Centre County teenager drowned in Susquehanna River, remembered as a ‘really great kid’

A Centre County teenager drowned Saturday while swimming in the Susquehanna River in Clinton County.

Gavin Frey, 18, of Howard, was remembered Monday by Central Mountain High School Assistant Principal Deb Kline as hardworking and a leader among his friends.

“He was always a lighthearted and very respectful young man. He was fully dedicated to his friends and his friendships,” Kline said. “... He was just the student who his friends always looked to when they needed a friend.”

Frey was a student in the Keystone Central School District from elementary school through 11th grade, Kline said. He then transferred to a cyber academy.

He died about 4:45 p.m. Saturday while swimming with a 22-year-old man between the city’s beach and Riverview Park, Clinton County Coroner Zach Hanna and Lock Haven police said.

Frey’s body was recovered about 7 p.m., police wrote in a statement. His death was ruled accidental, Hanna said Monday.

A candlelight memorial is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday near the beach. Support services were available Monday at Central Mountain High School, the school district posted on Facebook.

“It is a tragedy, but he was a really great kid,” Kline said. “It’s important that people remember that.”

The 22-year-old, whose name was not released, was rescued by a boater and flown to Geisinger Medical Center. The nature of his injuries were not clear.

The department said it was unable Monday to provide additional information, citing an ongoing investigation. The beach is scheduled to operate with lifeguards daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

After decades of decline, drowning deaths are on the rise in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in May. More than 4,500 drowned from 2020-22, which was 500 more than 2019.

Frey is the second Centre County teenager to die this year of drowning. Nathan Dan, 16, of Bellefonte, died in May while swimming at Raystown Lake in Huntingdon County.