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An NCSA Championships and Sectionals finalist, Ellery Ottem of River Falls, Wisconsin has announced her decision to swim collegiately at the University of South Carolina as a member of their freshman class of 2023. Ottem is currently entering her senior year at River Falls High School and swims club with Mako Aquatics.
Earlier this month, Ottem made the trip to Minneapolis to compete at the Sectionals meet held there. Most notably she finished second in the 200 free ahead of an A-final field that featured a trio of Golden Gophers. After swimming to a time of 2:05.09 during prelims, Ottem shaved nearly two full seconds off her time in finals to touch in 2:03.41. She also added an 8th place finish in both the 100 free (57.66) and 400 free (4:27.13).
Ottem was also a finalist in both the 100 and 200 freestyles last fall while competing at the WIAA (Wisconsin high school) Girls Division 1 Swimming and Diving State Championships. Finishing 4th overall in both events, she stopped the clock at 50.97 in the 100 and 1:50.86 in the 200.
Top SCY Times
- 50 free – 23.46
- 100 free – 50.14
- 200 free – 1:47.05
- 500 free – 4:54.83
- 100 fly – 55.45
- 200 fly – 2:02.23
With a year left of high school before she event arrives on campus next fall, Ottem is already set to make a big impact for the Gamecocks when she becomes a member of the team in 2023. Last year, her lifetime best in the 100 free would have made her the team’s 3rd fastest and her 200 free would have ranked 4th on the team. She also would have been among the team’s best in the 500 free, with her 4:54.83 ranking her 4th in the event.
The Gamecock women are coming off a 2021-2022 season that saw them take 10th out of 12 teams at the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships. The program is still building under new head coach Jeff Poppell, who is entering his second season with the program this fall. Most of that rebuilding has come via transfers and international recruits, but starting to add US-based high school swimmers with immediate scoring potential creates long term value for the Gamecocks.
Even as a high school junior, Ottem has times fast enough to earn second swims at the SEC Championships. In 2022, she would have earned a C-finals appearance in the 200 free. She wouldn’t have been far off from the C-final in her other events as well.
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