Sports Stories

The closest Carlos Lattanzi, Renae and Zoe Porteous and Andrew Tate have come to beating the summer heat was a Flagstaff meet in early June.

But the four local swimmers stayed cool in Phoenix at their Age Group Regional Long Course championships Friday through Sunday, July 8 through 10 — long enough to advance to the state tournament this weekend.

Tate, in fact, had the luxury of sitting out regionals, as he had already qualified among 13- to 14-year-olds for the Oro Valley event Friday through Sunday, July 15 through 17.

His teammate on the Sedona Swim Team, 11-year-old Carlos Lattanzi, could have followed suit, having already qualified in five events. Nevertheless, he chose to dive into four heats in Chandler, winning the 100-meter freestyle.

“Because he is at the bottom of his age group, we’re really excited for next year for him to qualify and shoot for top-eight finishes [in] all of his events,” said A. Jay Bronson, Swordfish head coach. “What we’re looking for [are] time drops and places at State this year.”

While their next goal, Bronson added, will be qualifying for the Far Western National tournament in California next year, 11-year-old Renae Porteous and her older sister, Zoe, “will be looking to move up into Westerns at a higher level,” said Sean Emery, their head coach with the Verde Valley High Performance swim team in the Village of Oak Creek.

Zoe Porteous, 14, had third- and second-place finishes in three heats each and won the 400-meter individual medley by over six-and-a-half seconds to lead VVHP to ninth out of 18 teams in Avondale.

Renae Porteous will join her in Oro Valley after finishing just over a second from the win in the 50-meter breaststroke, then swimming the 200-meter breaststroke in 3:19.65 for another third-place finish.

Josh Reilly, at 15 years old the oldest of the local swimmers in the postseason, qualified for State after finishing third in the 800-meter freestyle but will be skipping the event, as he had already committed to a USA National Triathlon relay team in Ohio.

“Josh is still improving,” Emery said. “He’s making his way to the … open division individual.”

The next local swimmer to break the postseason barrier may be the Porteouses’ VVHP teammate, Kasey Ingram. The 11-year-old swam seven regional heats, finishing runner-up in the 800-meter freestyle by less than a minute. She also continues to improve in the 1,500 meters, swimming a time trial in 23:39.79 to finish alone among all 8- to 18-year-old girls at regionals.

“Kasey started to make her way into being a force at regionals,” Emery said. “Kasey will be training with the faster of the distance swimmers like Zoe and Josh.”

VVHP’s final postseason swimmer, 13-year-old Josie Williams, will need to wait until next season after failing to crack the top 10 in five events.

“Josie dropped time in her races compared to last year,” Emery said. “Josie will [be] focused on better conditioning in the sprint races.”

As for the Swordfish, 14-year-old Zach Dana will need to wait until his upcoming freshman year at Sedona Red Rock High School to swim at any state tournaments, with just one top 10 finish in the five heats he swam in his first regional appearance.

“It’s a huge accomplishment for Zach,” Bronson said. “His goals are a little different — hopefully, to make it to State [in] high school and keep improving that time so he can also shoot for ... Far West in the coming years.”

For more photos and top finishes at Long Course Regional Championships from all local swimmers, please see the Friday, July 15, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.