Fulfilling a family legacy, one gold medal at a time - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Fulfilling a family legacy, one gold medal at a time

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Kyjana Webber discusses swimming strategy with her mother Tanja Webber. Kyjana Webber discusses swimming strategy with her mother Tanja Webber.
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

It was a 52 second swim for the ages. Fourteen-year-old Kyjana Webber swam her fastest time ever in the 100-yard freestyle, earning her a gold medal and setting a state record.

"Everyone surrounded my block and congratulated me," said Kyjana.

Her coaches said it was an even bigger day for Harrison Central High School.

"It was the first time we've had anyone on the podium for the swim team and so she's making history for the school," said head coach Chris Dry.

Now that she's achieved that goal, she said she's ready to move toward her next one.

"I want to go to the Olympics," said Kyjana.

She recognizes the commitment it will take to get there, but she has a strong driving force.

"My mom has always been my role model and she always will be," said Kyjana.

Her mother Tanja Webber was on the Austrian Olympic swim team and qualified to swim at the Olympic games in Moscow in 1980. She had to drop out last minute because her father passed away.

"She wants to go so far and she said, 'I want to do it for you,'" said Tanja Webber.

They're a dynamite duo, led by a loving mother who often reminisces about her daughter's accomplishments in the pool.

"One day she just came up and said, 'Mom, I just want to swim,'" said Tanja Webber.

This loving spirit is also Kyjana's biggest critic.

"She's slow on the start, her turns are not perfect. Stroke wise, she looks great. She just has to be stronger," said Tonja Webber.

As Kyjana glides through the pool at swim practice, she's pushing herself to meet every goal she's set.

One of those goals is an eventual berth on the U.S. Olympics team. Her coaches believe Kyjana has the heart to fulfill that dream.

"My opinion of a champion is to be never satisfied where you're at, and I think she has that," said assistant coach Jim Vierling.

Kyjana said she has one person to thank for making her that champion: her mother.

"I love her a lot! I just want to thank her for pushing me so hard," said Kyjana.

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