Jessica Barnes was hired as the first assistant in program history for the inaugural 2010-2011 season. She brought a wealth of experience and expertise to the middle distance and distance groups of the Liberty Flames. Barnes is an excellent recruiter and she was huge part of recruiting the incoming class of 2011-12 that received mention from CollegeSwimming.com for deepening its talent pool with a large class.
She helped to guide the Liberty to win their first-ever CCSA title in 2014. The Lady Flames posted an impressive performance including 18 podium finishes, nine B cuts, one A cut, six CCSA records, six meet records and 16 program records at the conference championship meet. Liberty then went on to place 43rd at the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.
The 2012-13 year of the Lady Flames earned their second runner-up finish at the CCSA Championship. The Lady Flames earned their first national ranking in program history during the season, being ranked No. 37 in the Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com Top 25.
During Liberty’s second year as a program, the team achieved a second place finish at the 2012 CCSA meet. The Flame’s Brye Ravettine earned the 2012 CCSA Swimmer of the Year and Swimmer of the Meet honors. The Flames also earned their first All-America honor, as Ravettine placed 13th in the 50 free at the 2012 NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships.
On the national stage, Barnes has coached the Lady Flames to compete at the NCAA’s, USA Swimming Nationals, Winter Nationals, US Open, and Olympic Trials. Liberty’s Brye Ravettine, along with Bethany Wakeley, earned qualifying times for the 2011 USA Swimming National Championships. Ravettine along with, Laura Day, Natalie Beale, and Jess Reinhardt all competed in Olympic Trials during 2012. At the 2014 US Open, Emilie Kaufman and Day qualified for finals in the 100-meter breaststroke, with Kaufman taking 13th place overall. Quartet of Liberty Flames competed in the 400 medley relay at the 2014 Summer Nationals in Irvine, CA.
Barnes came to Liberty with coaching and recruiting experience from Rutgers University. She also coached at the State College Area School District in State College, PA, focusing primarily on the sprints.
Barnes earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Penn State in 2007, where she was a seven-time Dean’s List honoree. While coaching at Liberty, She completed a Master of Education – Teaching and Learning in Special Education degree in May 2012.
As an athlete, Barnes swam for four years at Penn State where she helped her team to win two Big Ten team titles. She was a two-time honorable mention All-American in the 800 freestyle relay, a two-time NCAA Academic All-American and a three-time Big Ten Academic all-conference member. She was also a Big Ten second team selection for the 800 freestyle relay in 2006, and won the Nittany Lion Award for Most Improved in 2007.