Penn State announced on Tuesday the hiring of Priscilla Barletta as a new assistant coach with the Nittany Lions’ men’s and women’s swimming & diving program. She comes to the team from 2 seasons at Army West Point, where late last week it was announced that the program and head coach Mickey Wender had agreed to part ways.
Penn State only had 3 paid assistants (Steve Barnes, Matt Hurts, and Josh Graham) and 1 volunteer assistant (Emily Lundstrom) listed last season, in addition to Director of Operations Phil Forrester. That means they had no paid female assistants last season, and they’ve added Barletta to the staff listing without dropping any assistants from the roster.
“We are excited and proud to announce that Priscilla Barletta will be joining our staff and the Penn State family,” said head coach Tim Murphy. “Her experience, presence and vision will have an immediate impact for our student-athletes and coaching staff.”
Barletta primarily coached the distance group at Army, and she also served as the program’s east coast recruiting lead, dryland training coordinator, assistant swim camp director and fulfilled a multitude of administrative roles.
Prior to Army, she spent the 2016-2017 season at UConn, where she worked mostly with sprinters and middle distance swimmers.
She began her coaching career as the head swim coach for the Crestview Club in New Providence, New Jersey, managing a swim team program for 150 children between the ages of 5-18. In 2013, she joined the staff at New Providence High School as the head swim coach, directing the program in practices, meets and conditioning. The New Jersey-native was tabbed as the 2016 Coach of the Year by the school. Additionally, she spent three years as the assistant swimming coach at Somerset Hills YMCA in Basking Ridge, N.J., assisting over 200 swimmers in competitive activities
As an athlete, she was a 4-year letterwinner from 2008 through 2012 at Division I Lehigh, where she broke the school record in the 200 free. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Lehigh in 2012 and a master’s degree in exercise science and physical education from Montclair State in 2016.
The Penn State women finished 9th out of 14 teams at last year’s Big Ten Championships, while the men were 7th out of 12 teams. The Penn State men scored 17 points at the NCAA Championships to finish tied for 29th – all of which came from senior diver Hector Garcia on the men’s 1-meter. The Penn State women scored 27 points and finished 27th – with all of their scoring coming from now-graduated distance swimmer Ally McHugh, who was 10th in the 400 IM (4:05.78) and was the national champion in the 1650 free (15:39.22). She has moved to Wisconsin to train with her former coach Eric Posegay.
In Barletta’s primary group, the distance group, Army had the 7th, 8th, and 9th place women’s finishers in the mile at last year’s Patriot League Championships; while the men did better including a 3rd-place finish from senior Tom Ottman in the men’s mile (15:15.87). Both Army teams finished 2nd behind rivals Navy at that meet.