Janet Lyon-Huffman has been coaching and competing in swimming and water polo both within and outside of New Mexico for most of her life.
She was an elite level swimmer and player herself, and has coached swimmers and water polo players of all levels, from the beginner athlete to pre-olympic swimmers.
Lyon-Huffman grew up here in Albuquerque. She started swimming for the Coronado Aquatic Club, which no longer exists, when she was eight years old. When she reached high school age, her talents were already well-known. Albuquerque Academy awarded her a scholarship her so that she could attend their school and swim for their high school team. While in high school, Lyon-Huffman received multiple awards due to her swimming talents:
- Preparatory School All-American in the 50 freestyle in 1978, 1979 and 1980
- Preparatory School All-American in the 100 freestyle in 1978, 1979 and 1980
- Set the New Mexico High School State Record in the 50 freestyle (’78, ’79, ’80 not broken until 1993, 13 years later)
- Set the New Mexico High School State Record in the 100 freestyle (’78, ’79, ’80 no broken until 1991, 11 years later)
After high school, Lyon-Huffman told me she went to, “Brown University, I graduated in 4 years with BS in Neuroscience, a pre-med degree.” While at Brown she swam her freshman year. She was the All-Ivy Champion in the 100 freestyle in 1981, during her freshman year.
Lyon-Huffman began playing water polo with the Coronado Aquatic Club when she was 11 years old. She continued to play throughout her high school career.
When Lyon-Huffman began at Brown University, there was no water polo team. As a freshman, she began the women’s water polo team there. She was coach, captain and MVP all four years of college, from 1981 to 1984. All four years that she was on Brown’s water polo team, the team won the Ivy Championships. During her junior and senior years, 1983 and 1984, Lyon-Huffman also helped manage the men’s water polo team at Brown University.
As mentioned above, Lyon-Huffman coached water polo for Brown University, while she was a player. In 1985, after graduating from Brown University with her Neuroscience degree, she returned to New Mexico.
She was hired by her old coach, Reed Barntiz, to coach his age-group team for Duke City Aquatics. When asked why she began coaching, Lyon-Huffman answered, “I decided not to go to medical school. I was available.” She coached with Reed for several years before taking a break.
Years later, when her oldest child, Amanda, was getting ready to enter high school, Lyon-Huffman returned to Duke City Aquatics as head coach. That was in 2002. Since then, Lyon-Huffman has developed the water polo program at Duke City Aquatics. She has coached swimmers of all levels. In addition to holding the position of head coach of Duke City Aquatics, Lyon-Huffman has also held numerous other positions in New Mexico swimming.
- New Mexico High School Water Polo Coordinator (2008-present)
- Head coach of the Cibola High School swim team (current)
- Duke City Aquatics Team Representative (1995-1997, 2004-2008).
- New Mexico Swimming Planning Chair (2004-2008)
- New Mexico Swimming Admin Vice Chair (2008-2010)
- New Mexico Swimming General Chair (2010-present)
- Water Polo Mountain Zone Junior Olympic Coach for 14&U Girls (2010)
- Member of APS Swimming Advisory Committee (2010-present)
Janet Lyon-Huffman has been and continues to be a key player in both swimming and water polo in New Mexico. When I asked her if she still continued to play and compete, she answered, “occasionally.” However, her greatest influence has been in her coaching and administration positions in the state.
Lyon-Huffman was both my club and high school coach for all the years I swam year-round swimming. She also taught me all of what I know about water polo. She is an excellent coach who helped me through injuries, disappointments and triumphs during my swim career. And she has fulfilled this job for dozens of other swimmers throughout the state.