At 17, Luther is the same age her mother was in 1988, when Hedgepeth qualified for the United States Olympic team that competed in Seoul, South Korea. Hedgepeth finished eighth in the 200 individual medley. Eight years later, she won silver medals in the 100 and 200 backstrokes and a gold in the 4×100 medley relay at the Atlanta Games.
When Luther was younger, Hedgepeth tried to steer Dakota, the first of her three children — and her only daughter — clear of swimming. Hedgepeth said she thought her daughter would thank her later for delivering her from the unrelenting tedium of pool training. “I put her in all different sports,” Hedgepeth said with a laugh, “but inevitably she kept coming back to swimming.”
Hedgepeth, a former Texas standout, leads the Masters program at Longhorn Aquatics. Luther could have done far worse than being guided by her mother, who in 2013 was named the United States Masters Swimming Coach of the Year. But Hedgepeth has always left Luther’s swimming instruction to others.
“I think she wants me to find my own path,” said Luther, who began swimming when she was 6. “I’ve been around…