Madi Witt works way to Junior World Diving Championships

It's been a year filled with local and national recognition for Madi Witt. Now she'll be competing for international honors after she qualified for the Junior World Diving Championships Friday at the USA Junior National Championships.

Witt grabbed three sixth-place finishes in the platform, 1- and 3-Meter dives at Junior Nationals, and was selected to compete with the USA Junior National team at Worlds, which will take place in Adelaide, Australia Oct. 8-13, in the 3-Meter after her preliminary and final round scores were good for second place overall.

"[Advancing to Worlds] was definitely a goal for me going into this year, but I didn't really realize how intense my competition was," said Witt, who qualified for Nationals through several regional meets with her club squad, SoCal Diving in Fullerton. "I thought maybe in the next two years I could work a lot harder to try and make it."

Hitting that mark earlier than expected has put an exclamation point on a standout year for the incoming sophomore at Flintridge Prep, who took second in the 1-Meter at the CIF Southern Section Division II Swimming and Diving Championships in May and was, as a result, named an All-American by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Assn. on June 25.

"She's had a great year," SoCal Diving Coach Scott Reich said. "I thought she was good enough [to make the Junior National team] and she's a good competitor. It's just getting her to believe in herself under those circumstances. She did really well on all three events [at Nationals] but she can do even better. I have seen her dive better.

"I think she's a good natural athlete, but she's also got beautiful lines. She's got long legs with a great toe point and she's a really good competitor."

Reich said Witt has a good chance to make a splash in her international debut in October.

"I think this is a huge bonus for her," Reich said. "There's always a goal from day one in September, and goals aren't always obtainable but they're realistic. I thought [making the Junior National team] was a great goal for her. The World Championships are going to be incredibly tough. … I know there are things we can do in our training to get her even better. It's a consistency game, if she gets hot she could do tremendously."

The 15-year old Witt said being selected for the USA National team came as a "total shock" to her, as her performance on the 3-Meter was a bit of a roller coaster from the prelims to finals.

She finished the 3-Meter prelims in second place with 359.60 points and remained in second until one poor dive in the finals dropped her to sixth, which is where she finished with 354.40 points.

"I didn't think I was going to get it," said Witt, who didn't realize totals from prelims and finals were added up to determine national team members. By that count, Witt took second overall with a score of 714, which put her behind first-place finisher Eszter Pryor (767.35) and in front of Morgan Meixner (709.20). "Once I got it I was really excited."

Witt also took sixth in the 1-Meter and platform with marks of 310.15 and 315.55, respectively, in the final rounds.

Fresh off her national success, Witt said she hasn't even had a chance to consider what she wants to achieve at the Junior World Championships.

"I am not really sure yet because I have never been to an international meet," Witt said of her expectations. "It is still kind of settling in."

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