Rockey, a junior YHS swimmer, medals at section championship

By Brian Wilkinson

Members of the Yosemite High swim team that qualified to compete in the CIF Central Section D-II Championships in Bakersfield May 12 and 13.
Members of the Yosemite High swim team that qualified to compete in the CIF Central Section D-II Championships in Bakersfield May 12 and 13. Submitted Photo

Junior Samantha Rockey ended the Yosemite High swim season May 13 with a fourth place finish in the 500 yard freestyle (5:41.15) at the CIF Central Section D-II Championship Meet at Bakersfield College.

Based on her personal best prelim time of 5:41.91 the day before, Rockey was the only Yosemite swimmer to qualify for the finals. She fell short by less than a second of breaking the school record (5:41.36) in the event, set in 2012 by Becky Kramer.

Rockey, who has also played on the Lady Badgers successful varsity volleyball team since her sophomore year, was pleased with her fourth place finish.

The home schooled Rockey congratulated the two swimmers in the lanes next to her after touching the wall before she looked up at the score board to see her place and time.

“It was a good way to end the year, although I was a little disappointed I just missed setting the school record, I was happy to place fourth in the Valley, ” Rockey said. “I gave all I could and it helped that my teammates were there rooting me on, and I’m thankful for God giving me the ability to bring Him glory.”

Rockey also swam the 100 breaststroke (27th in prelims - 1:18.91) and anchored two relay teams - the 200 free (24th in prelims - 1:56.20) with Elise Keeler, Kendra Tapia and Randi Johnson - and the 400 free relay (22nd in prelims - 4:19.51) with Kaily Neal, Tapia and Johnson.

Rockey is already looking forward to next season where she has a chance to set school records in the 500 free, 100 breaststroke, 100 free, 200 free, and the 200 IM, along with anchoring two relays teams.

“I hope to be fast enough next season to have my name on the record board at the pool for a long time,” Rockey said.

Johnson, just a sophomore, placed ninth in the consolation 500 free (5:54.39) and 14th in consolation 200 free (2:11.89).

Consolation finals

Consolation finals are for swimmers that finish between 9-16 in the prelims. They score team points but can not win a medal. Other Yosemite swimmers who participated in the consolation competition were as follows:

Owen Bassett placed 10th in the consolation competition of the 100 free (50.60) and finished in 11th place in the 50 free (23.32) finals.

Bassett also anchored Yosemite’s 200 free relay team that placed 14th (1:36.95) with Josh Johnson, Peter McLean, and Hunter Kahn.

Johnson, Kahn, McLean and Ethan McCully came in 23rd in the 200 medley relay (1:55.30). Kahn also placed 28th in the 100 free (53.96).

Hunter Duke placed 13th in the 500 free (5:24.42) and 22nd in the 200 free (2:00.29).

The youngest swimmer on the YHS team is 14-year-old freshman Josh Johnson, who is starting what will surly be an impressive high school career over the next three years.

In addition to being on two relay teams, the 6-foot-2, 165-pounder finished 17th in the IM prelims (2:15.07) and 19th in the prelims in the 100 backstroke prelims (1:01.89).

Overall, the Lady Badgers placed 21st in a field of 31 teams, while the boys team finished 23rd out of 35 teams. Madera High won the girls D-II championship and Kingsburg won the boy’s title.

Rockey said it has been an exciting season with both the girls and boys teams winning league titles. She took the time to thank Coach Brandon Brokaw and her club team Coach Tammy Kudela for helping her improve her times.

Head Coach Brandon Brokaw said it was another successful season for both the boys and girls teams. The boys team won its 12th consecutive league title and the girls shared the North Sequoia League title with Kerman. The Kerman girls team won the title last season, but prior to that the Lady Badgers won nine consecutive league championships.

“We’re all happy that we were able to win league championships with both teams for the first time in three years,” Brokaw said. “We will lose a lot of seniors this year but we have some talented underclassmen who should keep us strong next year.”