Riverside County friends of the UC Santa Barbara junior fatally mauled by a shark while Boogie-boarding were remembering Lucas Ransom today as an avid waterman.
He and brother Travis were star swimmers on the Perris High School team, and Lucas was honored by Murrieta officials in 2007 for helping save a drowning boy at pool where he was the lifeguard, local news media reported.
As a high school senior, Ransom qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation swim finals in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke.
“Our aquatic team is one big family,” Frank Arce, the school’s athletic director, told the newspaper. “This is a tragedy not just for the team but for the whole school. It’s a great loss for all of us.”
The shark, believed to be a great white, snatched Ransom off his board at Vandenberg Air Force Base’s Surf Beach and nearly severed his left leg. By the time surfing buddy Matthew Garcia got him to the beach, it was too late.
Students learned of Ransom’s death Friday afternoon as they prepared for their homecoming football game, and members of the swim team and water polo team observed a moment of silence in his memory before the game.
Candace Ransom told local news media her son told her Friday morning he was going to surf waves 8-10 feet at a new beach, and she tried to discourage him.
“I said, `Honey, if they’re so pretty why don’t you just sit and watch them. You’re at a place you’ve never been to before,’” she told local news media.
“He said, `Mom, don’t worry, I’ll be fine and I’ll call you when I finish up.’”
Among the messages left at the Ransom home was one from Brittney Holland, 17. She recalled Ransom swimming alongside her brother for four years at Perris High, and the pair surfing together at Redondo Beach.
“Lucas was the happiest kid in the world,” Brittney said. “He loved the water. You’d never find that kid out of the water. … It never crossed his mind that this could happen.”
Ransom was known for his big smile, bushy blond hair, colorful Speedos and zebra-print swimwear, local news media reported.
He was a model