RFHS swim, dive continues to impress

Posted 9/29/21

The River Falls High School swim and dive team competed in two meets last week. The first was on Thursday, Sept. 23, against Hudson High School and the second was at the Tartan Invitational on …

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RFHS swim, dive continues to impress


The River Falls High School swim and dive team competed in two meets last week. The first was on Thursday, Sept. 23, against Hudson High School and the second was at the Tartan Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 25.

The Thursday evening match against Hudson saw the Wildcats get out to a great start at the meet. River Falls athletes won three of the first four events and took second place in the other event. One of those victories was the girls 200-yard medley relay, which was comprised of Sadie Ottem, Ellery Ottem, Jane Briese and Mackenna Anderson. The four swimmers tallied a total time of 2:00.08, less than one second ahead of Hudson’s secondplaced effort from Hannah Zurn, Rhian Neitzel, Faith Kalsow and Ellie Wood.

Ellery Ottem not only competed in the 200yard medley relay, but she also competed in and won the girls 100-yard butterfly event. Her final time of 58.60, which included splits of 27.16 and 31.44, was just over four seconds better than Hannah Zurn of Hudson who finished in second place. RFHS swimming and diving head coach Caitlin Brudzinski provided comments about the meet.

“On Thursday evening against Hudson, the swimmers swam some different events, and they did well,” Brudzinski said. “Our divers continue to improve on their scores and did a great job placing 1-2-3 in the varsity competition. Ellery won both of her individual events and broke her own 100 fly record.”

Another standout performance for the Wildcats was in the girls 200-yard freestyle relay, which included a four-person team of Briese, Sadie Ottem, Anderson and Ellery Ottem. The team’s final time of 1:49:00 earned them first place by more than seven seconds over Hudson’s second-place finish by Gabby Herbert, Allie Garza, Isabel Isaac and Faith Kaslow.

Tartan Invitational

On Saturday afternoon, RFHS swimming and diving competed in the Tartan Invitational meet with 11 area teams. Of the 11, River Falls finished in third place at the meet which included a few event victories and personal best performances by some of the Wildcats.

The morning began with the diving events that included Rachel Everson’s seventh-place finish out of 29 competitors. Everson, a sophomore, finished the event with a total score of 291.50, only four points away from taking sixth place. The 291.50 finish was a personal record for Everson.

Another competitor from River Falls, Kayleigh Volkman, a junior, finished in the top 10 of the 29-person field. Volkman’s score of 254.90 earned her a ninth-place finish. Only two of the 11 schools at the invitational had multiple divers finish in the top 10 and River Falls was one of them. Coach Brudzinski provided comments about their efforts.

“Our divers led things off in the morning by placing seventh, Everson, and ninth, Volkman,” Brudzinski said. “Rachel (Everson) posted a personal best score of 291.50, improving on her first 11 dive meet by almost 20 points.”

The RFHS swimmers also had a successful meet, led by junior standout Ellery Ottem. Ellery Ottem got the swimming portion of the meet started with a victory in the girls 200yard freestyle. Her final time of 1:55.18 was just over 11 seconds clear of the second placed finisher, Ryann Hopp. Ellery Ottem also finished in first place in the 100-yard backstroke.

Other notable RFHS swimming results include Jane Briese’s first place finishes in both the 100-yard fly event and the 500-yard freestyle event. Briese, Ellery Ottem, Sadie Ottem and Anderson combined to finish second place in the 200-yard free relay and a third-place finish in the 400-yard free relay.

According to Brudzinski, River Falls had 16 individual performances that placed in the top 16 of the meet and scored points for the team. The next meet for River Falls is on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at Rice Lake.