AUSTIN (KXAN) — Dakota Luther is not having your typical summer before senior year in high school. In June she finished second in the 200 butterfly at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, that was good enough to earn a spot in the World Championships. The Westlake High School student will be in Budapest Hungary. “It doesn’t matter how fast you swim or the times you go just take it all in, the experience is once in a lifetime ” said Luther. Last summer Luther competed in the Olympic trials where she finished in 17th place, a position that most would think swimmer who just finished their sophomore year in high school might be okay with, not Luther. “It still burns in my soul when I think about it. It’s still my lock screen it pushes me for sure. I don’t want to feel like that again.”
While great swimming is in Luther’s genes, her Mom is three-time 1996 Olympic medalist Whitney Hedgepeth. But the former Longhorn great is not the driving force behind her, “She wanted me to play volleyball,” said Luther. “Thank God I didn’t I’m too short for that but, .I think swimming was the place for me,”
Even after making the decision to swim, Hedgepeth who is The Masters coach at Longhorn Aquatics, while Luther swims for Austin Swim club, has not been her coach. “I want to be her mom, I don’t want to be her swim coach so if she has questions she’ll ask me otherwise we talk about guys, or movies, or books, said Hedgepeth.” Instead Luther is under the guidance of another Olympic great. Brendan Hansen is the head coach at Austin Swim Club, Hansen is a three-time Olympian with three gold’s, a silver and two bronze medals on his trophy case.
“Having been there and done that and Whitney the same I find that she doesn’t have to over-parent and I don’t have to over-coach,” said Hansen. “She is blazing her own trail and this is kind of one of those races that shows the tenacity of Dakota Luther.”
Following her senior year at Westlake, Luther is committed to swim at the University of Georgia, again showing that while surrounded by Longhorns, she will blaze her own trail.