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The Sedona Red Rock High swim team dove into preseason practice Monday, Aug. 6, to prepare for a new schedule which they haven’t seen before in their history.

Brian Bergner Jr.

Larson Newspapers

The Sedona Red Rock High swim team dove into preseason practice Monday, Aug. 6, to prepare for a new schedule which they haven’t seen before in their history.

The Scorpions were removed from 4A competition earlier this year and were placed in the 1A-3A division.

Sedona had competed in the 4A region for seven seasons, or since the school was able to field a swim team.

"They kicked us out of 4A because our swimmers were taking people’s spots, and they didn’t like it," Sedona Head Coach Marc Kincaid said.

The move will prompt Sedona to only compete against 10 clubs in the 1A-3A region, instead of 30 clubs in the 4A region.

"Sometimes you just don’t have a choice in the matter. We are now competing against schools that are our size," Sedona Athletic Director John Parks said.

Arizona Interscholastic Association rules state a region must have at least 10 teams to be able to have a state championship tournament.

Top returners

The Scorpions will boast a young squad this year in the new 1A-3A region, competing with mostly sophomores and juniors in the girls and boys events.

Sedona has 10 swimmers returning from last year’s varsity squad: five girls and five boys.

For the girls, one of the top seniors returning is Rachel Mendelsohn.

She was a top six state qualifier last season in the 100-yard butterfly as a junior.

Sam Syvertsen and Michelle Henry return for their junior seasons for the Scorpions hungry to repeat what they accomplished last season as sophomores.

Both girls were state qualifiers and will look to do the same this year.

Syvertsen’s top swim is the 100-yard backstroke, and Henry’s top swim is the 200-yard freestyle.

"One of our goals every year is to get better every meet and we want the kids to push themselves to better their times," Kincaid said.

As for the boys, junior Josh Gage returns to the water with some experience under his belt.

Gage was a state qualifier as well, but in two different categories.

He competed in the 50-yard freestyle as well as the 100-yard backstroke.

Also returning is junior Nick Lloyd and sophomore Chris Millar.

Both swim on the relay team and were state qualifiers last season.

"Everyone on this team will improve. I expect that. I would like to see the swimmers continue to push themselves and be motivated to do their best," Kincaid said.

Top newcomers

The Scorpions received three boys and two girls as incoming freshman this year, who will compete for spots on this year’s varsity team.

Most notably, Seth Syvertsen and Evan Decker competed with the Swordfish this summer, a local swim team for the young kids.

The Swordfish are coached by Erin Estes.

Syvertsen and Decker qualified for Far Westerns competition this year, certainly a résumé-builder.

For the girls, Callie Kittredge will try to gain a spot as well.

The schedule

The Scorpions will have a few new teams on the schedule this year as they were placed in the 1A-3A region effective this season.

Sedona will see Valley Christian High, Scottsdale Christian High, Phoenix Christian High and Phoenix Country Day High.

The Scorpions will also see old rivals in Mingus Union High, Flagstaff High and Bradshaw Mountain High.

All were in the old 4A regional alignment.

There will be no regional tournament, but the state meet will be held on Friday, Oct. 26, and Saturday, Oct. 27, at Phoenix Country Day School.

Final comments

The new regional alignment for the 2007 season should be interesting as Sedona will face schools that are actually its size.

Since there will only be 10 schools in the region, it can only improve the chances of the swim team bringing home their first state championship trophy.

Sedona has always placed well at state, but competed against much larger schools in the 4A region.

Last season the boys finished sixth overall, and the girls finished eighth.

"I think we have a really good shot at winning the state championship this season," Kincaid said.

Entering his eighth season as head coach at Sedona, Kincaid has one conference title, which his kids won back in 2001.

"I have a good connection and great relationships with our athletes here at Sedona. Seeing them excel every year is awesome, and I don’t expect anything different this season," Kincaid said.



Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 131, or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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