Friday, January 21, 2000

Ursuline's Myers rising star in freestyle




BY DAVE SCHUTTE
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Burnout set in on Whitney Myers at only age 10. Swimming practice suddenly was the most dreaded activity of the day.

                Today Myers, a freshman at Ursuline and resident of Oxford, has resurfaced as one of Cincinnati's best freestyle swimmers and a potential Olympic qualifier.

       ''My parents forced me to attend practices in Hamilton when I was younger,'' Myers said. ''I hated the 30-minute drive and I decided to quit when I was in the fifth grade.''

       When Chris Black started the Miami Valley Aquatic Club in Oxford 31/2 years ago, Myers decided to try competitive swimming again despite the year layoff.

       ''Her stroke mechanics were sound and technically she was a very workable swimmer," Black said. ''She was so effortless swimming and I knew in three or four years, this girl would be one of the top swimmers in the state and country.''

       While competing in the U.S. Open in December, Myers swam the 200 freestyle (long course) in 2:04.79, qualifying her for the Olympic Trials in August.

       ''This was a big thrill,'' Myers said. ''I'd like to make the (Olympic) team but I have a lot of work to do. Realistically, I'll have to take at least four seconds off to have a chance.''

       Myers' best stroke is the freestyle, but she's proficient in butterfly, breaststroke and backstroke as well, Ursuline coach Tim Beerman said.

       ''She's very efficient in the freestyle but can swim any of the strokes. I sometimes kid her about entering the diving,'' Beerman said.

       She also benefits the team in other ways, Beerman said.

       ''Whitney has an outgoing personality and is very high spirited,'' Beerman said. ''The other girls appreciate this spirit as much as her talent.''

       In addition to swimming, Myers also has remained involved with a dance club in Hamilton.

       ''I cut swimming short on Monday to practice with the dance team,'' Myers said. ''I teach the younger dancers several hours before practicing.

       ''Dancing is a change of pace. It's something that will keep me from having another swimming burnout.

       Myers first started swimming when she was 4.

        ''My two brothers (Travis and Lindsey) were divers and I always attended the meets,'' Myers said.



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