After one month of the swimming season, it’s safe to count Mater Dei’sChristian Hockenbury amongst the breakout performers.
The junior has raced consistently fast, helped the Monarchs capture the Capistrano Valley Relays and sealed his status Saturday by twice dueling Santa Margarita’s Grant Shoults at the California Catholic Challenge.
Hockenbury isn’t a year-round, club swimmer like many of his competitors, Monarchs coach Ken Dory said. He also didn’t reach the CIF-SS Division 1 finals last season.
But on Saturday, he posted an automatic Division 1 qualifying time in the 100-yard freestyle with a 46.47, almost two seconds faster than his Trinity League runner-up finish last May.
He also out-split Shoults in the 200 free relay with a 20.96 anchor.
“Naturally, he’s the best that I’ve (coached),” said Dory, who at Irvine had four-time Olympian Jason Lezak, a well-chronicled late-bloomer at the elite level.
“Christian is just that good. He’s just swimming off how good he is. … He’s just training for polo.”
Hockenbury’s under-the-radar status might end in water polo, too. He played on Mater Dei’s junior varsity team in the fall but is headed for the varsity, Monarchs coach Chris Segesman said Monday.
Please send swim news to Dan Albano at firstname.lastname@example.org