Webster leads Hall in and out of the pool
After winning all four races he competed in over the weekend in a quad-meet at Loyola, junior Kevin Webster was named the Big East Conference Male Swimmer of the Week.
Now a junior from Leawood, Kan., Webster has become one of the leaders of the team, recording 39 wins in his first two seasons. So far this year, he has 10 wins through the first four meets that the Hall has competed in.
However, swimming has not always been a major part in Webster’s life.
“I was never fully committed to swimming until my junior or senior year of high school,” Webster said. “That’s when I started to really enjoy it and work real hard at it.”
Now fully committed to swimming, Webster has changed the way he works at the sport.
“(Webster) has some of the best work ethic on the team,” head coach Ron Farina said. “He always asks for more after practice and does what it takes to be 100 percent ready.”
The work ethic for Webster at the Hall has proven effective as he has qualified for the Big East Championship meet each of his first two seasons. In those meets he placed second as a freshman in the 200 freestyle and placd sixth and ninth, as a sophomore, in the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley respectively.
The success Webster has earned along with his work ethic has made him one of the leaders of the team.
“He leads by example,” Farina said. “By the things he is capable of doing, he makes the other guys work harder and raises the completion and work ethic of the team.”
Even with coming close each of his first two years in the Big East Championship meet, Webster has his goals set high for this year and next.
“My major goal is to win the Big East Championship meet,” Webster said. “Qualifying for the NCAA Championship is right after that.”
Webster is on pace for his goal as he currently holds the top Big East time this season in the 100 backstroke at 49.43 seconds which ranks No.16 nationally.
If he does qualify for the NCAA Championship meet, he would become the first male swimmer from the Hall to earn the honor.
One of the unique things about Webster is the versatility that he has in the pool as shown by the records he has set.
In his sophomore season, he broke the Big East record in the 200 individual medley along with holding the Seton Hall record in the 100 backstroke, 200 freestyle and the 1000 freestyle during time at the Hall.
“I expect him to win wherever I put him,” Farina said. “It’s not every day you have a swimmer that has that kind of versatility and that you can have those expectations with.”
Those expectations were met by Webster in the meet at Loyola, as he competed individually in the 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke, and 200 individual medley, while being part of the Hall’s 200 medley relay.
This was not the first time that Webster has been named the Big East Swimmer of the Week. Last year, in a similar meet at Loyola, he also won the award after picking up three wins.
Webster acknowledges that even with all the awards and accolades he has accumulated over his swimming career, the best part of swimming for him are the friends he has made through the sport.
“I have made some of my best friends through swimming,” Webster said. “This sport builds bonds especially when you are working hard with the same people.”
The biggest thing for Webster when his time as a Pirate is over will be his hopeful impact on the program.
“I want to help take the program to new heights in the Big East,” Webster said. “Taking it to the next level would bring in better recruits and improve the overall quality of the program.”
Stephen Valenti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.