Saint Thomas Academy's Barnes Named Finalist for National Coach of the Year Award in Swimming

News Date : 01/22/2018

Saint Thomas Academy's Barnes Named Finalist for National Coach of the Year Award in Swimming

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn., Jan. 22, 2018 – Saint Thomas Academy Swim and Dive Coach John Barnes has been named a finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association's (NHSACA) National Coach of the Year Award in swimming. Eight finalists from across the nation will be honored in 19 sports during the National Coach of the Year Awards Banquet on June 27, 2018.

“Coach Barnes has a gift for motivating his teams to achieve their very best. Everyone gives 110% for Coach Barnes -- and their teammates," said Bob Slater '77, director of athletics and activities for Saint Thomas Academy. "Under his leadership, our swim and dive program has become one of the premier programs in the state and country. I can think of no one more deserving to win National Coach of the Year honors.”

Barnes was nominated for this honor by Minnesota’s high school coaches’ association. This selection was based on longevity, service to high school athletics, honors, championship years and winning percentage. The nominees and finalists are evaluated by experts in the field of coaching using sport-specific rubrics to assign points in each category.

With 15 state titles, Barnes has won more state swimming titles than any other coach in Minnesota history. His dual meet record, 144-3-1, is one of the highest high school dual meet winning percentages. In his career, he has coached:

  • 8 Olympic-Trial Qualifiers
  • 15 National Qualifiers
  • 36 Junior National Qualifiers
  • 26 High School All-Americans
  • 2 World University Game Gold Medalists
  • 15 State Championship Teams - 14 at Saint Thomas Academy, 1 at Minnetonka High School
  • 2 National Age Group record relays (13-14 year-old boys)

He was named Minnesota High School Coach of the Year in 1996, 2014 and 2015.

The National High School Athletic Coaches Association is the oldest coaches’ association in the nation formed by coaches, for coaches, and has been recognizing national coaches of the year since 1978.

About Saint Thomas Academy
Founded in 1885, Saint Thomas Academy is an all-male, college preparatory, Catholic, military/leadership school committed to preparing young men to succeed in college and in life. The Academy challenges its students in grades 6-12, to excel academically, spiritually, morally and physically in and out of the classroom. It is fully accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS); a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Minnesota Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), and the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States (AMCSUS). For more information, please visit

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Media Contact: Amy Nugent, for Saint Thomas Academy, 651-450-9222 or

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