Gateway’s Summer Raymer has sights set on school swimming records

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Sunday, December 13, 2020 | 8:40 PM


Summer Raymer’s name already is on the swimming record boards in the natatorium at Gateway High School.

The Gateway junior standout is part of the 200-yard medley relay team that set the record last year with graduate Olivia Livingston and sophomores Ayva Harris and Morgan Holmes.

Raymer, the runner-up last year in the girls Class AAA 500 freestyle at WPIALs, hopes to add her name to three more records this season.

She is closing in on the all-time school marks in the 200 free, 500 free and 100 backstroke.

“I love seeing my name up on the board, and I hope to add on to that. It’s great motivation during practice,” Raymer said. “

The 200 free and 500 free records have stood for 33 years since Gateway Sports Hall of Famer Celeste Makiel-Gaber set them as a senior in 1987. The multi-time WPIAL and PIAA medalist helped Gateway capture two state titles before winning seven Big East championships at Pitt.

“I want her to break the records and set a new standard for someone else to shoot for,” said Makiel-Gaber, a teammate of Summer’s mother, Carolyn (Remcheck), at Gateway.

“That’s the greatest thing about records. It’s an achievement and a goal, and I am glad she’s going after them.”

Raymer also is gunning for the 100 backstroke record set by Livingston, now a freshman on the women’s team at Louisville in the ACC.

Last year, Raymer made her mark at WPIALs and was just five seconds off the top mark in the 500 free, set by North Allegheny junior Molly Smyers (5:00.32). All eight finishers in the event were underclassmen, and Raymer feels she has a good shot at taking the title this year.

“I am always up for a challenge, and I am stronger,” Raymer said. “I feel I am ready.”

Raymer also placed fourth in the 200 free and was a part of two medal-winning relays.

She placed 15th in the 500 free preliminaries at states at Bucknell, but the PIAA canceled the finals and consolation finals, denying her a chance to race for a higher finish.

“It was upsetting,” Raymer said. “I am more of a night swimmer, so I swim faster in the evening. It’s kind of been my thing. It was tough to not be able to go for it.”

Raymer started the high school offseason with a couple of club practices. Covid shutdowns then kept her and many others from the pool for close to two months.

“Mentally, it was great to get back in the water and continue training,” Raymer said. “Physically, it took me a week or two to get back in the swing of things. I was just happy to be back. I missed it a lot.”

Raymer switched club teams from Racer-X to the Fox Chapel Killer Whales. She kept training and was practicing twice a day in early December, before school with her club at the Olympic Swim and Health Club in Penn Hills and after school with her Gateway teammates.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to get in the water as much as I have,” Raymer said.

The Gators were scheduled to swim Tuesday against Penn-Trafford and Dec. 21 against Greensburg Salem before high school sports were paused last week. The Gators are scheduled to begin section meets in January.

“It feels good to hopefully get back to meets and race,” Raymer said. “I haven’t competed since states last year. We’re all (the Gateway teams) pretty excited to start the season.”

Raymer is looking forward to adding to her resume as she continues to garner interest from Division I swim programs such as Pitt, UConn, Buffalo and Richmond.

“The covid stuff is not bothering her,” Gateway coach Sherry Sonetti said. “She is taking it one day at a time and handling it well. She has been so focused in the water to be able to meet the expectations she has set for herself. She is definitely one of the hardest workers on the team.

“She has the individual things she wants to accomplish, but she’s just as concerned with how the other members of the team are doing. She is always pushing and encouraging them. She’s such a leader for this team.”

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

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