The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 9, 2014

OCCC brings out best in Livesay again

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The Oklahoma City Community College pool still brings out the best in former Enid High swimmer Whitney Livesay.

Livesay swam on three state championship relays at OCCC her sophomore and junior years with the Pacers before the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association moved the state meet to a different site.

Livesay, now a freshman at Asbury University in Wymore, Ky., did herself proud this weekend at the NAIA national championships at OCCC.

She helped the Lady Eagles to two 11th-place finishes (200 medley and 400 medley relays) and one 12th-place (800 freestyle relays) by recording lifetime bests on all three of her cuts — a 2:07 in the 800 free, a 1:00.64 on the 400 medley (butterfly) and a 28.22 on the 200 medley (butterfly).

“It was amazing,’’ Livesay said about her return to the OCCC pool. “I loved every minute of it. It really feels good to get the personal bests.’’

Livesay grew as a swimmer in what she called a “learning year’’ as a freshman. She was able to cut her 100-yard butterfly time down from a 1:06 at the beginning of the season to  1:00.4.

“That’s a lot,’’ Livesay said. “I would say that was my biggest accomplishment. I’ve been trying to get one-minute since my senior year in high school.’’

She attributed the improvement to “hard work and self discipline.’’

That comes with having to get up for 5:30 a.m. workouts twice a week.

“It was difficult at first,’’ she said about adjusting to the demands of a college schedule, “but it paid off.’’

With the academic demands, she sometimes got only an hour or two of sleep some nights. That made it difficult academically and athletically.

“It’s a lot more demanding in college,’’ Livesay said. “It is a job. You’re in the pool for more than two hours a day. You just have to get used to it and set your priorities to where they need to be. It’s just very challenging mentally and physically. You just have to get up and practice ... your body eventually gets used to it. It’s certainly helped my discipline.’’

She said the discipline swimming taught her in high school paid off at Asbury. She struggled early “but things are beginning to fall in place’’ for her.

“I’ve made a lot of new friends here,’’ Livesay said. “I’m really glad I’m a part of this.’’

Livesay, a psychology major, said academics “were a lot harder’’ at Asbury. She had to learn self-discipline there since she is far from home.

“There’s nobody telling you have to get your homework done,’’ she said. “I did well.’’

The family-oriented Livesay conquered her homesickness by calling home quite often.

And it doesn’t hurt being able to see family by qualifying for the nationals in your home state.

“It was a lot more fun and a lot more exciting than I thought it would be,’’ Livesay said. “It was fun competing against people all over instead of just from Oklahoma.’’

It also inspired her for next year.

Livesay wants to qualify in some individual events and set some more personal records. She was the lone freshman on the relays.

“Just to make it was a good accomplishment,’’ she said. “I want to come back next year and work twice as hard and cut twice as much time. The good thing is I have a chance to do this three more years.’’

That’s not bad for Asbury either.



Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.