Ella Jo Piersma Follows Family Legacy with Verbal to Michigan (2022)

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Cincinnati Marlins sprinter Ella Jo Piersma has verbally committed to the University of Michigan for fall 2022. She’s the daughter of Rachel Gustin and John Piersma, who swam together at Michigan and were USA National Team-ers in the 1990s.

“I am SO excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic careers at the University of Michigan! I am so thankful for all my family, friends, and coaches who have been there for me along the way. GO BLUE!”


  • 50 free – 23.51
  • 100 free – 50.39
  • 200 free – 1:49.16
  • 500 free – 4:58.39
  • 100 back – 57.32
  • 200 back – 2:05.31
  • 100 fly – 56.75

Piersma is a junior at Seven Hills High School in Ohio, and she’s the defending Ohio HS Division II champion in both the 200 free and 100 free, hitting lifetime bests in both at the meet. She also split a 23.55 anchoring Seven Hills’ fourth-place 200 free relay.

Since the pandemic hit the U.S., Piersma has gone lifetime bests in both backstroke events at an August intrasquad. She’s raced at the 2019 and 2020 U.S. Open, and recently hit a lifetime best 2:04.79 in the 200m free at the U.S. Open site in Indy this past November. She has bests of 26.40 in the 50m free and 57.75 in the 100m free.

Last season, Maggie Macneil (21.3/46.5) and Daria Pyshnenko (21.8/47.9) led the Wolverines in sprint free. Macneil is now a junior and Pyshnenko a senior. Sophomore Kaitlynn Sims (1:46.4 last year) and freshman Kathryn Ackerman (1:46.8 this season at an intrasquad) are the team’s top 200 freestylers.

Meanwhile, top sprinter Lindsay Flynn (22.0/48.1) is incoming in their class of 2025.

Piersma joins Brady Kendall, Malia AmuanRiley Francis and Devon Kitchel in Michigan’s class of 2026 on the women’s side.

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2 years ago

Congrats! Ella Jo’s parents were awesome competitors and people. If I’m not mistaken, I remember that her Mom, Rachel, swam the 200 Breast in finals at a Long Course Nationals in Indy, did her best time and actually negative split each 50 from the 1st to 4th. I’ve never seen that before and since in such a big race…

2 years ago

Great bloodlines!

Congrats Ella Jo!

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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