Sports Stories

The summer season for the Sedona Swordfish Swim Team came to an end on Saturday, July 22, and head coach A. Jay Bronson could not have been happier.

It was not because swimmers and coaches are now on an approximately three week break, but because of how the 20 swimmers performed at the 36th annual Verde Valley Invitational.

Fellow Swordfish swimmer Bryce Kirk swims in the 50-yard breaststroke; Kirk finished fourth overall in his age group. Coach A. Jay Bronson  was happy with his team’s improved times.
“Everyone has dropped time in at least one event,” Bronson said. “We’re incredibly proud of them. It’s only been one month since the [Sedona] Splash. We can’t ask for anything more, improving in almost every swim.”

Of the 20 who traveled down SR 89A to the Cottonwood Aquatics Center, seven finished in the top five of their respective age group.

Two of those swimmers are 14-year-olds Jaxon Oles and Andrew Tate. Oles tied for first place in the 13 to 14 girls age group while Tate claimed the top spot outright.

Top finishes are nothing new for Tate, who was the lone Swordfish swimmer at the 2017 Arizona Swimming Long Course Age Group Championships earlier this month. He will also be competing in the Speedo Long Course Far Western Championships from Wednesday, July 26, to Sunday, July 30, in Concord, Calif.

“This year he’s really improved a lot with his work ethic and dedication,” Bronson said. “It’s really shown since he’s been able to qualify for these higher level meets. He’s getting older and just gotten stronger and more powerful, which allows him to train harder.”

When it comes to the younger group, there has been improvement in more than just times. Bronson talked about how their stroke technique has also gotten better. One of the newer members, 12-year-old Bryce Kirk, is a testament to that notion.

According to Bronson, Kirk began training with the club around eight months ago. On July 22 he finished fourth in the 11 to 12 boys division, taking second in two events and first with a mixed relay team. “That’s the cool part about the age group,” Bronson said. “The light just switches, and they’ve done that this summer.”

Naturally any coach focuses on all four strokes, but butterfly has come to the forefront this summer.

“It seems like fly has been a really big emphasis,” Bronson said. “You see it in their technique and time drops.”

The team is now on a break as the new school year approaches. Training will resume on Monday, Aug. 14, for both the Sedona Red Rock High School swimmers and the Swordfish club members.

Swordfish Results

Top Five Individual Finishers
Age Group
Name, Age, Overall place, Points total

Nine to 10 Boys
River Valdez, 10, Second, 26

11 to 12 Girls
Sarah Frey, 12, Second, 29

11 to 12 Boys
Bryce Kirk, 11, Fourth, 19

13 to 14 Girls
Jaxon Oles, 14, Tied-First, 32
Dezra Dana, 14, Third, 23

13 to 14 Boys
Andrew Tate, 14, First, 36

15 to 18 Boys
Zach Dana, 16, Fourth, 20


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