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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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