Making a Splash at Nationals

The Horizon Sun recognizes Kennah Burdette’s achievements in artistic swimming.


USA Artistic Swimming

Kennah Burdette continues to amaze everyone with her swimming skills.

Carsten Oyer and Kalyn McLeod

Since the age of four, sophomore Kennah Burdette has been involved in artistic swimming. April 12 through 16, Burdette attended the 2023 U.S. Junior/Senior Nationals. Following stellar performances in Oro Valley, Burdette made the Junior National Team, which is a massive honor and an incredible accomplishment.

At Nationals, Burdette had several performances in multiple different events. The five-day-long event featured the best of American artistic swimmers—including Burdette. Burdette represented her team, the Arizona Desert Dolphins, in the events of Senior Tech Duet, Senior Free Duet, Junior Tech Duet, and Junior Free Duet. Her team as a whole also performed in Junior Tech Team and Junior Free Team.

In Senior Tech Duet, Burdette and Luz Portilla-Villota came in first. In Senior Free Duet, Burdette and Portilla-Villota came in second. In Junior Tech Duet, she and Portilla-Villota came in fifth. In Junior Free Duet, Burdette came in eighth with fellow Horizon Honors student Natalie Smith. In both Junior Tech Team and in Junior Free Team, the Arizona Desert Dolphins came in third.

The Horizon Sun: How did you feel about your performance at Nationals?

Kennah Burdette: This year was the first competition with the new rule changes in artistic swimming, so it was definitely a different experience from years past. Overall, I am proud of our team for adapting with the new difficulty chart while still maintaining artistic elements within our routines. We learned lots of lessons, like how to craft our routines for next year, and how more specific training would benefit our routines. 

The Sun: What did it look like preparing to compete at Nationals?

KB: Leading up to our biggest meet of the season, we had to increase our training hours. Even some Saturdays we would train for eight plus hours. Before Nationals, we had a series of smaller meets to adjust to the competition atmosphere, one of the biggest being the West Zone Championship which contains the best teams in the country. Each of these meets helped us prepare for nationals by letting us adapt to the competition schedule that comes with it.

The Sun: What comes next for you on the Junior National Team?

KB: Within the Junior National Team, I get the opportunity to go to Barcelona, Spain for a training camp and be coached by some of the most elite coaches in the world. I’m excited to travel to a different country with some of my closest friends that also made the team.

The Sun: Is artistic swimming something you will continue beyond your high school career?

KB: Yes, I intend to continue my career after high school. 

The Sun: What makes artistic swimming special for you?

KB: I love the ability the sport gives me to grow mentally and physically. I also love the team aspect, having a group of committed people with the same goal gives a drive like no other to face the challenges training may bring.

Burdette’s achievements are incredible, and the Horizon Sun is proud to have her at Horizon Honors. Make sure and congratulate this amazing artistic swimmer on making the National Team!