PJ Ransford from the PACK Swim Team in Pittsford, New York (near Rochester) has verbally committed to the University of Michigan, joining their loaded distance group. He trains there and at Pittsford High School, under the legendary coach Marty Keating.
“The coaching staff, the team chemistry, and training environment made it a perfect fit for me. I have 100% confidence that Coach (Mike) Bottom and Coach (Josh) White will help me to become the best swimmer I can be, and I felt that I fit in with the team very well,” Ransford said of his decision. He added that “on the academic side, Michigan has an excellent engineering school,” in which he intends to enroll.
Ransford has yards bests of 4:26.11, 9:16.04, and 15:45.04 in the 500, 1000, and 1650 yard freestyles. In yards, that 500 free is his best time.
Looking into long course, though, it’s clear that his 1650 yard time will be coming down soon enough. At the U.S. Open this summer, he was 4:01.3, 8:12.5, and 15:35.9 in the 500, 800, and 1500 meter freestyles.
He’ll join the next wave of a Michigan distance group that is absolutely dominant on the Big Ten level. Last season, Michigan had six of the eight fastest guys in the conference in the 500, but of them, the only one returning after the current season is Anders Nielsen.
Ransford joins a class that also includes distance swimmer Alexander Katz from Florida, who’s a 4:24.9 in the 500 yard free.
This duo feels a bit like when Ryan Feeley and Sean Ryan came to Ann Arbor a few years ago (they were one class apart). Katz and Ransford will have to have some drops as seniors to be as good as Ryan and Feeley were coming out of high school, but this latest duo also includes one swimmer from New York, and one from the Southeastern U.S.; they all even kind of look the same, too. That pair of Ryan and Feeley sort of kicked off this present renaissance of Michigan distance swimming, and the Wolverines will hope that their newest pair keeps that tradition going.