McKenna Webster didn’t know how good of a diver she could be when she came to Sumner High School a few years ago.
That’s not something people would say to describe someone who has won back-to-back West Central District 3 diving titles — one at the Class 4A level and another at the 3A.
“It’s still all kind of new to me,” Webster, a senior, admitted.
She may be new to diving, but she’s a natural.
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Only three words came from the mouth of Webster’s coach as she stood back and watched her diver make a routine dive off the board and into Sumner’s pool last week.
“Isn’t that beautiful?” Sumner coach Dana Powers-Clark asked.
It wasn’t the best dive Webster has performed over her career, and it didn’t necessarily come close to the dives that helped her become a two-time district dive champion after claiming the 4A title with a score of 403.5 points on Oct. 29 at the Curtis Aquatic Center.
It was a normal dive on a routine day, but Powers-Clark couldn’t help but admire as Webster hit the pool in near perfect form, with hardly a splash or sound.
It’s still all kind of new to me.
“Sometimes you have to stand back and admire it,” Powers-Clark said.
It’s something Power-Clark has done over the years while watching Webster develop into a Division II-level diver; the senior will sign her commitment to Azusa Pacific University next week.
“I’m beyond excited,” said Webster, who has a 3.80 grade point average. “Azusa was my top school, and it was the first school I heard back from. It just all ended up working out.”
Her dives are often described as works of art, as she effortlessly twists and spins in the air, only to land with a perfect head-first entry that leaves little noise and even fewer splashes in the pool. It’s a sense of knowing herself — knowing what she is capable of — that has Sumner’s top diver ready for what the state meet has to offer this weekend.
“It’s just believing in myself,” said Webster. “Believing in myself and having confidence. If you believe you can do something, then you can probably end up doing it.”
But life wasn’t always this way for this Colorado transplant who came to Sumner only a few years ago.
Diving was fun for Webster, who was a gymnast most of her life, but when she came to Sumner something just connected with her.
Once you believe something, you want to make it happen. You don’t want to settle for anything less because you believe you can achieve it.
She felt connected with the board and the pool tucked away in the back of the school.
“Both my coaches, especially coach (Jay) Paulson, have helped me develop into the diver I am today,” Webster said. “He’s helped me learn different dives or techniques that helped me improve.”
It was easy to teach Webster the necessary tools to succeed, and once anything was explained to her, she ran with it and more.
“We’ve had a lot of talented divers come through here, but I don’t think anyone has had the potential that Kenna has shown,” Paulson said. “She’s been special to coach.”
This weekend will be Webster’s time to shine on the biggest stage of her career. Everything has been building for this once-raw talent, as she ready to show that the 4A state title is hers for the taking.
“Once you believe something, you want to make it happen,” Webster said. “You don’t want to settle for anything less because you believe you can achieve it.”