The day started and ended well for locals in the preliminary heats at the two-day Central Section Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday at Clovis West in Fresno.

The Liberty girls relay team of Payton Lewis, Eliana Klubnikin, Emma McMurray and Slaytynn Simpson swam the second-fasted time in the prelims of the 200-yard medley relay in the first event of the day in 1 minute, 47.21 seconds, less than one second behind leader Clovis North.

The Patriots 200 free relay team of Lewis, McMurray, Simpson and Joselle Sortijas also posted the second-fasted time in the 200 free relay in 1:38.93, just .11 of a second behind Clovis-Buchanan.

Simpson also posted the fourth-best time in the 100 butterfly (57.53), just ahead McMurray (58.29). Simpson also had the sixth-fastest time in the 50 free (24.59).

Liberty junior Sydney Yasukochi, who was out-of-state last weekend at the league championships, is seeded third in the finals in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:05.44 on Friday.

Independence freshman Paige Taber made a big impression in her first section meet with two third-place finishes in the prelims.

Taber set a personal-best in the 100 freestyle in 51.86, 1.34 seconds better than her previous best. Taber came back and also posted the third-fastest time in the 100 backstroke in 57.72, again a personal-best.

Bakersfield Christian senior Nathan Roodzant had the fourth-best time in the boys 100 back (52.93) an eighth-place mark in the 200 individual medley (1:56.52) while Centennial senior Alex Castro is seeded fifth in the finals in the 50 free (21.26).

The finals begin at 10:30 a.m. The top-two finishers in the finals automatically qualify for the CIF State Championships next weekend at Clovis West.

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