Dakota Riptide star Owen Raml continues to excel after record-breaking indoor swim season

Over the past year, Raml set five South Dakota swimming records as a seventh-grader, four of which are still intact, including a 200 freestyle record that surpassed former Aberdeen swimmer and current Olympian Michael Andrew.

Dakota Riptide's Owen Raml poses for a portrait during practice on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at the Mitchell Recreation Center.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — If there was ever a young star in the making, it’s Owen Raml in the swimming pool.

The 13-year-old Dakota Riptide swimmer has not only found his niche but realized his performances in the pool could be the start of a career with a longstanding impact.

Throughout the past year, Raml has set five South Dakota state records, four of which are still intact. On July 9, 2021, at the Sanford Power Invite in Sioux Falls, Raml set the state record in both the long course 200M butterfly (2:44.39) and the 400M individual medley (5:38.19). During the Den Herder Law Veterans Invite in Yankton on November 14, 2021, Raml also set the state record for the short course 400M individual medley with a time of 4:45.94.

Raml claimed the South Dakota 500 freestyle record as well, but that would not stand for long as his good friend Owen L. Muller from Watertown regained his spot in the record book after his 500 freestyle performance on February 25.

The one record that currently stands as of one Raml’s most exciting feats in South Dakota history is his 200 freestyle record, which he earned on December 18, 2021, at the H2O Invite in Sioux City, Iowa. In a time of 1:54.68, Raml earned another spot in the record books, but this one had a little more meaning to it, as he surpassed former Aberdeen swimmer and current Olympian Michael Andrew.


Most recently, Andrew helped the United States hoist a gold medal after his 4x100 medley relay team managed to set a world record at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. As Raml understands the magnitude of breaking a swimming record that was once held by a man that has now helped bring a gold medal home, he said moments like that are only the start of his long career ahead.

“It feels good, to just have started where I did and to see myself getting better,” Raml said. “I understand that what I’ve done is just the start and I have to keep working hard to achieve some bigger things. I just want to keep swimming faster and faster.”

Owen Raml practices in the pool during a Dakota Riptide morning practice at the Mitchell Recreation Center on Wednesday, June 15, 2021.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

As the young swimmer hopes to tear down more records, Dakota Riptide Alumni coach Ethan Huber said Raml understands so much at a young age, especially the leadership perspective, that will help propel him forward and help him achieve even more than he actually realizes at this age.

“What I think speaks more to who Owen is as an athlete is that he’s not only physically gifted, but he has the mentality of a successful athlete,” Huber said. “You can tell how excited he is to be in the water with his teammates and how willing he is to be a leader. It’s tough to get young kids, as special as he is, to understand how they're impacting those around them, be willing to lead and still be down to earth, because he handles himself like just another kid in the pool.”

Starting off his swimming career during the indoor season of 2018, Raml began practicing like any other young swimmer, in the slower lane. As time went on, he gradually moved up and found himself posting top-five finishes in the 200 freestyle and 50 butterfly during his first Midwest Regional swim meet.

Throughout his first outdoor season in 2019 at the age of 10, Raml finished first place in nine different events in a total of four meets. His performances during June and July of 2019 helped him earn a spot in the Central Zone North Dakota Age Group Championship, his first invite-only meet.

While Raml had shown early signs at an even younger age of what the future might hold, he wasn’t completely sold on swimming being the path for him, until March of 2021, when he competed in the South Dakota 12-and-under Championships and the ISCA Elite Showcase Classic.

“I went to two Florida meets that showed that I could race against some good competition,” Raml said. “Plus in the state meet, the times that I put up, I showed I could get to the top level.”


At the ISCA Elite Showcase in St. Petersburg, Florida, Raml raced against nationally ranked competition and didn’t place lower than 20th in any prelim that consisted of 45 swimmers. He finished eighth in the 100 freestyle, 12th in the 500 freestyle and 10th in the 50 freestyle. At the 12-and-under championships, Raml finished first in the 50, 100 and 500 yard freestyle, along with the 50 and 100 yard butterfly.

After a 2020-21 season where he officially emerged onto the scene and 2021-22 record-setting season that announced him as one of the best young swimmers in all of South Dakota, Raml just wants to show everyone now that he’s the best swimmer in the entire state.

“At state, I just want to try and win and if I get invited to some of those big meets, I want to make those final times,” Raml said. “At state, my goal is simple. I want the high-point award. I think that award shows who’s the overall best swimmer and I want to prove that.”

Raml will be competing again from June 24-26 during the 2022 South Dakota Riptide Splash Central Invitational, held at the Splash Central Water Park in Huron.

Dakota Riptide's Owen Raml poses for a portrait during practice on Wednesday, June 15, 2022, at the Mitchell Recreation Center.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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