A year to remember for Dexter's Lily Witte
It’s probably an understatement to say it’s been quite a year for Dexter’s Lily Witte.
As a diver, she won her fourth Division 2 state championship in record-setting fashion (only the second diver in state history to do that), was a six-time Junior National Champion and signed her National Letter of Intent to compete in the pool and learn in the classroom at Indiana University.
Just to name a few.
The Sun Times News (STN) caught up with her in mid-December to take a look back at this eventful and busy year.
When STN connected with her, she was on her way home from the USA Diving Senior Nationals in Morgantown, West Virginia.
“I got home from World Championships, was able to go to school for about four days, and then headed back out of town for this meet,” she said. “I love diving, and I’m very humbled to have the opportunity to compete in these meets, but I’ve done a lot of big meets in a row, starting with USA Diving Regionals in April, the FINA World Grand Prix Canada Cup in June, USA Diving Zones in late June, USA Diving Jr. Nationals in late July, the US Open in August, then high school swim and dive season, the high school state meet in November, then three days later off for two weeks at Jr. Worlds, I was back in school four days and now a week at senior Nationals. I’m happy to be coming home for a while!”
This year’s state meet and championship was a big one for her and the Dexter team.
“I love competing for Dexter and I love being there with my teammates,” she said. “I am very proud of everyone on the team and all their accomplishments this season.”
She said she went to the state meet with the goal of trying to help Dexter by scoring as many points as she could in swimming and diving. Sometimes, she said, swimming affects her diving,“because the way the state meet is structured, the divers warm up while the swim meeting is occurring, which means I give up all that warm up time.”
Also, she said she swam all day, so she was not fresh when diving started.
“But overall, I knew that as long as I came in somewhere in the top 5 at diving, the extra points I earned by swimming the two relays and an event would benefit the team more than just a win in diving; so I chose to swim and dive,” she said. “Both our relays I swam in made it back to finals and scored points, and I was happy to be a part of it.”
Looking back, she said, “Getting to spend my senior season swimming and diving for Dexter with my friends has been special. I knew it would be tough to do high school and prep for World Championships at the end of the season, but I wanted to experience my senior season and both my high school and club coaches supported it. I started swimming with some of these girls when I was in elementary school, and I wanted to have one last season with the team.”
Besides the state meet, the other big highlights this past year included earning a spot on the World Championships team, being elected captain of the Team USA World Championship Team, and winning a medal for the U.S. team at the World Championships.
While putting in a lot of individual effort for these milestones, she also got some helpful support over the past year.
“I could not do what I do without the support of my teammates, coaches, family, teachers and friends. It can be challenging to balance everything, and they all help me keep it together.”
“Having the support of my teammates and coaches helps me stay motivated,” she said. “I really enjoy the sport of diving. I want to be the best diver I can be, and that keeps me motivated---as I have a ways to go yet.”
Looking ahead as to what’s next in 2023, she said she hasn’t had much of a chance to work on new dives as that was sacrificed when she decided to compete in high school swim/dive and prep for worlds simultaneously.
“There just wasn’t any time left to work on new things,” she said. “Now that the big meets are behind me for a while (until spring), I have a few new dives I’d like to try, and some skills I’d like to polish.”
I think it’s safe to say the Dexter community is excited and looking forward to seeing what’s next for her.