Sedona High School swimmer denied shot in state title defense

SEDONA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — A Sedona High School swimmer had a chance to win back-to-back state titles. But that opportunity is now gone due to a listing error that was not his fault.

Sedona Red Rock High School has been trying to convince the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) to allow senior Carlos Lattanzi to swim. But they have been rejected. “I was a little upset about it,” Lattanzi said. “So I was in a bad mood.”

Lattanzi has been thinking a lot since finding out he wouldn’t be able to defend his state title in the 500 freestyle. “I would have been looking forward to that,” he said. “And then hopefully the meet-winning swimmer, the swimmer of the year. But because I can’t swim 500 as much, I’m no longer in the race.”

Carlos’ coach at Red Rock High School confirmed to Arizona Family that even after a last-second change to the school’s roster of swimmers, she had entered the school’s information with AIA officials a week before last Sunday’s deadline . But when she was reviewing information posted about the swim meets on Monday, she noticed that Carlos’ name was not on the list of 500 freestyle competitors.

“It has to be on schedule,” said AIA executive director David Hines. “There are no exceptions.” Hines says this isn’t the first time a swimmer has been disqualified due to an entry error. “The coach either forgot, didn’t do it right, or forgot to add a kid to the roster,” he said. “If we change one rule, then what rule will I change next when something else comes out?”

Carlos’ father Rick Dembow understands where AIA is coming from. But he still doesn’t understand why the focus isn’t on what’s best for the athlete. This was Carlos’ last race in high school and one of his last chances to position himself for a college scholarship. “There are national coaches looking at these results,” Dembow said. “He’s a senior and has applied to all the NCAA Division I schools, some of which the coaches expected some of these results.”

As for Carlos, his waiting game is over. Instead, he’s working to turn any lingering frustration into motivation for his fellow races. “I’m using it as a way to focus for my relays,” he said. “I’m thankful to be able to swim in the last meet of the high school season, high school in general. I can’t wait to spend it with my teammates.”

Carlos will compete in three more events at this weekend’s state championships. He hopes the AIA will at least allow him to swim the timed 500 freestyle, separated from the state title swimmers to have a time available for college coaches.


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