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Loss in PIAA final fueling drive for Butler's Laura GoettlerEdit

source, Keith Barnes Tri-State Sports & News Service, JAN 24, 2020, https://www.post-gazette.com/sports/hsother/2020/01/24/PIAA-swimming-Butler-Laura-Goettler-North-Allegheny-Torie-Buerger-Northgate/stories/202001220012

Laura Goettler didn’t need to look very far for motivation coming into this season.

All the Butler High School senior had to do was remember back to the PIAA Class 3A final in the 200-yard individual medley.

“That definitely does because I knew I could have done better,” Goettler said. “It’s definitely pushing me to maybe think about things a little bit more before a race, but it’s definitely a motivator for this year.”

Goettler went into the 2019 (last year’s) state championship as a three-time WPIAL champion in the 200 individual medley and was the top seed in the final after posting a 2:00.34 in the morning qualifier that was nearly a full second ahead of the second-best time from North Allegheny’s Torie Buerger. In the championship heat, however, Goettler’s time ballooned by almost two seconds to 2:02.24 and she ended up in the middle of the pack behind Fox Chapel’s Zoe Skirboll, who won her first state title in 1:58.75.

Goettler did rebound in the second night of the meet when she beat Skirboll in the 100 breaststroke and, in so doing, became the first WPIAL swimmer since Pine-Richland’s Karen Murslack in 2011 to take home a PIAA title in the event.

Now, using that tough loss as inspiration, Goettler has set some rather lofty goals as this season winds down.

“I’d love to have another state title in the breaststroke and the 200 IM and I’d also like to come close or maybe get the state record in the 200 IM,” Goettler said. “I’m actually closer in the 200 IM than in the breaststroke.”

Though Buerger is back to challenge her in the 200 individual medley, Skirboll won’t be as the sophomore opted instead to train for the Olympic Trials and not compete for the Foxes.

“I’m definitely going to miss someone like that pushing me a little bit more,” Goettler said. “But I I understand and know where she’s coming from.”

Whether she is able to win both events — if she does she would be the first from the WPIAL to sweep both events since Kaitlyn Ornstein of Mt. Lebanon in 2004 — she already knows where she’ll be heading in the fall. Goettler committed to swim at Duquesne University prior to the season.

“It was really the atmosphere of the team and the coach [David Sheets] I knew really well,” Goettler said. “I knew they would take care of me when I went there and I just had a pretty good feeling about the school.”

And, having the recruiting aspect out of the way has allowed her to just worry about training and dropping time.

“It’s like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders,” Goettler said. “It ended a year of stressing and all that.”

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