Dave Barney, one of the most decorated coaches in high school swimming history, has officially announced his retirement from coaching at the age of 89.
Barney has been the coach of the boy’s and girl’s swimming programs at Albuquerque Academy for 47-years. Over that span, his teams have won a total of 41 New Mexico State Championship titles, with the girls team most recently sweeping winning 4 straight titles from 2014-2020. In addition to winning over 260 individual and relay state titles, Barney’s athletes have combined for over 400 All-America awards, both academic and athletic.
“Numbers are what people like to talk about,” Barney said during an interview with the Albuquerque Journal regarding his retirement. “But they’re numbers. To me, (what’s most important) is the human interaction between a coach and an athlete, and that friendship extends long after kids graduate high school and go on to college. They’re in my heart.”
In July 2015, Barney became just the third swimming coach to be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations Hall of Fame. He has also been inducted into several other sporting institutions, including the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame, the University of New Mexico Athletic Hall of Honor, the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Several of Barney’s athletes have gone on to have considerable success at the collegiate level, including Texas A&M’s Anthony Kim, the U.S. Naval Academy’s Sara Vianco, and the University of Utah’s Gillian St. John. Barney also coached current ISL swimmer Anika Apostalon, who competes for the Toronto Titans, during her high school career. Apostalon is the current 100 freestyle and 50 freestyle national record holder for the Czech Republic. In addition, she was a standout athlete at USC, where she was named a 17-time All-American and won an NCAA National Championship as a member of the team’s 400 freestyle relay in 2016.