Jurupa Valley’s Nicholas Barba Swims On

Despite being the River Valley League’s fastest swimmer each of the last two seasons, Jurupa Valley High senior Nicholas ‘Nick’ Barba saw his performances ebb aside the weight of outside-the-pool frustrations.

But with a great new coach (Cindy Robinson), his college commitment (UC Santa Barbara) and a new personal best (49.14 seconds in the 100 free) recently removing all the big burdens, Barba is feeling the flow.

“Last year was very frustrating but I don’t want to make excuses,” said Barba, a freestyle specialist and automatic qualifier in four upcoming CIF-Southern Section finals events. “I want to make the most of my last season (and) the motivation is definitely there.”

Barba was River Valley League MVP as a sophomore, posting a 22.63 in the 50 free and a 50.35 in the 100 free at the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 Finals.

“It’s pretty crazy — my sophomore year I achieved my fastest time and then last year I was stagnant,” Barba said. “I couldn’t even hit the times I hit my sophomore year.”

He entered his junior season with increased expectations but also an increased academic workload. Intent on attending University of California, Barba spent more time studying than swimming.

“Junior year hits and you start to get more overwhelmed with school, the year gets tougher and as an athlete you start to just gray out. It gets hard. You lose sight of your goals,” he said. “I was very academically involved, just busy so other things become less of a priority.”

Also, Barba said the coaching situation at Jurupa Valley last season affected him personally.

“The coaching was not 100 percent, was kind of not 100 percent committed to our team,” he said.

Still 10th fastest in the 50 free (22.76) and 13th best in the 100 free (50.59) at last season’s CIF-SS Division 4 Finals, he received a second consecutive league MVP honor.

“I probably didn’t train as hard as I should have because I felt like I didn’t really need to. That plus the lack of mentorship, encouragement, lack of motivation — all those factors – they really play a part in your mental game, and swimming is all mental,” Barba said.

Current Jurupa Valley coach Cindy Robinson said Barba has stepped up to her often intensive coaching methods.

“He’s been dealing with the frustration of working hard and not seeing improvement, and now it’s finally paying off,” Robinson said.

Early Thursday, April 7, Barba told his new coach that he was suffering from a head cold and wasn’t feeling well. He says she become even more impassioned that usual.

“I tell her I’m feeling sick, I think I’m going to have a horrible race, and she tells me, ‘Just go out there and have no mercy. Just kill it,’” Barba said. “Having that in my head determined how I performed.”

He set a new PR in the 100 later that day, which he’s since surpassed.

“(Robinson) thinks I can achieve everything, and having that coach there really helps,” Barba said.

The 2016 Division 4 Finals are Friday, May 13, 2016. Barba is seeded No. 2 in the 50 (21.82) and No. 4 in the 100 (49.14).

Jurupa Valley senior Nicholas 'Nick' Barba was the 2014-'15 River Valley League Swimmer of the Year.

Jurupa Valley senior Nicholas ‘Nick’ Barba was the 2014-’15 River Valley League Swimmer of the Year.

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One Response to “Jurupa Valley’s Nicholas Barba Swims On”
  1. Cindy Robinson says:

    Just to update — Nick went a 48 in his 100 free at CIF despite recovering from a nasty infection and being on antibiotics. He also led off on medley relay team to a third place finish — the team dropping almost five seconds. First time he swam backstroke! And he anchored our 4 x 50 free relay team to a season best and won consols — which finished sixth place overall!

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