State swimming

Lincoln Southwest coach Leigh Ann Fetter-Witt awards her daughter Kaitlyn Witt a medal after the Silver Hawks' 200 medley relay victory Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center.

AMBER BAESLER, Journal Star

Kaitlyn Witt exhibited her potential during the 2016-17 prep swimming season, emerging as one of the state's top butterfly swimmers.

She capped the season by blazing her way to a gold medal in the 100-yard fly at the state meet.

A year from now, Witt will aim to fly at Kansas. The Lincoln Southwest senior committed to the Jayhawks on Sunday.

"I just absolutely love the team and the coaches," Witt said Tuesday. "And I knew that the coaching staff would be invested in me so I'd be able to reach my potential there, athletically and academically."

Witt visited Kansas earlier this month. She also took visits to Arizona in August and to Colorado State last weekend, and had interest in Houston.

Witt said she really liked Kansas and Arizona, but in the end, the Jayhawks were the right fit. She called KU coach Clark Campbell on Sunday afternoon to deliver the good news.

"He has brought in some really great girls, just athletically and personalitywise that I just really mesh with a lot," Witt said. "He just has a great track record of bringing in those girls and helping them improve a lot."

Witt said one her weekend hostesses on her visit to Lawrence, Kansas, was KU sophomore Elizabeth Amato-Hanner, who was a five-time state champion at Omaha Westside.

Witt's commitment was even more special for a family very involved in swimming. Witt's mother (Leigh Ann Fetter-Witt) and father (Mike Witt) are her club coaches at Greater Nebraska Swim Team. Leigh Ann, who also is Kaitlyn's high school coach at Southwest, was a four-time national champion in the 50-yard freestyle at the University of Texas, and she competed at the 1988 Summer Olympics. Mike is the head coach at Lincoln Pius X.

"It was definitely really cool, because my parents they were behind (me) the entire way through," said Witt, who is considering a major in engineering. "I could tell that once I made the decision, especially that I (chose) Kansas … they were just ecstatic."

Witt is the third Silver Hawk senior to commit to an NCAA Division I program. Three-time state champion Alana Palmer committed to Wisconsin during the summer, and Shelby Mullendore recently committed to San Jose State.

Witt said is was enjoyable to go through the recruiting process with her teammates.

"Oh, for sure," she said. "When Shelby committed, we were all super-excited for her, and then Alana (in the summer). It was really cool just kind of having their time being that extra support behind us."

In addition to the three Southwest seniors, Pius X's Caroline Theil is committed to Texas A&M, giving Lincoln four Division I swimming recruits in this recruiting cycle.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.

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Sports editor

Clark Grell is sports editor.

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