By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Hunter McEachern didn’t forget her swim roots after signing a Division I national letter of intent with the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Thursday at Enid High School.
The EHS senior thanked her parents and all of her coaches “for pushing me and encouraging me,’’ but personally singled out Kathi Black, her first coach with the Denny Price Family YMCA Water Rockets.
“I wouldn’t have made it this far without her,’’ McEachern said.
“This is very exciting,’’ Black said. “I’m so excited to be here ... Hunter was really good.’’
McEachern, part of three school record relays (200 medley, 200 free and 400 free), chose the Rebels over the Air Force Academy.
“They (AFA) were a great choice, but UNLV was the place for me,’’ she said. “It has amazing academics and amazing swimming. They were in tune with me. The coaches said it’s God first, then family, school and swimming ... that sealed it for me.’’
McEachern said she wants to be a doctor and was drawn to UNLV’s academic reputation.
“I talked with one of the doctors there and he said he would help me try to get into medical school,’’ McEachern said. “I’m excited about that.’’
UNLV is located on the Las Vegas strip, but McEachern said that doesn’t take away from academics.
“It’s a fun place to be,’’ she said. “It’s a really nice school.’’
UNLV qualified six women for the NCAA championships last spring under coach Jim Reitz.
“Qualifying for the NCAAs is a big deal there,’’ McEachern said.
McEachen said she was “relieved’’ to sign early.
“I can just concentrate on my grades and the rest of the swim season,’’ she said. “I won’t miss out on anything.’’
McEachern has had four firsts, four seconds, a third, two fifths and a sixth at her three state meets.
She has set a goal this season of going 23.4 or under in the 50 free, and 52.3 or faster in the 100 free. That would break the existing EHS school records.
“It’s going to take a lot of work, but I’m willing to put it in,’’ McEachern said. “I definitely need to get faster for college, so if I can get those times, it would put me in a good position.’’
EHS coach Ginny Shipley said McEachern’s signing is a major boost for the program.
“I think it shows the other kids if you work hard enough, you can do a lot of things,’’ Shipley said. “Hunter is a great athlete and a great young lady. I wish her all the best. I wish I had 10 more like her.’’