Gateway swimmers hope to finish season strong at PIAA championships

Sunday, March 12, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Members of the Gateway boys and girls swim teams are at Bucknell this week competing at the PIAA Class 3A and 2A championships, and they hope to build on strong individual and relay performances from the WPIAL meet at Pitt two weeks ago.

“All of the kids are pumped for states,” Gateway coach Glenn Raymer said.

“They’ve been preparing hard since WPIALs and trying to improve on what they did there. A couple of the girls had gone to states before in just relays, but now they have added individual swims which is exciting to see. One of the girls is a freshman, so she will get her first taste of states on a relay.

“For all the kids, you work hard all year, and it’s a great accomplishment to get to compete at the pinnacle event like states and see how you stack up against the top kids in the state.”

The Gateway girls have seven swims in the Class 2A meet Wednesday and Thursday with two relays and five individuals competing in preliminary heats hoping to make it back each evening for the consolation and championship finals.

Senior Morgan Holmes, a Bloomsburg commit, leads the way as the fifth seed in Wednesday’s girls 50 free. She took third in the event at WPIALs with a time of 24.00 seconds.

Holmes also is hoping to move up the ranks in the 100 backstroke Thursday. She is seeded 14th with a time from WPIALs of 59.37.

“Having that higher seed is nice because it puts you with the fastest swimmers,” coach Raymer said

“I know it will push her to go fast again. Morgan is really motivated and has some big goals for states.”

The 400 free relay of Holmes, juniors Mallory and McKenna Brown, and freshman Gianna Laurenti posted a third-place time of 3:38.42 at WPIALs — nine seconds better than their seed time coming in — and they are the fifth seed for Thursday’s swim at Bucknell.

Also swimming at states on the girls side is the WPIAL-medal winning 200 medley relay of Holmes, McKenna and Mallory Brown, and senior Ayva Harris (1:53.46, 15th seed).

McKenna Brown is the 18th seed in the 500 free (5:25.47) and the 19th seed in the 50 free (24.77), while Mallory Brown is seeded 19th in the 200 free (1:59.54).

The event format each day for Class 2A and also for Class 3A on Friday and Saturday is the same as WPIALs. Day 1 will have the 200 medley relay, 200 free, 200 individual medley, 50 free, 100 butterfly and 200 free relay, with the 100 free, 500 free, 100 back, 100 breaststroke and 400 free relay on Day 2.

The Pennsylvania Cable Network will have live evening coverage of the consolation and championship finals all four days.

On the boys’ side, sophomore Hunter Raymer returns to states in both the 200 free and 500 free.

He is the 14th seed in the 500 free (4:40.48) after a third-place finish in the event at WPIALs.

The 2022 WPIAL champ in the 500, Raymer last year finished 14th in the event at states.

“Hunter definitely has some unfinished business from WPIALs,” coach Raymer said.

Raymer also is the 23rd seed in the 200 free (1:43.57).

Three from Gateway were first or second alternates for individual events.

After several days of waiting between the reveal of the preliminary qualifying lists on March 5 and the release of the psych sheets three days later, Mallory Brown (100 breast, 1:09.91), freshman Gunner Raymer (200 IM, 1:58.44) and senior Primo Brodt-Jenkins (100 breast, 58.88) found out that there weren’t any scratches above them in their events and were left on the outside looking in.

“They certainly were hopeful that they would get the chance to swim at states in those events,” coach Raymer said.

“You never want to have someone scratch out because of illness or injury, but we didn’t know if maybe someone in those events would scratch out because of strategy for other individual events or relays. You just never know.”

Mallory Brown, the first alternate for the 100 breast, will be there at Bucknell if someone that day is unable to swim that event.

Coach Raymer said Gunner Raymer, the second alternate for the 200 IM, also will be at Bucknell and will be ready to swim in case there are scratches in his event.

Brodt-Jenkins, the first alternate for the boys 100 breast, has opted to end his swim season, coach Raymer said, and concentrate on other activities, including Gateway’s spring musical.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .


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