Finishing the season as a top scorer at nationals, sophomore Marisa Barton is bound to be an instrumental part of next year’s UT swim team. “Marisa Barton is one of the most determined, strong-willed and hard working individuals on the UT Women’s Swim Team. She gives her best at every practice and is a great person to train with…Women’s team captain may be in her future,” said junior men’s team swimmer Jordan Augier.
Barton started taking swim lessons at age 10. When her swim instructor told her parents she had potential to excel in the sport, they looked into furthering her swim career. “I was not great my first season, but I made such great friends that I wanted to keep doing it. I kept improving and it became more and more fun,” Barton said.
One memorable moment of swimming in high school was a fun handshake she made with a fellow teammate who swam the same events as her. “It got us so pumped up to race. I got to race her at NCAA’s, so we got to do our handshake again,” Barton said.
Barton decided on UT when a fellow high school swimmer, Kelsey Hoxie, chose the school herself. “I came down on a recruiting trip. I fell in love with the school as soon as I saw it. I had such a great host, Lexi Webb, who gave up her weekend before finals to host me; which I was very grateful for,” Barton said.
Her decision was widely based on the Spartan’s renowned coaching staff. “When I met the head coach, Ed Brennan, I knew I wanted to come here. He is so intelligent and funny, and I owe a lot of my success to him,” Barton said.
During her freshman year as a Spartan, she was awarded Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Swimmer of the Week and achieved SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll. “Marisa Barton plays a vital role on the women’s swim team. She is such a hard worker both in the pool and in the weight room and pushes the other women to perform to the best of their abilities,” said junior Jeremy Parker.
Barton’s teammates and coaches both notice her drive to do whatever is necessary for the Spartans to win. “Marisa leads by her example. She will race until she drops. Sometimes I have to tell her to ease up for fear she’ll be so broken down,” Brennan said.
Her significance to the team comes from her love and dedication to them. “My favorite part of being on this team is the sense of pride I get every time I put my Tampa cap on. I feel so blessed that I get to train everyday with my amazing teammates who will push me to be my best,” Barton said.
After two successful seasons at UT, Barton’s favorite memory was getting to walk up to the blocks at this year’s NCAAs holding hands with her fellow relay team. “Some of the other men’s relays starting holding hands, so we definitely started a trend,” Barton said.
Barton’s main goal for next season is to win conference with the women’s team, which last won in 2014. “We’re returning some incredible swimmers such as Britt Bayes, Amanda Nielsen-Fernandes, Noel Styer and Sophie Long, so we’re hoping to be on top again next year,” Barton said.
Barton credits the Spartan’s success in swimming to the coaches and faculty. “We have an incredible coaching staff to push us and prepare us well for competition,” Barton said. Weight coaches Drew Ellwanger and Jett Henderson also had an influential part of the team’s success this past year. “They did an amazing job working with us and preparing us for competition this year,” Barton said.
When not swimming, Barton has taken up running this off-season. She ran track in high school and is training for a Muddy Buddy run while back home in July. After graduating from UT, she plans go to graduate school and become a physical therapist.
Erin Townsend can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org