Barry Townsend, 2014 Inductee

Barry Townsend

Barry Townsend never entered a 50 yard swimming race he didn’t think he could win. Although he did not win them all, this competitive and positive attitude has remained constant throughout all of his academic, personal, and professional pursuits.

Barry earned his first national ranking at the age of ten, and went on to receive All-American Consideration and All-American Recognition three out of his four high school years. He is the second person to ever be a three year high school All American. The first was Mark Spitz. He broke the National 50 meter freestyle record for 15-17 year olds in 1969. In his senior year of high school, Barry broke the National High School Record in the 50-yard Freestyle as well as the Valley Section High School Record. This record lasted 15 years and has only been beaten on four separate occasions in 30 years. Also in his senior year, he anchored a medley relay team along with brother, Jeff Townsend, Robert McCowen and Barry McCowen, that received All-American Recognition as well. Barry was recognized as Kern County High School Athlete of the Year as a result of his football and swimming accomplishments.

After graduating from North High, Barry was awarded a full athletic scholarship to the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1970. During his tenure at UCLA, Barry was ranked in the top four swimmers in the nation each year and was a nine-event All-American Swimmer. He helped lead UCLA to the Pac 10 Championship in 1971, 1972, and 1973 earning All-American Honors in all four years in college. While at UCLA, Barry studied and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology and a post-graduate degree in Prosthetics and Orthotics.

After earning his degrees, Barry practiced prosthetics and orthotics for a short time in Los Angeles before moving back to his home town where he practiced for over 30 years. He opened Valley Institute of Prosthetics and Orthotics in 1980 with his brother Jeff, and, in 1982, became the sole owner and manager of the small business which still operates today at the hands of Barry’s son, Trevor. Helping patients conquer obstacles and achieve goals has been his passion from the start, which is why Barry started designing his own high-functioning prosthetics for the second business he create, BioQuest Prosthetics. During this endeavor, Barry applied for and was awarded nine prosthetic foot patents from the United States Patent.

Over the years, Barry has dedicated himself to his work, his community, and his family, including his wife Karen, his four children, and six grandchildren. He still resides in Bakersfield and is collaborating with his brother, Ernie, on a project again driven by ingenuity and creativity.