Barry began competitive swimming in the eighth grade under the wing of Ellis Mayers who was the director of the Pawtucket Boy’s Club. Introduced to training and competition he set a record in the 200 yard freestyle in the City Junior High School Championships while a ninth grader at Slater Junior High.

Barry went on to compete at Pawtucket West Senior High School (now Shea High School) where he was defeated only once in a dual meet in his three years of varsity competition. In 1967 and 1968, he won berths on the first team All-State Team in the 50 and 100 freestyle after winning the State Championship title in both events. He earned many victories at both the Rhode Island State Championship Meet and the Annual Brown Interscholastic Meet. His senior year, Barry had the fastest time in four events to qualify for first team All-State, but the rules limited him to only two events. He was named in the 100 and 200 yard freestyle. Upon graduation from Pawtucket West, Barry held numerous pool and school records in various events and remained undefeated in Interscholastic State Championship competition for three years.

At Springfield College, Barry was known by his teammates as a true team competitor. He earned many first place victories in the New England Championships and was named All-American in numerous events during his college career.  In 1971 Barry was named New England Intercollegiate Champion in the 50, 100, and the 400 freestyle relay.   In that same year he competed at the All-American College Division and placed 4th in the nation in the 50 freestyle and 5th in the nation in the 100 freestyle.  By 1972, Barry bettered his times and again competed in the All-American College Division placing 2nd and 3rd in the nation in the 50 and 100 freestyle, respectively. In 1973, he won the Robert Muir award as the Outstanding Collegiate Swimmer in New England and retired from college swimming as a 12 time All-American in the three years of competition at Springfield College.

It seems fitting that Barry went on to coach after graduating from college. He was the head coach of the Lock Haven State College, PA teams in 1974 and 1975.

He continued as head coach of the Bethany College, West VA team in 1978, 1979 and 1980.