Athlete of the Week: Five-time record-breaking Arielle Brotman makes quick impression on La Jolla High swim


In the past month and a half, La Jolla High School sophomore Arielle Brotman has broken four school records in individual swimming events. Add that to the school record she already held and the 16-year-old is well on her way to holding all eight individual swimming records that La Jolla High holds.

“I think it’s quite realistic that she can hold them all by the time she graduates,” said her trainer, Tom Atwell.

At the City Conference tournament in late April, Arielle broke the school record for the 100-meter butterfly. The first week of May, she broke school records in the 50-meter freestyle and 100-meter freestyle at the CIF Section Championships in San Diego. In mid-May, she broke the school record in the 200-meter individual medley at the state regional tournament. She already held the 100 meter breaststroke record.

“I’m super proud of myself; it’s fulfilling,” Arielle told the La Jolla Light. “It’s worth the hard work.”

A list of current La Jolla High School swimming and diving records includes five records held by Arielle Brotman.

(Courtesy of Tom Atwell)

Arielle, a swimmer since childhood at local YMCAs, said she trains every day to improve her speed and technique. This includes nearly three hours of swimming and land exercise five afternoons a week and three mornings a week of additional swim training.

“When I started swimming, I just liked being in the water and hanging out with my friends. As I got faster it got more and more exciting,” she said. “I would do a race and I would be faster than the year before.”

Her strategy during training is to “see everything as a race” and focus on what she can improve.

“I try to think about my shot and keep it smooth and technically good,” she said. “When I’m racing it’s easy for me to forget about everything else and focus on what I need to focus on.”

Arielle Brotman is pictured in 2021 at a swimming meet in which she broke the LJHS record for the 100 meter breaststroke.

La Jolla High School’s Arielle Brotman is pictured in April 2021 at a swim meet in which she broke the school record in the 100-meter breaststroke.

(Nicola Bugelli)

Arielle said her goal is to “keep going and getting faster every year, a little or a lot.”

“It’s really rare for her to be this good at this age,” Atwell said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a swimmer of her caliber at La Jolla High School, certainly not in my career. His swimming ability is absolutely amazing. She can swim any style and her speed is unmatched. And she has not yet reached her strength. As she grows, she will get stronger. As a young child, it’s amazing to see her at this level.

Atwell said he also appreciated Arielle’s support of her teammates and said she was “generous with her knowledge” of technique.

“She would never assume she knows how to do something better, but if anyone asks her, she’s always willing to help,” Atwell said. “It’s quite fun to watch because she’s the most modest, humble and sweetest child. But when she gets on the [starting] block, there is trust. I wouldn’t want to be in the block next to her.

Arielle said her advice to newcomers is to “work hard and work well. Be focused when working and enjoy it while you can.

La Jolla Athlete of the Week features athletes from all high school sports (La Jolla High, The Bishop’s School, La Jolla Country Day School) and other local youth sports. We are looking not only for competitive stars, but also for student-athletes who set an example of teamwork, academic achievement and/or community involvement. Please email your nominations, along with a way to contact your nominees, to Editor Rob Vardon at [email protected]


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