The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 7, 2013

Lively Whitney Livesay among Enid’s swimmers bidding farewell in final home meet

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Senior Night against Piedmont at the Denny Price Family YMCA swim complex will be a little emotional tonight for Pacer senior swimmer Whitney Livesay.

She can look at the record board and see her name on all three relays. Livesay has won three gold medals and one silver in relay at state and has a seventh (100 butterfly, sophomore), two ninths (100 fly, junior and 200 IM, junior) and a 15th (200 IM, sophomore) in individual events.

“It’s going to be kind of exciting and kind of sad,’’ Livesay said about her final home meet. “It’s going to be really emotional.’’

Her favorite memories are the camaraderie she’s had with her teammates — the fun stuff they do on road trips, getting pizza after meets, going to movies and the chants they do before a meet.

“My teammates have been fun to be around,’’ she said. “I’m going to miss them dearly. We are our own little family.’’

The one common demeanor is “we are all a little weird, but I like it,’’ Livesay said with a smile.

“I think you have to be a little weird to be a swimmer,’’ Livesay said. “You’re by yourself and talking to yourself while you’re swimming, except when you come up for a break.’’

Weird in a good sort of way, though.

“Swimming is definitely not for everybody,’’ Livesay said. “You definitely have to be wanting to put forth the effort mentally, physically and emotionally. I like the individual part of swimming. You have something to work toward, but you have to succeed by yourself to help your teammates.’’

Which is what Livesay has done the past four years, EHS coach Ginny Shipley said.

“I’m really proud of the young lady she has become,’’ Shipley said. “She’s just a great kid.’’

Livesay is the model student-athlete. She plans to swim at either McMurry College in Abilene, Texas or Ashbury University in Wilmore, Ky. She plans to major in exercise science with the intention of going to medical school to become a trauma surgeon.

“I always enjoy watching the TV shows about health,’’ Livesay said. “I think it’s very interesting to learn about the human body and be able to help people at the same time.’’

The Pacers, unlike last year, have enough swimmers to qualify for the academic state championship.

“I really hope we can get that,’’ Livesay said. “We’re a studious bunch. We pay attention to school and get stuff done when we need to. That would make us look good as a team and as individuals.’’

Livesay, Hunter McEachern and Sara Nazari are three legs of the now school-record 200-yard medley relays (1:58.44), the 200 free relay (1:41.48) and the 400 free relay (3:42.31).

They hold the latter with Rebecca Pauly and the other two with Meagan Holthoff, now at Missouri State. They hope to team with Ashley Valdez to break the medley record either today or at the state meet next week. They are two-tenths of a second away.

The relay records had stood for more than 10 years until they were broken during Livesay’s sophomore year.

“It’s kind of cool to break a record that had stood for so long,’’ Livesay said. “I hope we can get another record and a high placing at state. That would make it a good year.’’

Livesay herself dreams of breaking Amanda Stevens’ record in the 100 butterfly (58.74) that has stood since 1995.

“That would be really cool,’’ she said.

Even if she doesn’t, Livesay will have no regrets.

“All the work has definitely been worth it,’’ she said. “I wouldn’t change any part of the last four years. I have loved every moment of it. There were some hard times, but they go away and the good ones come back.’’

She and her teammates established a special legacy not only with the school records, but a third-place and a fourth-place team finish at state.

“It’s exciting,’’ Livesay said. “It’s nice to know you accomplished something and the team is one of the best in the state. It’s nice to be recognized every now and then. It’s nice to look on the board and see your name.’’

Livesay will be swimming at the YMCA state meet for the YMCA Water Rockets in March and for the Water Rockets USSA team this summer before going to college. She enjoys helping with the younger members of the team.

“I’m excited to go on to a higher level of swimming,’’ she said.

Valdez, Alyssa Shearer and Jeremy Crise will be recognized on Senior Night as well.

“They are all great kids and good citizens,’’ Shipley said.