By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Whitney Livesay loved her four years swimming for Enid High School.
“I was very satisfied with my high school career,’’ Livesay said Wednesday at EHS in announcing her official signing with Asbury University (Ky.) “I had so much fun and I’m going to miss it terribly, but I’m ready to move on.’
Livesay chose Asbury, an NAIA school located in Wilmore, Ky., over McMurry University, based in Abilene, Texas. Her mother mentioned Asbury because a family friend went there.
“When I went to visit there, I fell in love with the school,’’ she said. “The team was really nice and I felt like it was my home for the next four years. I’m really excited. I can’t wait to start the next four years of my life.’’
She was sold by the friendliness of the school.
“Everyone smiled when I walked by,’’ Livesay said. “It made me feel that I was somewhere where I needed to be.’’
Both the Asbury women and men’s teams finished ninth at the national NAIA championships at the Oklahoma City Community College swim complex.
“My goal is going to make it to the NAIA nationals,’’ Livesay said. “My times are pretty comparable to the girls they have now.’’
OCCC holds a special place in her heart. It’s where she swam on two state champion 400-yard free teams (twice with Hunter McEachern and Sara Nazari and once with Megan Holthoff and Rebecca Pauly) and a 200-yard state champion relay as a sophomore with McEachern, Nazari and Holthoff.
Livesay teamed with Nazari, McEachern and Ashley Valdez to break the school 200-yard medley relay record in 1:56.51 this year, which was good for third at state.
“Those were a lot of fun,’’ she said about the gold medals and records. “To see my name on the record board is a really nice reminder of what I’ve done here. I would like to break some personal records and some team records there (Asbury). I’m starting a new part of my life. I like to see my name on their record board.’’
Livesay was ninth the last two years at state in the 200 IM and was 15th as a sophomore. She was a three-time placer in the 100 butterfly — seventh, sophomore; ninth, junior; and 14th, senior.
She will swim the 100 fly and 200 IM at college and maybe the 200 fly and 400 IM.
“I’m going to be swimming the same strokes that I swam in high school,’’ Livesay said. “The practices will be harder and there will be more practice, but it’s going to be a lot more fun.’’
The biggest adjustment for her will be living so far away from home. She has four younger siblings — two brothers and two sisters.
“I’m used to having six or seven people around me all the time,’’ Livesay said. “I’m going to have to learn to do things on my own. It can be hard at times to have that many siblings, but I enjoyed it. I’m definitely going to miss it.’’
Wilmore is located just outside Lexington, the home of the University of Kentucky.
“It’s kind of scary, but I’ll enjoy it,’’ Livesay said. “I like traveling. We’ll see how it goes.’’
She plans to major in exercise science with the eventual goal of being a trauma surgeon. Asbury, she said, has a good reputation for preparing students for medical school.
“I really enjoy helping people and learning about the human body, so why not put the two together?’’ Livesay said. “I really enjoy medical shows on TV.’’
Livesay plans to continue swimming this summer for the Denny Price Family YMCA Water Rockets.
She will compete in both YMCA and USA Swim-ming events.
She received the Pacer Spirit Award at the team’s awards banquet last month. She was one of two seniors (along with Valdez) to have swam for four years, the entire tenure of EHS coach Ginny Shipley.
“She’s just an awesome kid,’’ Shipley said. “She’s been a big part of our swim program. She was the kind of kid that you could put in any event and know she would do a good job ... I’m going to miss her work ethic. It’s going to be hard for next year because I’m not used to coaching swimming without them.’’