May 9, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio– Linda Lichter-Witter announced her retirement as head coach of the Ohio State synchronized swimming team Wednesday. Lichter-Witter, an eight-time United States Synchronized Swimming Coach of the Year honoree, coached the Buckeyes for 17 seasons.
“I am looking forward to spending time with my family and being a grandmother,” Lichter-Witter said. “It will be nice not waking up at 5 a.m. anymore, but I definitely look forward to watching this program continue its success. I want to thank our administrators Miechelle Willis, T.J. Shelton, Heather Lyke and of course Gene Smith for all their support over the years.”
In almost a decade as the head coach of the Scarlet and Gray, Lichter-Witter recorded a 671-18 record for a .974 win percentage. During that span, she guided Ohio State to 11 U.S. Collegiate national titles and two U.S. Senior national championships. From 2000-2004, Lichter-Witter and the Buckeyes won five consecutive U.S. titles and Ohio State captured its fourth-consecutive U.S. Collegiate title this past March. Of the 11 U.S. Collegiate championships won under Lichter-Witter, eight were the culmination of an undefeated season, including a 40-0 record in 2012.
Additionally, Lichter-Witter coached 11 U.S. Collegiate team routine champions, as well as six solo, 10 duet and 12 trio champions at the prestigious event. In all, Lichter-Witter mentored 125 Collegiate All-Americans.
In 2010, then-senior Barbara Nesbitt became just the second Buckeye in program history to win a U.S. Senior national title as a solo champion and this past March, Lichter-Witter coached another solo champion at the competition in Yuliya Maryanko.
Four student-athletes who swam under the guidance of Lichter-Witter are members of the Ohio State University Athletics Hall of Fame in Emily Marsh (Class of 2003), Becky Jasontek (Class of 2003) and Carolina and Isabela Moraes (Class of 2008). The Moraes twins became the first pair in championship history to win the duet title at nationals all four years and teamed with Mary Hofer to win the gold medal in the trio event all four years during the 1999-2002 seasons.
Thirteen Buckeyes have been named Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor finalists during Lichter-Witter’s tenure. The honor is presented to a student-athlete in the graduating class who has attained the greatest proficiency in both academics and athletics. Gina Pietras and Victoria Bowen won the honor in 1997 and 2003, respectively.
Additionally, nine swimmers have earned postgraduate scholarships from either the Leann Grimes Davidge or Corwin A. Fergus Memorial Awards. Furthermore, 135 Buckeyes have earned Academic All-Big Ten distinction.
Lichter-Witter has been a prominent fixture on the U.S National Team as well. She served as the head coach of the 2009 U.S. National Team that competed at the FINA World Championships in Rome during the summer of 2009. Lichter-Witter also was the head coach of the 1996 U.S. National Team I squad. Along with those stints, Lichter-Witter has been an important assistant of various national teams, including the 2004 U.S. Olympic squad that won the bronze medal in the duet and team events in Athens, Greece. Prior to that, Lichter-Witter was an assistant at the 2003 and 1978 Pan American games.
Lichter-Witter began her coaching career in 1970 with the Hamden Heronettes in Connecticut before heading to Yale University where she led the swimming team from 1981-83. Lichter-Witter moved on to Arizona where she coached the Aqua Stars from 1983-85.
The Bronx, N.Y., native attended West Chester East High School before earning her bachelor’s degree in physical education from Southern Connecticut State in 1972. At Southern Connecticut, Lichter-Witter was a member of the swimming and synchronized swimming teams.
Lichter-Witter is married to Dirk Witter and they have four sons, Neil, Eric, D.J. and Kyle and a daughter, Allison.
Ohio State Synchronized Swimming
U.S. Collegiate National Titles (11 total)
United State Synchronized Swimming Coach of the Year (8 total)
1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2012
By the Numbers
• 125 U.S. Collegiate All-Americans
• 135 Academic All-Big Ten selections
• 13 Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor finalists; 2 winners in Gina Pietras in 1997 and Victoria Bowen in 2003
• 11 U.S. Collegiate titles
• 4 Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame inductees
• 2 U.S. Senior National titles