OMAHA, NE - A swimmer from Western New York tonight, got her shot at a chance to head to the London Olympics Thursday night. While Courtney Otto barely missed the cut, she had a huge cheering section rooting her on back home.
The West Seneca native and upcoming Harvard sophomore swam in the semi-finals of the 200m butterfly at the Olympic trials in Omaha that aired on NBC Thursday night.
At 2:11:35 she beat her personal best time, but unfortunately came in 9th place overall, just one spot out of the finals. She missed the eighthspot by just 0.35 seconds.
Her family and teammates at Star Swim Teamback homecheered her on and couldn't be more proud of her performance. Star Assistant Coach Mark Van Remmen says making the trials is a monumental feat itself.
"Incredible. My words can't describe it," he said.
At least 6 local swimmers went to the Olympic trials, 5 of them from the Star Swim Team.
Courtney competed in the 200m butterfly Thursday morning clocking her best time ever by more than 2 seconds at 2:12:22. That secured her a spot in the semi-finals with an 11th seed overall.
"Going in her goal was to make semis and she made semis, but as long as you're here you might as well try to make finals," her father Joe Otto said by phone from Omaha.
Courtney is one of five siblings, all of whom swim. The youngest, 16-year-old Luke was back home, training to follow in sister's footsteps.
"For me she's always just my sister and I'm looking up to her in practice. She started racing everybody else because she was always faster than the boys. She's definitely an inspiration to everybody," said Luke Otto.
Courtney's achievements are teaching the younger swimmers lessons they can't learn in the pool and she has become a role model for many of them.
And of course, her dreams aren't completely dashed. There's always 2016 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
"She's got a lot to look forward to," said Van Remmen.
"4 years? Oh my gosh. She can improve in every aspect," her brother said.