Warriors Athlete of Week: Warriors’ Olson stands tall on the diving board – Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Izzy Olson started the season with four straight wins, but didn’t find success until a Saturday invite in West Fargo.

The four wins came during six-dive dual meets that the Brainerd Warriors swimming and diving team dominated. While she won, Olson wasn’t hitting her usual marks.

Then came the West Fargo Invite Sept. 17 and Olson failed a dive.

“Missing a dive, and obviously failing it and then hearing the ‘failed dive’ is unfortunate,” Olson said. “I got out of the water and I was like ‘Oh shoot. That sucks.’ But there was nothing I could do about it so I just had to keep fighting and come back and make every dive the best I could do after. There wasn’t room to miss any more points here or there. I had to put them all down.”

And Olson did as she rallied to win the 11-dive invite with 371.25 points. The last time Olson failed a dive was in seventh grade.

Section 8-2A Girls Swimming and Diving finals Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at Brainerd High School.

Brainerd’s Izzy Olson celebrates following one of her teammates’ dives during the Section 8-2A Girls Swimming and Diving finals Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at Brainerd High School.

Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

“That’s a pretty tall task,” Brainerd diving coach Mary Streiff said. “Not many divers can say that is something that has happened to them. I think for Izzy, I don’t want to say that was a turning point or a game changer, but I think she recognized she is that good and she learned how to pull herself out of a slump.

“Since the West Fargo meet, she learned how to handle adversity, which really just served her well for the rest of the season.”

Following the win, Brainerd head coach Dan Anderson told Olson he had only ever seen someone fail a dive and still win one other time. The girl went on to win the state tournament.

That’s Olson’s goal this week after winning her fourth Section 8-2A diving title Saturday, Nov. 12, at Brainerd High School. Olson topped the field with 437.8 points, but it wasn’t easy.

“She’s just so gifted,” Anderson said. “She’s really smart and is a student of the sport. She knows exactly what she’s doing on the board. There is no luck. There is no guessing when she’s going to come out of a dive. She knows what she’s doing and she was under a lot of pressure. That Sartell girl was diving right with her and Izzy just kept scoring a couple more and a couple more on every dive to inch that lead out and didn’t get rattled at all. It’s pretty impressive for a high school athlete to be that mature.”

Olson trailed Sartell’s Hailey Westrup by almost three points after the preliminary round. She accumulated 192.9 points, but then jumped to the lead after the semifinals with 304.2 points. That lead was less than one point, however, over Westrup.

Izzy Olson diving.

Brainerd’s Izzy Olson dives during the Section 8-2A Girls Swimming and Diving finals Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at Brainerd High School.

Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

“I was right after her which gave me so much confidence,” Olson said. “After her first dive and then after my first dive of the finals I just had that feeling in my heart and mind that I was going to do it.”

On her first dive of the finals, Olson scored a 37.6 and then followed it with a 48.75 and sealed her victory with a 47.25 on her final dive.

“She is a twister and we put real big twisters at the end,” Strieff said. “There are two twisters that not many kids in the state do both those twisters for sure. She can do them well. She’s confident in them and it’s always a nice thing when you can end on a dive that you know can go in for good scores and big points. Her one voluntary dive was her back dive and that is just a very dynamic dive for her and she hit that to start the round.”

The victory was Olson’s 12th of the season. She captured the Central Lakes Conference title Oct. 29 with 424.9 points, which was just. 6 points better than Westrup. It was Westrup who handed Olson her only defeat of the season in the Section 8-2A True Team meet. Olson topped Westrup during the six-dive dual meet four days before that.

Aside from winning the West Fargo Invite, Saturday’s win was one of Olson’s favorites.

Section 8-2A Girls Swimming and Diving finals Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at Brainerd High School.

Brainerd’s Izzy Olson smiles after receiving her gold medal for diving in the Section 8-2A Girls Swimming and Diving finals Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at Brainerd High School.

Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

“It’s our new pool this year and just having it be in Brainerd for the first time in I don’t know how long was unreal,” Olson said. “Also, just having all of the community and supporters there, especially my golf coach and one of my best friends Taylor Larson came and supported me. It just felt like your community was there. Then our team just did amazing so it was just the best section meet ever. I couldn’t have asked or wished to have all that happen. It was just amazing.”

Following the section meet, Olson said her technique and her height were her advantages. Olson stands just 5-foot so she wasn’t talking about her stature, but how she comes off the board.

“I went down to the cities for club diving this summer which helped my technique improve immensely,” Olson said. “Obviously, my height is patiently riding the board. Just the way that my dives are performed. Coming out of the dive is technically correct. It’s called piking out. It’s hard to explain. But I hit every position and then wait a little bit so it looks cleaner and better.”

For those not in the know when it comes to diving, the dive isn’t over once the athlete hits the water. There’s a lot the diver is doing under the water.

“It’s also called ripping your entry,” Olson said. “You go into the water and you push the water out to the sides which makes me do a front flip and it sucks the water right back in from the splash.”

Olson hopes to attend the United States Naval Academy next season and dive for the Midshipmen.

“I just chose diving probably in August and hopefully my plan right now, it’s kind of a long process with the Navel Academy, but hopefully my plans are to serve my country and then dive at the U.S. Naval Academy. Diving is the route because I can golf the whole rest of my life, but I won’t be diving when I’m 30. So I want to be able to extend as much time as I can on the diving board.

“The Navel Academy everyone wants to be there and they want to be the best they can be. They want to serve our country and also the academics that are provided there are insane. The diving program and their facility are amazing.”

Izzy Olson diving.

Brainerd’s Izzy Olson dives during the Section 8-2A Girls Swimming and Diving finals Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at Brainerd High School.

Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.

Izzy Olson

Izzy Olson

Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Sport: Swimming and diving

Position: Diver

Year: Senior

Age: 17

Height: 5-foot

Career highlight: Winning the West Fargo Invite Sept. 17

Other sports: Golf

Grade-point average: 3.92

Favorite class: Calculus

Favorite food: Bagels

Favorite movie: “The Lion King”

Favorite TV show: “Bridgerton”

Favorite musician: Danny Olson

Favorite restaurant: Main Street Ale House

Future plans: Attend the United States Naval Academy and dive

Favorite athlete: Tiger Woods

Parents: Holly and Chris Olson

Other notable performances

Macy Peterson, girls’ hockey, scored two goals in a win over Buffalo.

Mya Tautges, girls’ swimming and diving, qualified for the Class 2A State meet in three events, including the 50-yard freestyle.

Evi Helsene, girls swimming and diving, finished third in the Section 8-2A diving competition to advance to state.

Brenna Deason, girls swimming and diving, finished fourth in the Section 8-2A diving competition to advance to state.

Avery Duerr, girls swimming and diving, qualified for the Class 2A State meet in two events, including the 100-yard breaststroke.

Isabelle Ploof, girls swimming and diving, qualified for the Class 2A State meet in two events.

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