Crater star Reyes-Gentry signs with Notre Dame
CENTRAL POINT — Monday was a day that Crater senior Marcus Reyes-Gentry has been waiting to see take place for over a year. At long last, he got to make his college choice official.
With family by his side during a ceremony at the Crater gym, the 17-year-old Reyes-Gentry signed on the dotted line of his national letter of intent to swim for the University of Notre Dame next fall.
Reyes-Gentry originally committed to swim for the Irish early in November 2020, with a plan to make it official once the early signing period opened up during his senior year.
“It’s exciting to have it be official because it just sets the tone for how I am going to be spending the next four years in South Bend,” Reyes-Gentry said of the Indiana-based university.
Reyes-Gentry is the latest swimmer to come out of the Superior Stingrays Swimming program, and it is where he has both grown up in the pool and developed as a swimmer.
It’s a journey that began when he was 3, took off when he won eight state medals at the age of 8 and has now turned into a Division I scholarship to a school that appealed to him on both an athletic and academic level.
“I clicked pretty well with the coaches and Notre Dame, they have a good combination of academic and athletic excellence, so I thought that was a good fit for me,” said Reyes-Gentry, a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American honoree. “(The academics were) definitely a big part in my decision because I know that being able to show a degree from Notre Dame when you’re looking for a job later in life is pretty impressive.”
The unique part about Reyes-Gentry’s recruitment is that it came at a time when the pandemic was still in its early stages in the United States, so a lot of his interactions with Notre Dame’s coaches — as well as simply learning about the school — came virtually.
Despite verbally committing to Notre Dame over a year ago, Reyes-Gentry had actually never stepped foot on campus in South Bend, Indiana, until the Irish’s Oct. 23 football game against the University of Southern California.
“It was a bit weird because when I had verballed I had never actually gone to visit Notre Dame and it was solely based off virtual tours and connections I have with some swimmers there and all of the awesome things that everyone has to say about what it’s like there,” Reyes-Gentry said. “I was pretty confident with my verbal commitment.”
He said finally getting to South Bend was a visit that was worth the wait.
“I’d say it definitely exceeded my expectations,” Reyes-Gentry said. “Seeing the whole campus, seeing all of the athletic facilities, getting to meet with the athletic advisor and really discussing what I want to do with academics, that was really a big relief to be able to meet with some of the resources. They definitely do have a lot of help that I will be able to get because it can be hard to balance academics and athletics. But the help they have, I think it will help me a lot. I got to see all of the Catholic churches and it was all just super breathtaking.”
Reyes-Gentry also considered Arizona, Arizona State, Florida State, Indiana and Georgia, but it was Notre Dame that just felt right.
“The campus was breathtaking with all of the super nice buildings, the churches, everything about it was super cool,” said Reyes-Gentry, adding that he plans to major in business. “Everybody there seemed super friendly and everybody just seemed like a big family.”
While he has excelled in a multitude of different strokes as he’s gone through the Stingrays and Crater programs, Reyes-Gentry said that he will “definitely specialize in the backstroke and a little bit of butterfly,” at Notre Dame.
And with just how successful he’s been, who could blame him?
With the Stingrays, Reyes-Gentry came four-hundredths of a second away from qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team trials in the backstroke.
At his most recent national meet, the Speed Summer Championships in Southern California, Reyes-Gentry finished fourth in the 100 backstroke with a personal-best time of 56.67 seconds.
As a freshman in 2019, Reyes-Gentry became the first-ever Crater swimmer to win a state championship, taking home the Class 5A title in the 500-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke.
He followed it up with another state title as a sophomore in 2020, winning his third medal with a victory in the 200 free.
During the pandemic-shortened high school season this past spring, Reyes-Gentry won a Southern Oregon Conference title in the 200 individual medley.
Because of his club team obligations, Reyes-Gentry will likely compete in just a small number of meets with Crater this winter, including the Midwestern League district meet as well as the 5A state meet. However, he has eyes on closing his prep career in style at state in February.
“I’m going for an all-time Oregon state record for all divisions,” Reyes-Gentry said. “I think I should be able to get it, so it’s just a matter of performing at the (state) meet.”
Reyes-Gentry owes a lot of his success to Stingrays coach Siouxha Tokman, a former Olympian with Turkey and coach with the Turkish national swim team.
Reyes-Gentry has grown up with the Stingrays and has been with the program ever since he’s been swimming.
“Everything that I’ve gone through with my club swimming has set me up for getting a scholarship and being recruited for swimming,” Reyes-Gentry said. “The coaches I’ve gone through with the club have really just set me up for everything. Just being able to swim in the mornings and the afternoons, it’s been good for me. All of my success, I owe to my club coach Siouxha.”
Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.