Barrington natives inducted into swim hall

Audrey Couto McClelland Trina Young Barton honored for their accomplishments

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Two of Barrington’s most accomplished swimmers, Audrey Couto McClelland and Trina Young Barton, were recently inducted into the Rhode Island Aquatic Hall of Fame during ceremonies at the Quidnessett Country Club. For these two great athletes, it was a dream come true.

Audrey Couto McClelland

Audrey McClelland was a consistent top finisher in New England Age Group swimming from the time she was eight years old. She started her competitive swimming at the East Providence Boys and Girls Club with Barry Fontaine and at age 10, began swimming for the Barrington YMCA for Bob Hassan. The skills and confidence she learned during those early years contributed to her successful swimming career.

During the summers of those years, representing Kendbrin Swim and Tennis Club, Audrey always finished in the top three of the Narragansett Swim League All-Pool Meets. Overall, she broke many records at EPBC, Barrington YMCA, and Kendbrin.

Her teenage years were also special. During that time, Audrey swam for Sandy Gorham at the East Bay Aquatic Club. Representing the 13- and 14-year-old age group, she was ranked first in the 100-yard breaststroke in New England. During the 1993-94 seasons, Audrey was nominated for RIMA Female Swimmer of the Year. In 1994, she broke the 100-yard breaststroke record, set in 1983 by Louise Gouin (107.27) with a time of 106.69. Audrey’s record was eventually broken 13 years later by Laura Sogar.

During the 1993-1994 seasons, Audrey won many freestyle and breaststroke titles in Rhode Island and New England. She also qualified for US Swimming Eastern Zone Meets and the National Junior Championships. She was a recipient of numerous RIMA and US Swimming New England awards. Audrey later joined the Bruin Swim Club and swam for Dan Flack. She continued her successful career at that club, again qualifying for Junior Nationals on two more occasions.

When she arrived at Barrington High School, she drew even greater acclaim.

She swam all four years at Barrington High and was the second female swimmer (the first was Meg Lammon of Cumberland) to be named first team Individual All-State four consecutive years (1993-1996). Audrey earned All-State honors in the 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard medley relay, and the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Co-captain of her high school team, Audrey set state records in the 100 freestyle (54.62) and 100 breaststroke (1:08.10). She was also a member of the record-breaking 200 medley relay (1:55.53). She was also named the outstanding female swimmer of the Bay View Invitational four consecutive years and set the 100-yard breaststroke meet record during her junior year.

Audrey also excelled academically. She was named to the Scholastic All-American team as selected by the U.S. Swimming Association in 1994 and 1995. In addition, she was a National Honor Society member and earned many scholastic awards for Journalism and Leadership. She was awarded the Dick Reynolds High School Sports Journalism Award in 1996.

Following her graduation from Barrington, Audrey enrolled at Brown University and graduated in 2000. She is married to Matthew McClelland, a Brown classmate, and they have five children.

“I’m so very honored to be inducted into the RI Aquatic Hall of Fame,” said Audrey. “Swimming was a huge part of my life growing up and it really shaped me into who I am today, so to be recognized 25-plus years later is just truly an honor.”

“When I look back to swimming,” she continued, “it’s such an individual sport — you spend countless hours by yourself swimming up and down a pool — you really get to know yourself. The dedication, devotion and determination that you need to bring into the sport of swimming, that level of going after goals and never giving up, has stuck with me throughout my entire life. I always say, ‘I’m the business woman I am today because of many of the lessons I learned from swimming.’ I set goals. I visualize them. I keep striving for something bigger. I learned that from swimming.”

She concluded, “I also have four sons that competitively swim now and I have a deep, deep appreciation for my parents. The hours on a pool deck is a huge commitment for the entire family. My husband and I are 100 percent swim mom and dad now. Seeing swimming now through the eyes of a parent really makes me see firsthand just how much time and love my parents dedicated to the sport, too. I also think it’s cool for my sons to see me accept this award, they never knew me as a swimmer… so when I give them tips on their strokes, hopefully they’ll believe what I’m saying.”

Trina Young Barton

An outstanding age-group swimmer, Trina competed for the Barrington YMCA, East Providence Boys and Girls Club, and the East Bay Aquatic Club. At the 1989 Boys and Girls Nationals in Sarasota, Fla., she was second for the meet’s high point award for the 11-12 year-old age group. She went on to win the 13-14 year-old age group 200-yard breaststroke the next year.

Trina was selected to swim for the United States Swimming (USS) New England Zone Team in 1990. In 1993 and 1994, she qualified for the USS Junior National Swimming Championships. At the 1994 Junior Nationals at the University of Michigan, Trina qualified for the 500, 1000, and 1650-yard freestyle events while swimming for East Bay Aquatic Club.

At Barrington High School, Trina began her career as a freshman by breaking school records in the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke. At the Bay View Invitational, she was the outstanding swimmer in her class all four years. She broke multiple records and earned several All-State honors throughout her high school career in the 100-yard breaststroke, 100, 200, and 500-yard freestyle events, the 200-yard medley relay, and the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Trina continued her swimming success at the collegiate level swimming for Cornell University. She achieved Cornell all-time top five times in the 200, 500, 1000, and 1650-yard freestyle events, as well as the 200-yard breaststroke and the 800-yard freestyle relay. A highlight of her swimming career was a first place finish in the 1,650 freestyle at the Eastern Women’s Championship in 1996 earning her the honor of fifth highest overall point scorer at Eastern’s that year.

In 1996 and 1997, Trina was the first place finisher of the annual Save the Bay. After graduation, she continued her involvement in swimming as a member of the New England Masters and as an assistant coach at the Barrington YMCA. She taught many youngsters to swim during her summers as a lifeguard and water safety instructor at the Kendbrin Swim and Tennis Club.

Trina was grateful to be a part of this very special Hall of Fame experience.

“Induction into the Hall of Fame is an honor I never imagined I would receive, especially in light of the significant accomplishments of previous inductees,” she said. “I am humbled to be among these great athletes, coaches, innovators, and mentors, whose dedication to aquatic endeavors in our little state have meant so much to so many.” 

Veteran Barrington swim coach Sandy Gorham praised the efforts and accomplishments of both of these great athletes.

“Audrey was an explosive sprinter and fierce competitor,” he said, “while Trina was more of a distance swimmer, who had a great talent level and work ethic. My assistant coach, Matt Connery, deserves a lot of the credit for helping these swimmers reach their potential.”

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