Kimi Goetz and her transition to Long Track Speedskating

Jan. 08, 2019, 11:33 a.m. (ET)

Kimi Goetz started long track training in August 2018, and in less than six months earned a spot on the team for World Cups 1-6, and a place on the World Single Distance Championships team and World Sprint Team. Not bad for a beginner.

So how did she get to this point?

The 24-year-old grew up in Flemington, New Jersey, and began inline skating at the age of 9. When she moved to Utah in 2013 to live with her sister, Goetz decided to give short track speedskating a try. She found the transition from inline to ice a struggle, but she quickly advanced. Her second competition as a short track skater was the 2014 Short Track Olympic Trials, where she finished fifth.

After missing a spot on the Sochi Olympic team, Goetz doubled-down on her commitment to short track and earned spots on world cup and world championship teams. She prepared for the 2018 Olympic Short Track trials, hoping to head to the Games in PyeongChang. Instead, she received a concussion during the trials, and her shot at the next Olympic team was over.

“It was frustrating for sure,” Goetz said. “It’s hard that everything comes down to three days, and for me those three days didn’t come together.”

Goetz earned a spot on the 2018-19 short track national team, but once training got underway, she found it aggravated an ongoing back injury, plus her heart wasn’t in it.

She decided to give long track a shot.

Goetz had to learn different skating techniques, different dryland exercises and a different mindset, but learning to skate straightaways proved to be the biggest challenge.

“It’s intimidating because you think you know how to skate – and you don’t,” she said. “I think I’m at a world cup level and then I go to being the slowest person on the team.”

But something is working. As well as earning spots on the world teams, Goetz skated to a national title in the 1500m at the U.S. Long Track Championships in December. In January, she was invited to train with the USS Long Track National Team. She’s surprised by her results since she had no expectations for her first year skating long track. She’s had to adjust her 2019 goals because they’ve already been accomplished.

“I try to surround myself with really good people and coaches,” Goetz said. “I’m motivated with a ‘Fire for desire’ and the switch to long track has been a healthy change. In 2019, I want to continue to make world cup teams, make it into the A group consistently, become more efficient at skating and keep bringing my times down.”

She’s found her favorite event to be the 1000m, and she’s working on her 500m, a very technical race that allows no room for error. Goetz thinks she’ll learn to enjoy the 1500m, once she starts skating efficiently.

She credits her success to her long track teammates who offer advice and encouragement to help her progress, especially two-time Olympian Brittany Bowe. “She’s great to train with. You get to see how you want to be every day.”

Goetz has worked at Acima Credit for more than four years, grateful the company has been flexible with her travel as she competes around the world. She’s also creating a cookbook based on dishes she’s created.

Along with her skating success, Goetz has been in a relationship with Olympian Mitch Whitmore for three years, he even coached her for several months during her transition to long track. She said being coached by Whitmore was the best way to start her long track career.

“It was so much fun skating with him,” Goetz says. “I’m building momentum and I’m happy where I am and happy in my relationship. Mitch is growing as a coach and I’m growing as a skater.”