Rogic has dreams of Olympic gold


Chris Burdick

Assistant Sports Editor

50 Meters. That’s how far a competitive swimmer is from glory. Just 50 meters. Every second counts. Every breath you take. Every stroke gets you closer inches to your goal.

Pushing through the water faster and faster. Having no idea how far your opponents are away from the finish. Just focusing on the goal. Touch the finish line first and leave winning the gold. 

Kris Rogic is a Sophomore swimmer for the California State University, Bakersfield Roadrunners and holds multiple Croatian National swimming titles.

Rogic’s parents, Michael and Suzana Rogic, started taking him to swim practices when he was just six years old. 

“They wanted me to go into sports because it’s healthy in the growing process,” Rogic said. “But my mom didn’t want me to get injured, so she put me in swim since it’s the only one with no contact.” 

He expressed his love for the sport early, and the older Rogic became, the more serious he began to take it.Coming to the decision at the age of 9 that swimming was the sport for him.

Rogic attended Privatna Klascina Gimnazija in his hometown of Zagreb, Croatia for high school. He competed in various events but had a focus in the 200-meter individual medley. At 15 years old, Rogic completed competed in the 2016 Croatian Swimmer Nationals in this event and posted a time of 2:08.22.

“At about 16, I developed the goal of coming to America to swim.” Rogic said. “Every swimmers goal is to swim for an American college.”

Rogic was first committed to Florida State University but due to some scholarship issues decided not to attend FSU. This gave Director of CSUB swimming Chris Hanson a chance to recruit him.

Rogic decided to attend CSUB thanks to a little help from a fellow Croatian native that was swimming for the Roadrunners at the time, Lovre Soric. Rogic said, “He told me a lot about it here, and how coming here changed his life. And I believed it 100 percent.” 

A decision that he does not regret one bit. “I love the location actually. I feel like it’s a perfect balance.” Rogic said about Bakersfield. “We are close enough to LA and the beaches but far enough away from the traffic and huge amounts of people. I fell in love. Bakersfield is my 2nd home now.”

Rogic was recruited for his talents in the individual medley. But Chris Hanson decided to push him to make the transition to the backstroke events. A transition that made a huge splash in Rogic’s Freshman year at CSUB. 

Rogic set the school record for the 100-meter backstroke placing a time of 48.12 and taking a 3rd place finish in the Western Athletic Conference in that event. He also holds the 3rd fastest time in the 200-meter backstroke in CSUB school history, clocking a time of 1:47.27. 

Rogic was chosen 1st team All-WAC for the backstroke and also selected for the All-WAC Academic team honors for his efforts in the classroom.

His swimming season did not stop there. Rogic went right back to the grind, practicing for the Croatian Nationals that summer back home. Rogic was able to take home four national titles in the Summer of 2018. Placing first in the 50-meter backstroke, 100-meter backstroke, and 200-meter backstroke as well as the 200-meter individual medley. 

“He’s really grown. His work ethic has grown.” Swimming Director Chris Hanson said about Rogic. “Last year coming from Croatia was different. He did it all, and with a smile, but I could tell it was a struggle.”

Hanson said the focus coming into Rogic’s Sophomore year was to develop his backstroke. “After doing so well this summer you can see the motivation in his eyes.” Hanson said.

“He’s been a leader, he’s not a captain but he is a leader on the team for sure. Hanson said about Rogic. “People look-up to him, they know what he has done and that we are shooting for the World Championships, so they give him respect.”

Rogic’s teammate and former roommate Alex Dragan said that it is the intensity that Rogic brings to every meet and practice that sets the tone for the team.

“I remember in our meet against California Baptist University for his 50-meter backstroke in our 200-meter medley relay.” Dragan said. “He came in when we were all tired and threw down a great time and really set the tone for the rest of us to do the same.”

“Not only does he drive us, but I think we push him. It’s always good to have a guy like him to show us where we need to be.” Dragan said about Rogic’s effect on the team. “Without him on the team we wouldn’t have a marker to see where we all need to be if we want to get to the next level.” 

Recently, Rogic has reached a whole new level of competition, taking on swimmers at the Olympic level in the TYR Pro Swimming Classic in Knoxville, Tennessee. Rogic competed in the 100-meter backstroke where he placed 16th overall with a time of 58.73.

Along with the WAC championships coming up on February 28th in Houston, Texas, Hanson said there are two more TYR pro swimming meets this year that Rogic will attend. One in Richmond, Virginia in April and the other will be held in Clovis, California in June.

It is Hanson and Rogic’s hope that these meets will help sharpen Rogic’s skills in order to reach his final goal for this year, to qualify for 2019 the World Championships held in North Korea. 

Where Rogic said he will be proudly sporting his CSUB hat while competing against the world’s best.