University of Michigan junior River Wright has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal. While entering the portal doesn’t require an athlete to transfer, it allows them to freely contact other programs about the potential of changing teams.
Wright earned five CSCAA All-America awards in 2021 as a member of Michigan’s team for the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. Two of those were First Team honors as part of the Wolverines’ 200 medley and 400 medley relays. He also earned three Honorable Mention awards after finishing 11th in the 100 free and 15th in the 100 fly individually and swimming a leg on the Michigan 200 free relay.
Wright got a late start to his junior season for the Wolverines. After racing in the team’s opening meet against Oakland, he didn’t swim again in varsity competition until the team’s season-ending dual meet against Ohio State on January 28. He then raced at the First Chance Meet and Big Ten Championships.
At the time, a spokesperson for the Michigan program said that “River was unfortunately unable to travel to the Minnesota invite but is an active member of our roster,” but declined to elaborate further.
He was short of his best times in all of his individual events, meaning that he won’t have an NCAA individual qualification this year. At the Big Ten Championships, he finished 22nd in the 50 free (19.87), 16th in the 100 free (44.19 – after a 43.56 in prelims), and 15th in the 100 fly (46.96 – after a 46.40 in prelims).
A native of Bluefish Swim Club in Attleboro, MA, Wright started his collegiate career at Michigan as more of a 100/200 butterflier, but really bloomed when he dropped the 200 fly in favor of more focus on the sprint frees as a sophomore.
Michigan has all 5 of its relays qualified for the NCAA Championships. While Wright did not swim on any of those relays at the Big Ten Championships, the team could bring him as a relay alternate – though they would then be required to use him. With no prelims relays, and Wright not showing peak performance at Big Tens, that would be a risky move.
He’s at least the third major member of the men’s team to leave the team this season: 50-point Big Ten Championship scorer Danny Berlitz will transfer to West Virginia next season, and 78-point Big Ten Championship scorer Wyatt Davis is back home training with the Carmel Swim Club in Indiana, though he said in February that he planned to return to the program in the fall.
Another All-American, Will Chan, also entered the transfer portal last fall to explore the possibility of a transfer after graduation to use his 5th year of eligibility.