WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- The discussion of the most dominant distance freestyler in the 22-year history of the Eastern Connecticut State University women’s swimuming program begins and ends with Sarah A. (Barber) Grundfast ’08, who is the third announced 2018 inductee into the E-Club Athletic Hall of Fame, it has been confirmed by committee chair Scott Smith.
In the 500, 1000 and 1650 yard freestyle events in a four-year career between 2004 and 2008, Barber won eight NEISDA (New England Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving Association) Division II-III and four Little East Conference individual championships (plus one LEC title in the 400 individual medley).
Previously announced members of the Class of 2018 are Stephanie (Altman) Anderson ’01 and Jennifer A. (Butts) Hounshell ’01. Altman played lacrosse and Butts ran track & field and played volleyball.
The 25th E-Club Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception is scheduled for Saturday, October 20 at the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center. A 4 p.m. reception will precede the 5 p.m. ceremony. A buffet meal will be available following the ceremony. Tickets are priced at $50 and must be reserved in advance by contacting Scott Smith at 860-465-4326 or at email@example.com visit the Hall of Fame website at https://easternct.prestosports.com/Hall_of_Fame/index
Barber will become the second representative from the swim program to gain induction, following sprint freestyler and butterflyer and former assistant coach Amy Golas ’03 in 2014.
Barber’s current program records in the 500 (5:11.31), 1000 (10:39.00) and 1650 (17:50.80) were set in first-place finishes in the NEISDA in her freshman season and remain the program’s most enduring records (only two other current records were set before 2011). The winning time in the 1650 also established a Bentley College pool record.
As a freshman, the Meriden native and 2004 Maloney High School graduate broke program records a total of 20 times and was named Eastern’s Female Rookie-of-the-Year. That season, she also became the second Eastern swimmer to compete in the ECAC Open – qualifying in the 200, 500 and 1650 freestyle. In that meet at the University of Pittsburgh, Barber became the only Eastern swimmer to date to earn points in the meet with a 15th place finish as the 17th seed among 24 competitors in the 1650.
In all, Barber earned All-NEISDA recognition all four years in all three of the distance freestyle events, winning eight times and placing second on four other occasions.
Barber’s immediate accomplishments in the distance events as a freshman at Eastern are even more startling considering the fact that the maximum distance in high school meets is 500 yards.
In addition to leaving the program with all three distance freestyle records, Barber also graduated as the program record-holder in the 200 freestyle (1:59.23) and 200 IM (2:21.62) and 400 IM (4:54.86) and with the second-best time (2:19.71) in the 200 butterfly.
A four-time team MVP and two-year captain, Barber capped a celebrated career as a senior when she was presented with the Kay Fromer Award for having accumulated the most career points among swimmers that year in the NEISDA meet.
Barber holds a B.A. Degree in Graphic Design and is employed as a document fulfillment specialist at Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, IA. Sarah and husband Eric Grundfast – a 2009 Eastern graduate – reside in West Des Moines.