes’ strong recruiting and training helped the Lady Flames win their first-ever CCSA title in 2014. During the 2014 conference meet, the Lady Flames recorded 18 podium finishes, nine B cuts, one A cut (200 medley relay), six CCSA records and six meet records at the conference championship meet.

Liberty’s Brye Ravettine (2012) and Alicia Finnigan (2018) were both named CCSA Women’s Swimmer of the Year. Meanwhile, Finnigan received the top academic award in NCAA swimming & diving, receiving the 2018 NCAA ELITE 90 Award for having the top GPA of any swimmer competing at the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship.