North Carolina 1A/2A Champ Will Barker Chooses UNC-Wilmington for 2021

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Backstroker Will Barker of the Beaufort Bluefins in North Carolina is staying in-state with a verbal commitment to UNC-Wilmington. Barker is a rising senior at Croatan High School.

I am beyond stoked to announce my verbal commitment to swim and study at UNC-Wilmington for the 2021-2022 school year and beyond. I would like to thank God, my parents & family, coaches, teammates and friends who have always supported me. Go Hawks!


  • 50 free – 20.92
  • 100 free – 45.56
  • 50 back – 23.05
  • 100 back – 49.03
  • 200 back – 1:49.19
  • 100 fly – 51.60

In an email to SwimSwam, Barker said that newly announced head coach Bobby Guntoro, former NC State associate head coach, was a big factor in his decision.

“I was looking around at many different schools to continue my academic and athletic career – even having a few official visits canceled due to the pandemic,” said Barker. “But when a coach like Bobby Guntoro calls you up and asks if you want to be part of a dream team, my search was over! Coach Guntoro’s passion, competitive nature and successful track record mirrored mine, so there was no question that I would become a UNC-Wilmington Seahawk.”

Barker, who swims and also plays lacrosse for Croatan High School, has won seven North Carolina 1A/2A state titles in swimming so far. Two of those titles were individual; in 2019, Barker won the 100 free (46.31) and took third in the 100 back (50.05) at the 1A/2A champs. In 2020, this past February, he won the 100 back (49.03) and finished runner-up in the 100 free (45.56). He was 23.05 leading off Croatan’s winning 200 medley relay and split a 20.47 anchoring their victorious 200 free relay.

The Seahawk men finished second at the 2020 Colonial Athletic Association Championships with 780 points, 93 behind champions William & Mary (873). They just graduated Will Countie, the defending conference champ in the 100 back (46.49). Countie also touched second at the conference meet in the 200 back (1:44.63) and was the Seahawks’ medley backstroker.

Almost every member of UNC-Wilmington’s backstroke group just graduated, though they do return rising junior Brent Hoshall (50.4/1:47.2). Last year, Barker would’ve been the next-best 100 backstroker behind Countie and the third-best 200 backstroker with Countie and Hoshall ahead.

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1 month ago

I would be beyond stoked as well dude…

1 month ago

Congrats Will, proud of you! UNCW is getting a winner!

1 month ago

Guntoro is working the in state recruiting

Reply to  Swimmin85
1 month ago

Glad he is – UNCW tuition is higher than most of the same size, and there’s a LOT of talent in NC. Tack on the need to be flexible as every hurricane/tropical storm causes damage to Wilmington, and NC swimmers know how to deal with it.

Reply to  Anonymous
1 month ago

Quick google search on tuition cost:

Drexel 54k
Northeastern 53k
W&M 46k
Towson 38k
Delaware 35k
UNCW 21k

Reply to  Swimmin85
1 month ago

This is out of state

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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