The season came to an end for a group of Sedona Red Rock High School swimmers during the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division III state meet on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3 and 4, at Phoenix Country Day School’s Dady Aquatic Center.
One of the top results came when the girls 200-yard medley relay broke an 11-year-old school record, taking 10th overall in 2:03.95. Overall, the majority of the group will return next year.
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“Incredibly happy with how we turned out,” Scorpions head coach A. Jay Bronson said. “I’m stoked knowing that we’re a young team and we’re going to be on the rise and hopefully be great the next three or four years.”
Junior Zoe Porteous qualified for the finals in her individual events: The 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke. Porteous edged Mingus Union High School junior Rylie Burke by one one-hundreth of a second in the 50 to take 10th overall [26.03].
She qualified for the A final in the 100 backstroke, taking seventh in 1:03.87.
Freshman Andrew Tate also made it back to finals in his two individuals. Tate narrowly missed out on the A final in the 200-yard freestyle, qualifying 10th in 1:53.57. The top eight go to the A final, and he was 0.43 seconds off the cut.
In the finals, he finished in 11th in 1:53.08, beating Marauders junior Dallin Gordon, who came in a second and a half after.
In the 500-yard freestyle, Tate qualified seventh and finished eighth [5:08.30]. Sophomore Soleil Metcalf swam the 500 freestyle in the preliminaries on Friday, Nov. 3, but did not make it back to finals with a 17th place finish.
Metcalf did swim in the 200 freestyle B final, taking 16th place in 2:10.41. Freshman Dezra Dana swam in the 200 freestyle as well, but finished outside the top 16. Freshman Jaxon Oles was the first alternate in the 200-yard individual medley with a qualifying time of 2:35.61. Oles also swam the preliminaries of the 100-yard freestyle.
The boys 400-yard freestyle relay did not make it back to finals. The girls 200-yard freestyle relay qualified for the B final, taking 14th overall in 1:53.90. The 400-yard freestyle relay team, comprised of Dana, Oles, Metcalf and Porteous, took seventh place in 4:01.04.
Emphasizing more work on butterfly, breaststroke and backstroke was one reflection Bronson took with him from the meet. He said he was more focused on working on endurance, especially with the newcomers.
Every relay and nearly every individual swam personal bests at the meet, Bronson said.
The girls 200 medley relay dropped nearly two seconds from its best time of the year heading in. Tate dropped nearly two seconds in the 200 freestyle from his seed time.
Seeing the swimmers achieve times like that is always exciting, Bronson said, because it goes to show how hard they worked all season. By year’s end they were hitting times in practice that they had at the first meets on their schedule.
“That’s the greatest part of tapering, is you see all of the hard work pay off,” Bronson said. “It is incredibly rewarding to see that. I love seeing that swimmer improve and moving forward. Seeing their hard work and dedication and seeing it pay off, that’s the reason I do it anyways.”
Looking back on the year, Bronson was also satisfied with the size of the team, with a larger-than-expected senior class as well as a new group of younger swimmers just getting started. Thirty-two began the year and there were 29 when it ended, meaning that nearly 10 percent of the school’s population was on the team. Some will continue to swim year-round while others will play other sports.
The AIA approved an appeal by senior Parker Reed, a transgender boy, to swim in the boys division at the meet. Reed competed in the preliminaries of the 400 freestyle relay and was the second alternate, 28th overall, in the 100-yard butterfly. However, he did not get a chance to swim the event.