Sadie Ottem, Ellery Ottem, Jane Briese and Annie Ottem celebrate together after breaking the River Falls High School record in the 200 Medley Relay event at the Division 1 Sectional tournament on Saturday, Nov. 6.Photo courtesy of Caitlin Brudzinski
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RFHS swim and dive competes in sectionals, Ellery Ottem qualifies for state meet

On Friday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 6, The RFHS swim and dive team competed in the Division 1 sectional swim and dive tournament in Wisconsin Rapids at Lincoln High School. The most notable result was that of Ellery Ottem, who qualified for state in two different categories.

As a team, the RFHS swim and dive team finished in eighth place out of 13 total teams at the sectional event. At Lincoln High School, River Falls competitors had 17 season-best performances throughout the week, which head coach Caitlin Brudzinski described as “A phenomenal way for most of them to end their season.”

The Wildcats started the competition on Friday night with the divers. Rachel Everson and Kayleigh Volkman both posted season-best scores while placing third and fifth respectively in the sectional event.

The Saturday events featured all of the swimming competitions, which began with a recordsetting performance in the 200 Medley Relay event. Sadie Ottem, Ellery Ottem, Jane Briese and Annie Ottem broke the River Falls High School record while placing sixth in the event. The excellence of Ellery Ottem wasn’t done. In addition to breaking a school record in the 200 Medley Relay event, Ellery Ottem finished in first place in the 200 Freestyle and first place in the 100 Freestyle. Because she won both events, Ellery Ottem automatically qualified for the state meet in both events.

Other top-eight performances at the sectional meet include Briese in the 500 Free, which was a sixth-place finish, Sadie Ottem in the 100 Back, which was a seventh-place finish, and the 200 Freestyle relay of Briese, Sadie Ottem, Annie Ottem, and Ellery Ottem, which was a seventh-place finish.

For all River Falls swim and dive competitors except for Ellery Ottem, the season is over. Coach Brudzinski’s roster is well balanced regarding the age of the competitors. The senior class for 2021 consists of Karissa Baar, Jane Briese, Anika Coleman, Katina Derks, Stephanie Derks and Sadie Ottem.

As for Ellery Ottem, her season will continue on Friday, Nov. 12, and Saturday, Nov. 13, at the 52nd Annual WIAA Girls Swimming and Diving Championships at the Waukesha High School Natatorium.

Winning the individual events was a significant bonus for Ellery Ottem because qualification for state swimming and diving is a selective process. According to the WIAA, in Division 1, each event winner from six sectionals and the next 18 fastest times or scores in the events from all sectionals combined will be added to the heats in each event.

Ellery Ottem will compete in the 200 Freestyle and the 100 Freestyle. According to the order of events, the 200 Freestyle will be the third event and the 100 Freestyle will be the seventh event.


RFHS swim and dive competitor Ellery Ottem stands atop the individual podium after winning the 200 Freestyle event at the sectional tournament. Ottem’s victory automatically qualified her for the state meet which will be held on Friday, Nov. 12, and Saturday, Nov 13, in Waukesha. Ottem also won the 100 Freestyle, which automatically qualified her for state in that event too. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Brudzinski

November 10, 2021