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

Her parents were really nervous for the 100-yard butterfly final.

How about you, Kaitlyn Witt?

"Yes!" the Lincoln Southwest junior said. "I get really nervous a lot of times at big meets, but that just helps me do better, usually."

Saturday's state swimming finals at the Devaney Sports Center included a unique family dynamic. 

Witt was swimming for Southwest, coached by her mother, Leigh Ann Fetter-Witt. Witt's biggest challenge in the butterfly was defending state champion Caroline Theil of Lincoln Pius X, coached by Witt's father, Mike.

Let's just say there was a lot of nervous energy surrounding the race.

"I think from the very get-go, before she even started swimming, I think I started breaking out in tears," Witt's mother said.

There were tears and hugs afterward, too. Witt got off to a fast start en route to winning in 54.77 seconds, a state record. Theil finished second in :55.45.

Fetter-Witt wiped away tears immediately after the finish. Moments later, the parents embraced. Mom and daughter then shared a long, tight hug at the medal podium, and then Kaitlyn Witt hugged her father.

For her dad, it was a win-win situation. He's close to both swimmers, coaching both at the club level. And of course, a win by Theil would have provided another big moment for Pius X.

"It was one of those where he wanted me to win, and he wanted Caroline to win," said Kaitlyn Witt, who also was part of the winning 200 medley relay team.

Mike Witt was able to enjoy the moment.

"It was awesome. It was one of those, watching that finish ..." said Mike Witt, holding back tears.

Kaitlyn Witt grabbed the top seed in the butterfly Friday by going :55.27. Swimming against her club teammate Saturday gave her that extra push.

"I knew I had to get after it, because I knew Caroline was going to be reeling me (in) there at the end," said Kaitln Witt, who also finished fourth in the 100 breaststroke. "I knew I had to use that first 50 and my turns to my advantage."

Kaitlyn Witt called the hug with her mom at the podium an "awesome moment."

"When Kaitlyn got the record and when they were hugging on the podium, it reminded me a lot of my dad (former Southwest coach Bob Calegan) hugging me on the podium, so it just brought a lot of memories back," senior Olivia Calegan said.

Lincoln East sophomore Marusha Ather finished third in the butterfly (:58.16).

Theil wins 200 IM gold: Theil swam to gold in the 200 individual medley in 2:01.63. It's her fourth state gold medal.

"Her fly, her back, I think she took it out great," Mike Witt said.

Pius X was disqualified in the opening relay, but still finished third in the team standings.

"They rebounded great," Mike Witt said. "The girls came together and fed off the excitement and they just got better and better throughout the day. You could just see it."

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

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Sports editor

Clark Grell is sports editor.

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