By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Yankee Doodle might have to take a backseat to Enid swimmer Jeremy Crise as the All-American boy. He’s not only an Eagle Scout, he’s also an Air Force ROTC Cadet Commander, plays french horn in the Enid High School marching band and is a lifeguard at the YMCA.
He was spending his Christmas vacation at the Denny Price Family YMCA pool to try to knock off the 1.3 seconds he’s lacking for a state qualifying time in the 100-yard freestyle (25.25).
Yet, for all of his accomplishments, Crise says the state cut is the most challenging.
“It (Eagle Scout) took a lot of time, but that’s not as difficult as trying to discipline not only myself, but my body to get the state cut,’’ he said.
“I have the mindset that one day I’m going to get it. It’s one of the few things that I can say I’ve done on my own by myself, for myself.’’
Scouting and swimming have gone hand-in-hand for Crise. He was persuaded to join the Enid High swim team last year by fellow Eagle Scouts such as Parker Stambaugh, Colin Hutcheson, Brian Truman and Marty Ramseyer.
“All of us are focused on striving to do our best whatever we’re in,’’ Crise said. “From Boy Scouts, we learned to carry through until the end, and that’s what we’re going through here.’’
Those four and some Stillwater friends helped push Crites to get the 21 merit badges and service project to become an Eagle scout. They still help with Crise’s swimming.
“They were good mentors,’’ Crise said. “I still talk with them about how I can better my strokes. I have a tight group of friends.’’
He built a 100-by-200-foot dog park at Vance Air Force Base for his service project. That was a labor of love for him.
“I really like dogs and the people at Vance wanted a dog park for the citizens there so they wouldn’t have to go to Crosslin Park,’’ Crise said. “They can take their dogs off the leash and let them play with other dogs.’’
The park will be his legacy of sorts. Every time he goes back there, he sees at least three or four dog owners using it.
“It’s good to know it’s going to be there for a while, and people will be using it,’’ Crise said.
He is following a family tradition in ROTC. Older brother Daniel and sister Jessica were cadet commanders before him. His father, Kenneth, is retired from the Air Force and is a civilian employee at Vance.
“They pushed me not only to further myself, but those around me,’’ Crise said.’’
Growing up in a military family “wasn’t any different’’ from most of his friends, Crise said. But it did shape his character.
“It opened up so many more different things like discipline and character,’’ he said, “Growing up like I did, I learned don’t do this or do this.’’
Crise plans to attend the University of Oklahoma on a Navy ROTC scholarship. He wants to be a combat medic.
“I like helping people,’’ Crise said. “It’s so rewarding.’’
He saved a few swimmers last summer in his job at Splash Zone.
“It’s a fun job,’’ Crise said about being a lifeguard. “It takes a lot of mental focus. I just try to give it all I got.’’
His leadership is more by example than by words.
“It’s a lot easier for to them to see this guy (Crise) is doing it this way, and maybe I should be doing it like that,’’ Crise said. “If you show them how to do it, they can’t say he’s telling me what to do.’’
He is first and foremost, though, a take-charge guy.
“I really want to take charge and get after whatever we can to help people,’’ Crise said. “I have to make sure they know what to do, when to do it and how to do it so it can be done in a quick, but really basic manner. I try to push people in the right direction so they can figure it out from there.’’
That self-confidence can carry over into swimming.
“Swimming is about 80 percent mental,’’ Crise said. “A lot of it is getting your body to say this doesn’t hurt and the last 50 yards isn’t going to be that bad. If you push for a certain time, you usually can go even faster. A lot of it is believing in yourself, so others can believe in themselves.’’
Crise teamed with Stambaugh, Michael Johnson and Hutcheson to finish 11th in the 400-yard freestyle relay at state last year.
Crise, Johnson, Gabe Sanchez and Charles Laws have state cuts so far in the 200 free and 200 medley relays.
“I really want to get a state individual cut, this being my senior year,’’ Crise said. “It was real special going to state last year. It made me want to carry on my swim career.’’
He jokes about the difficulties of working out while school is out.
“I really wanted to come out here,’’ Crise said, “but it’s tough coming back from Christmas and all of those cookies.’’
His biggest moment as a senior was marching in Chicago’s Thanksgiving Parade with the Enid High marching band.
“It’s tough,’’ he said about his many obligations, “but we make it work. A lot of the coaches and directors are very understanding that I have a lot of stuff to do. We get through it.’’
Actually, band and swimming are good cross-trainers.
“Swimming helps with the physical aspect of band, and band helps with the discipline of swimming,’’ Crise said.
EHS swim coach Ginny Shipley praised Crise’s work ethic.
“He has a really good work ethic,’’ Shipley said. “I just wish we had three or four more like him.’’