Canadian Olympic water polo player and swim coach Cliff Barry died on Saturday. He was 75 years old.
Barry was a member of the Canadian Olympic men’s water polo team at the 1972 and 1976 Olympic Games. Those were the team’s first two Olympic appearances, where they placed 16th and 9th, respectively, and were part of just four ever Olympic appearances for Canada.
After he retired from water polo, Barry became the coach at the Region of Waterloo Swim Club in Waterloo, Ontario. There, he coached two of Canada’s most famous swimmers: Victor Davis and Mike West.
At the 1984 Games, Barry guided Victor Davis to Olympic gold and a World Record in the 200m breaststroke and two silver medals in the 100 breaststroke and 4 x 100 medley relay.
At those same Olympics, Barry coached Canadian backstroker Mike West to a bronze medal in the 100m backstroke and a silver medal in the 4 x 100 medley relay.
Four years later, Cliff was hired as the head coach of the Pointe-Claire Swim Club. In 1988 at the Seoul Olympic Games, Barry coached Davis to another silver medal in a legendary 4 x 100 medley relay performance alongside Mark Tewksbury, Tom Ponting and Sandy Goss.
Barry also coached Paul Szekula at those same games as a member of the 4 x 200 freestyle relay.
“Cliff was loved by everyone and led by example,” his former athlete Justin Finney said upon his death. “Cliff brought greatness to the Pointe-Claire Swim Club when I was a young swimmer and created an incredible Senior National Squad led by Victor (Davis) including Taras Pawlowsky, Rick Cosgrove, Robert Pearson, Jennifer Hutchison, Chuck Meklensek, Stephanie Shewchuk, Marc Daoust, Jim Chapman, Melanie Rice and many more.”
Memorial arrangements have not yet been announced.