Warriors Athlete of Week: Warriors’ Olson in search for the perfect dive

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Brainerd Warriors diver Izzy Olson prepares to enter the water Tuesday, Sept. 10, during a meet earlier this year. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

The Olson family band isn’t happening any time soon.

At least not until mom and dad start contributing, said daughter Izzy Olson.

So until that happens the Brainerd Warriors freshmen will concentrate on being one of the top divers in the Central Lakes Conference and Section 8-2A.

The second-year varsity diver showed off her skills by topping the field in a CLC dual with Sartell Thursday, Oct. 10. Olson scored a 215.90 to post Brainerd’s only first-place finish against class 2A’s second-ranked Sabres.


Two days later, in the Section 8-2A True Team meet, Olson landed a first-place 382.75 for the 11-dive format.

“You have to be so much more focused because it is so many more divers,” Olson said. “Once you get going, it’s like 15 minutes and 30 seconds between dives, which is a long time for your body to be resting and cooled down and your muscles to tighten up.

“In a six-dive meet, it’s usually like seven minutes betwen dives and you can jump around and stay warm. It’s a short enough time where you can focus on your next dive right away. With an 11 dive, you can go on your phone, you can eat food because you have so much more time. It’s hard to stay focused on what dive and what you have to focus on the next time. The mental mindset is a lot different because of the time between dives.”

That mental aspect is what Olson has been working on this season. She said playing golf helped her with her mental focus and being able to forget mistakes and move on to the next dive.

While Olson has only not won two duals this season -- one to Bemidji and another against Rocori -- she’s had more mistakes then she’d like.

“I would not say I am happy,” Olson said. “I’ll have like three good dives where I’m like, ‘OK. That’s great.’ Then I’ll have three where I’m like, “OK. What did I just do?’ The one with Rocori, I was with her until like dive four. I just totally back flopped on it and lost 20 points.

“I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied with my scores at all because there is always room for improvement -- always. Even if I just get a new personal record, I’m then looking at things I can improve to get a better score.”

Consistency is what Olson and Brainerd diving coach Mary Streiff have been focused on of late.


“We talk quite a bit about that because I know it does frustrate her,” Streiff said. “In a performance based sport, such as diving, you have to recognize that you’re not always going to be at your peak at every performance. That’s the goal, but really it’s to be hitting those dives consistently at the end of the season.

“We still have a month left of practice before sections. The plan is to increase the reps of those dives and work out some of the kinks and then hopefully build consistency and confidence all the way through her 11 dive list.”

Olson enjoys the 11-dive format. She’s confident with her dives and she loves coming from behind, climbing over other divers to reach the top spot at the end of the event.

“Mary and I set up my list for the easy dives in the beginning and the hard dives to anchor at the end so they can pull me to the front,” Olson said. “Going into the West Fargo meet (Sept. 21), on dive No. 8, I was one point in the lead. After dive five I was behind. I was in second place, but once I hit my harder dives I pulled ahead a ton.

“The confidence in those last three dives, which are a front double, front 2 1/2 and front 1 1/2 is just insanely high because I know I can put those in very well. I wouldn’t say I rely on those dives, but I get excited for those dives because I know I can do well on them.”

Olson used that formula to advance to last year’s Class 2A state diving meet. The then eighth grader made the finals and placed 16th with a 300.15. It was the first of three state tournaments for Olson last year, who also advanced in gymnastics and was part of Brainerd’s state golf team.

But don’t expect Olson to be satisfied with just going to state.

“I think she’s feeling confident with a lot of her dives, but she’s not willing to get complacent,” Streiff said. “That’s a sign of a great competitor. I’m anxious for every competition we get into that’s got some really high-quality diving and I think that is good for her. She was up in Fargo earlier this season. There were 59 divers there and she did really well against some great divers there.”


Olson did well and she’s done well all season, but it’s just not good enough. Maybe it never will be for the percussionist in the Olson family band.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied,” Olson said. “I think I will always think I can do better. This year I want to be that much better. I want to go that much farther. The season has been good compared to last year, but the scores haven’t really showed a difference. In my diving, if you were to watch me last year compared to this year, it’s a huge difference.”

Other notable performances

  • Delaney Schaeffer, volleyball, finished with 10 kills and two blocks against Sartell, 13 kills and six blocks against Willmar and 33 kills and five blocks in Warrior Invite.

  • Avery Eckman, volleyball, finished with 14 kills and 13 digs against Sartell, nine kills and 16 digs against Willmar and 41 kills, 25 digs, three ace serves and three blocks in the Warrior Invite.

  • Jack Thorkelson, boys soccer, scored two goals against Buffalo in Section 8-2A Quarterfinals. He added a goal and an assist in a section semifinal win over Elk River.

Izzy Olson

Sport: Swimming and diving

Events: Diving

Year: Freshman

Age: 14

Height: 4-11 3/4

Career highlight: Advancing to state in all three of her sports last year

Other sports: Gymnastics, golf

Grade-point average: 4.0

Favorite class: Biology

Favorite food: Mother’s stir fry

Favorite movie: “Napoleon Dynamite”

Favorite TV show: “Friends”

Favorite website or app: Snapchat

Favorite restaurant: Zorbaz on Gull Lake

Future plans: Hopes to dive in college

Favorite athlete: Tiger Woods

Parents: Chris and Holly Olson

Brainerd Warrior diver Izzy Olson prepares to enter the water Tuesday, Sept. 10 during a meet earlier this year. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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