By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Christie Means spent the first day of her Christmas vacation at an Enid High swim practice at the Denny Price Family YMCA — and being grateful to do it.
McMeans thought her swim career may have been in jeopardy when she broke her index finger and thumb and sprained her wrist in a traffic accident last month.
“Practices are difficult and demanding, we put our work in,’’ said the Enid High senior, “but it’s rewarding. When you have that taken away from you for a short period of time, you see you can’t take anything in life for granted. You have to work for it.’’
The accident itself was “very terrifying’’ The other driver pulled out in front of McMeans and didn’t stop at a stop sign.
“I could see it and prepare for it, but I couldn’t do anything about it,’’ she said. “I tried to keep my head back so I wouldn’t get whiplash and protect everything that I could.’’
McMeans, at the time, thought she could miss the season. She was back by last week’s meet with Putnam City.
“I was praying to God that my hand would get better by the time it needed to,’’ McMeans said. “I was just happy to swim last week. The times weren’t what I was looking for, but it was something. I got back in the swing of things. Everything else will take care of itself.’’
McMeans’ times — 28.97 in the 50 free, her specialty, and 1:30.18 in the 100 — were respectful for someone who hadn’t been in the pool long.
‘Determined’ is the word that describes Christie,’’ said Enid coach Ginny Shipley. “She’s going to get faster and better because she is so dedicated.’’
McMeans kept up her endurance by running and keeping the faith.
“My parents told me to let God handle it and see what happens,’’ she said. “If it was meant to be, it will happen. That’s why I’m back in the water today. It’s different being back in the water. Right now, I’m just trying to keep up with my teammates and keeping my spot on the relay.’’
McMeans is projected to swim on the A-relay with Sara Nazari, Hunter McEachern and Destiny Turner once she’s 100 percent.
A year ago, she was 16th in the 50 free at the state meet and was on the 400 free relay which finished 16th as well.
“You feel a little more sense of urgency as a senior,’’ McMeans said. “You see how much you can push yourself to go. I’m trying to push myself to unexpected lengths to see if I can get back to my original times.’’
She is in a constant rush to keep up with a multiple of activities.
McMeans is a 4.0 student, sings in the EHS show choir, is the student council public relations officer and is active in the youth ministry at Emmanuel Baptist. She had three parts (camel, angel and market saleswoman) in Emmanuel’s recent Christmas pageant.
“I like being involved in everything,’’ McMeans said. “It’s just go, go, go all the time. It keeps me busy, and that’s good.’’
Swimming is a good release from life’s pressures.
“If I have any frustrations from tests or you’re worried or feeling anxiety, you can go to the water and make it better,’’ McMeans said. “My teammates are my backbone. They have always been there for me. When I had my wreck, it showed me how much a team we are and how much we are there for each other.’’
McMeans and fellow show choir members Michael Johnson and Destiny Turner even sing the national anthem before meets.
As the EHS student council public relations officer, she is responsible for making sure “to tell the public what we’re doing.’’ She handles the arrangements for dances and other activities.
“I think having responsibility like that makes you want to go harder in the water,’’ she said. “You put in the effort to what you want to receive. I can’t have senioritis this year.’’
She learned discipline from being in a military family. Her father, Chris, is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. Mom Ruthie is a financial accountant at Vance.
“My parents push me, they want me to succeed in everything that I do,’’ McMeans said. “School is the No. 1 priority, but my parents are very involved with my swimming.’’
Her father will work out with her and helps organize an outside workout schedule.
She has lived in Enid for five years and started swimming for EHS as a freshman. McMeans has lived in Japan, Spain, Germany, Washington state, Moore and Texas, where McMeans was born.
McMeans has been to all 50 states which is an education in itself.
“I definitely got to experience some things that some kids maybe never will or won’t get to,’’ McMeans said. “It was really cool ... but I have liked staying in one place for five years. You appreciate being able to experience your high school career with the same people.’’
She is close to the coaching staff ,saying, “working with them is a blessing ... they have put me in a good spot.’’
McMeans will be challenged, though, by swimming’s new format. Instead of state qualifying times, the state field will be determined by a regional meet.
“The state cuts always pushed you to make faster times if you wanted to go to the state level,’’ McMeans said. “You had to push yourself. Now, it comes down to one day and that’s kind of intimidating. When everything is reliant on one day, it makes you strive to do better and just try your hardest.’’
Enid’s swimmers will be returning to action Jan. 10 against Ponca City at the Denny Price Family YMCA Pool.