Former Penn State captain bringing experience to coaching staff
The Rutgers swimming and diving team enters the 2009-10 season with the familiar face of Chuck Warner as its head coach, but a new face joins him on the bench for his 12th year with the Scarlet Knights.
Over the off-season, Warner added Penn State graduate Jessica Barnes as an assistant coach.
Barnes brings with her experience from her time at Penn State, where she was an All-American Honorable Mention and team captain in her 2007 senior season as a Nittany Lion.
"I think my years as captain on the Penn State swim team have been beneficial," Barnes said. "We went through some situations where I had to take charge and these experiences have carried over into this coaching world. I'm able to share those experiences with the girls here on the team."
Warner knew going into the season that he needed to fill the vacant coaching spot and found Barnes during his assistant coach search.
"We opened up applications and we received interest from a lot of people," Warner said. "However, I spoke to people that I have much respect for of any up-and-coming coaches, and that is how I was referred to Jess."
After several phone conversations and a visit to campus, Warner introduced Barnes as the assistant coach.
Only a little over a month since Barnes' hiring, Warner is happy with her early efforts on the job.
"She brings a lot of things to the table on this staff," he said. "She has a very analytical mind and experience being around a high level of swimming. Also, she knows what it takes to win, along with being someone that can help our swimmers balance their athletic lives and their personal lives."
Although Barnes is now in a teaching position, she continues to learn from Warner.
"Coach Warner has been a great mentor to me and he does a great job teaching me new things," she said. "He is a well respected coach in the college swimming world. I knew that coming in and I was excited that I was going to be working with him. So far everything has gone great."
Barnes will help guide a team that overcame injuries from last season and is optimistic for the upcoming year with a team that Warner described as "deep in talent."
In addition to working alongside Warner, the Glenmoore, Pa., native is excited about the idea of being a part of this university.
"I absolutely love it," Barnes said. "I think this is a great opportunity. Rutgers has great academics along with a great athletic program, and all around it's just been a great experience for the first month."