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SV’s Blazer set for final state meet

Swan Song

JACKSON TWP — Swimming has instilled in Gavin Blazer qualities that will benefit him long after his swimming career is finished.

“Discipline, hard work and sacrifice are the biggest ones,” said the Seneca Valley senior. “Swimming is a grind. During the offseason, it can be boring because the WPIAL and state meets are months away. But those are the times you have to dig down and continue to put the work in. What you do or don’t do then has a direct affect on how you perform when the big meets roll around.

Seneca Valley senior Gavin Blazer competes in the 100-yard butterfly earlier this month at the WPIAL Class 3A Swimming Championships. Blazer will be making his fourth and final trip to the state championship meet this week. Justin Guido/Butler Eagle

“You have to remain super-consistent, wake up and go to bed at the same time. There’s 7 a.m. practices on Saturdays and you can’t hang out with friends too late on Friday night.”

But to someone who loves the sport like Gavin does, the rewards are worth it. He has qualified for the state meet all four years, currently preparing for his final trip to Bucknell University, where the Class 3A meet will be held Friday and Saturday.

He will swim the 100-yard butterfly as well as the butterfly leg of the medley relay (seeded fourth) and 200 freestyle relay (seeded third). Earlier this month, those relays placed second and first, respectively, at WPIALs.

“It’s not crazy to think that we can win both relays,” he said.

Blazer was on SV’s 400 freestyle relay last season, helping the Raiders to district and state titles in the event as well as WPIAL and PIAA crowns as a team.

“Gavin has been a relay all-star for us,” said SV coach Brian Blackwell. “You look at the success we’ve had in recent years, we couldn’t have done it without him.”

His brother, Owen, a 2020 SV graduate, began swimming three years before Gavin and it sparked the latter’s interest.

“I was 6 or 7 and was really itching to get in the pool,” said Gavin, who swam for over a decade for the Seneca Valley Swim Club. “My freshman year is still my favorite season of swimming because I got the chance to swim on the same team with my brother.

“I got a lot of good work in with club swimming, but I’ve enjoyed high school swimming more,” he said. “Club is more individualized. For a high school team, you’re swimming for yourself, but also for your teammates.”

Gavin carries a 4.0 unweighted grade-point average.

“I pride myself in hard work and my involvement in swimming has had a lot to do with my grades,” said Gavin, who is considering a number of college destinations, including Florida, Florida State, Pittsburgh and Ohio State.

“I won’t be swimming at the Division I level, will be focusing strictly on my education,” said Gavin. “This (state) meet will be it for me. Qualifying for it four times now, it gives me a lot of confidence and I just want to leave it all out there.”

Butler County’s No. 1 seeds in Class 3A include SV’s Haihan Xu in the 200 IM and breaststroke and Isaiah Clerkley in the diving event.

North Catholic’s Maggie Foley is ranked first in the state in Class 2A girls diving.

Following are Butler County’s swimmers and divers who have qualified for the PIAA Class 2A (Wednesday and Thursday) and 3A (Friday and Saturday) championship meets, to be held at Bucknell University.

Class 2A

Girls

Freeport, Knoch

Moniteau, North Catholic

Slippery Rock

200 medley relay: 10-Freeport (Caitlyn Brennan, Kira Schrecongost, Danielle Parke, Isabelle Barton) 1:51.09; 11-Slippery Rock (Natalie Double, Ann-Katherine Burns, Mollie Massella, Grace Olshanski) 1:51.14

200 freestyle: 13-Mollie Massella (SR) 1:58.70

200 individual medley: 4-Kira Schrecongost (F) 2:07.15; 6-Giona Lavorini (K) 2:07.90

50 freestyle: 12-Grace Olshanski (SR) 24.43; 14-Katie Reott (M) 24.57; 28-Ann-Katherine Burns (SR) 25.23

100 butterfly: 3-Kira Schrecongost (F) 55.76; 13-Mollie Massella (SR) 59.25

1-meter diving: 1-Maggie Foley (NC) 491.40

100 freestyle: 18-Grace Olshanski (SR) 54.34; 29-Natalie Double (SR) 55.27

200 freestyle relay: 10-Slippery Rock (Season Grant, Ann-Katherine Burns, Natalie Double, Grace Olshanski) 1:41.14; 17-Freeport (Mary Anne Altman, Caitlyn Brennan, Isabelle Barton, Kira Schrecongost) 1:42.40

100 backstroke: 8-Katie Reott (M) 58.23; 21-Natalie Double (SR) 1:00.55

100 breaststroke: 4-Giona Lavorini (K) 1:03.96; 14-Ann-Katherine Burns (SR) 1:07.83

Boys

Knoch, Moniteau

North Catholic

200 medley relay: 2-North Catholic (Luke Lamb, John Lamb, Matthew Littleton, Jackson Kress) 1:35.80

200 individual medley: 8-Jackson Kress (NC) 1:54.81; 15-Adrian Lavorini (K) 2:00.18

50 freestyle: 8-John Lamb (NC) 21.59

100 butterfly: 22-Matthew Littleton (NC) 53.73

100 freestyle: 11-Luke Lamb (NC) 47.60

500 freestyle: 12-Adrian Lavorini (K) 4:54.96; 30-Mason Birckbichler (M) 5:16.25

100 backstroke: 3-Luke Lamb (NC) 50.63; 7-Jackson Kress (NC) 51.98

100 breaststroke: 15-John Lamb (NC) 1:00.41; 23-Matthew Littleton (NC) 1:01.29

400 freestyle relay: 2-North Catholic (Luke Lamb, John Lamb, Matthew Littleton, Jackson Kress) 3:11.32

Class 3A

Girls

Seneca Valley

200 medley relay: 23-Seneca Valley (Bella Kling, Alissa Wilson, Sonya Dietz, Lena Rothrock) 1:49.12

200 individual medley: 26-Alissa Wilson 2:09.80

200 freestyle relay: 21-Seneca Valley (Claire Riehl, Lena Rothrock, Audrey Wolfe, Morgan Baker) 1:39.24

400 freestyle relay: 20-Seneca Valley (Bella Kling, Morgan Baker, Alissa Wilson, Claire Riehl) 3:37.06

Boys

Seneca Valley

200 medley relay: 4-Seneca Valley (Connor Seeley, Logan Hockenberry, Gavin Blazer, Haihan Xu) 1:33.76

200 freestyle: 16-Connor Seeley (SV) 1:42.97

200 individual medley: 1-Haihan Xu (SV) 1:49.64

100 butterfly: 16-Gavin Blazer (SV) 51.14

1-meter diving: 1-Isaiah Clerkley (SV) 559.35; 8-Jeremiah Laslavic (SV) 508.30; 10-Sam Hersick (SV) 454.70

200 freestyle relay: 3-Seneca Valley (Gavin Blazer, Connor Seeley, Frankie Walton, Haihan Xu) 1:25.45

100 backstroke: 13-Connor Seeley (SV) 51.73

100 breaststroke: 1-Haihan Xu (SV) 54.92

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