Jeffrey Williamson has lived in Florida, Chicago, Indianapolis and Hong Kong.
The Victor senior now resides in the New York state record books.
Williamson broke public school records in the 100- and 200-yard freestyles en route to two titles and P.J. Ransford of Pittsford won the 500 freestyle and anchored two first-place relays on a historic day for Section V swimming at the state championships at Webster Aquatic Center on Saturday.
Williamson and his friend and rival, Buffalo Canisius’ Jack Boyd, swam side-by-side in the 200 freestyle, the most-anticipated showdown of the meet. They both cruised past the state mark in the neck-and-neck race, but Boyd finished with an electric surge to capture the Federation title 1:36.19 to 1:36.82.
“It’s such a rush when you know a guy is right next to you and you’ve got a 50-50 shot,” said Boyd, the Swimmer of the Meet for the second straight year. “He was ahead, then I was ahead; there’s nothing like that feeling. That competition gets your adrenaline going. It makes us both faster and I love racing Jeff.”
“I’m still in shock from our times in the 200 free,” said Williamson, who shaved three seconds off his personal best. “The only reason I went that time is because I was racing Jack, and I had extra confidence after that race.”
That confidence helped Williamson, known for his tenacious work ethic, outdo himself in the 100 freestyle with another state record. This time, he secured the coveted Federation championship, touching the wall in an All-America time of 44.73.
“I could not ask for a better way to end my varsity career. I couldn’t ask for a better place to be in Webster in our home pool or a better sectional team,” said Williamson, who owns 13 Class B championships and will attend Princeton in the fall. “There’s no way I could’ve won the titles without 20 hours a week of work, 50 weeks a year. You have to give your all every practice and every time you step on the block.”
“I have never met a kid who has been so focused on his goals and achieving them one-by-one,” Victor coach Christine Phelps said. “(Williamson) has changed Victor swimming and has been a big part of a group of kids that have raised the bar over the last few years for what Section V has become.”
What Section V has become is a dominant force. Four sectional records were set in the finals and Section V swimmers won five of the 12 events among public school participants.
Ransford, a junior, put together one of the most spectacular performances of the meet. He touched the wall in 4:26.11 to win the 500 freestyle.
“It was a huge day,” Ransford said. “I dropped 10 seconds this year in the 500 which isn’t supposed to happen, but I’m glad it did.”
Ransford teamed with his brother Shea Ransford, Matt Tanchick and Brett Eslinger for a victory in the 200 medley relay to open the meet. The Ransfords, Tanchick and William Dawson closed the meet in the same fashion in the 400 freestyle relay.
It also wrapped a bow on Pittsford coach Mark Morris’ career. It’s customary for the winning coach of the event to hand out the medals at the podium, so Morris, who is retiring after coaching at the school for 41 years, brought down the curtain of his tenure and the meet in style.
“I got to honor the number ones at beginning of the meet, one in the middle and the end of the meet,” said Morris, whose Panthers won the team title by a comfortable margin (213-170) over Shenendehowa-II and earned seven top-three finishes. “It couldn’t have been scripted any better for somebody retiring. It was a pleasure to watch.”
“It’s a really special thing to have a coach throughout all six years of your high school career. It’s a special bond that’s formed over the years,” said Tanchick, who also placed third in the 200 individual medley and second in the 100 breaststroke. “For Pittsford to come out on top in the last relay really means a lot to us. He’s put in a lot of time and dedication. None of us would be here today without him. He’s been more than a leader. He’s been one of a kind.”