Barry Merrick, GB & Leamington Spa Head Coach 1937-2016

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of former Great Britain coach Barry Merrick, who also coached the successful Leamington Spa team in the former men’s National League.

Barry was 79, and lived and worked in Leamington all his life, playing for Leamington with the likes of Roger Hargreaves, Keith Tallet, Bob and Paul Jelfs, Jim Shekhdar, David Hunt, Colin Commander and John Staniland.

He took charge of GB in the early Seventies, travelling to Hungary to study coaching methods. A strong GB squad, including players such as Martyn Thomas, Graham Bernard, Roddy Jones, skipper Terry Benstead, Andy Lench, Phil Howden and Jim Shekhdar, narrowly failed to qualify for the 1972 Olympics at a tournament in Munich, but went on to compete in the World Championships in Belgrade.

By the mid-1970s, Barry had developed the Leamington team (which included a youthful David Edwards, still playing in BWPL for Cheltenham Spartans) into one of the strongest in the country. They won the ASA KO title in 1975 and the following year finished runners-up in the National League as well as competing in the LEN Trophy in Athens.

The Leamington club eventually folded due to the closure of their home pool but Barry maintained an active interest in water polo, helping to coach at Warwick School and being instrumental in founding the Warwick club, who are new to BWPL this season.

If anyone would like to contact his nephew and godson, Chris Hughes, re funeral arrangements, Chris can be contacted by email:

*With thanks to the BWPL for the above info

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