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Jersey Shore’s Meaghan Keegan ends high school career with 3 district swimming medals

DAVE KENNEDY/For The Express Jersey Shore senior Meaghan Keegan competes in the 100 fly during Thursday’s District 4 girls swimming championships at Williamsport. Keegan took home a second- and third-place medal Thursday, but came up just shy of reaching the state meet.

Jersey Shore senior Meaghan Keegan and Shamokin senior Gabby Doss are all too familiar with one another. The two have swam together on a club team for a number of years and practice a lot.

They know exactly how the other swims and what their strengths are. But it’s what helps push each other when they’re competing against one another.

Twice Thursday the two were in the pool against each other in the same heat. And twice Doss got the best of her club team friend. Keegan ended up with a second- and third-place medal in those races, and helped the Jersey Shore 200 free relay team place as well.

“It’s really hard. I swam on a club team with Gabby, so I practice with her consistently,” Keegan said. “It’s fun to race with her and she pushes me. It’s a chance to have a good race with her.”

After Keegan lost to Doss in the 100 breast — her final event of the night — Keegan took a few minutes to talk to her club teammate near the starting blocks. There were smiles and laughs. It’s a friendship that goes beyond competition against each other.

Sure, Keegan would have loved to have qualified once again for the state meet, especially after what happened last year. Keegan was en route to Bucknell when then-coach Jenna Brooks got the call that the Class AA competition was being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That meant Keegan wouldn’t get a chance to see if she could medal.

It would have been redemption for Keegan to get back and possibly medal for the final time in her career. But Keegan wasn’t upset Thursday after her competition. She wasn’t bitter or angry. She was happy she got the chance to compete one last time.

“I knew it’d be harder this year with the cutting it in half with how many people made it, so it really was just looking at the times and it’d be nice to make it back there, but with the time cuts its a little tricky this year,” Keegan said.

In both races, the Jersey Shore senior swam as well as you could ask. In the 100 breast. Keegan and Doss were neck and neck after the second lap and came down the stretch close as they were in neighboring lanes.

Doss touched the wall in 1:07.48 and Keegan was right behind her in 1:08.72.

In the 100 fly, Keegan finished third, but was right in the race the entire time. Doss won in 58.96 — the only swimmer to break a minute in the event — while Danville’s Brenna Ross finished second in 1:00.69. Keegan finished in 1:00.37.

Keegan knew with how tough the races would be featuring Doss that she was hoping to PR.

“Just PR really, honestly. I knew there were so many amazing swimmers here that I can really look at places,” Keegan said. “I just have to go for my times.”

And that tough competition in both those races that Keegan felt against Doss is something she was happy to have.

“It’s nice just to have competition and a race like this because it’s been so long since we’ve been able to race like this,” Keegan said. “It’s just nice to see what I can do tapered and seeded and everything.”

Keegan helped Jersey Shore’s 200 medley relay team compete in the first event. After Mackenzie Gardner swam the first leg of the race, Danville held a decent lead over the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs’ 200 free relay medaled by taking fifth with Abby Wall, Hunter Lucas, Sara Pecchia and Keegan all swimming.

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