The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

Making a splash: NC swims at the Pope Pungler meet

Rose Ordonio
The NC Swim and Dive team entered the Pope Plunger meet with hopes of beating their personal records and successfully achieving the county cut. After the team finished their dryland exercises and swam swiftly in the Cobb Aquatic Center, the boys and girls both placed 4th in their respective competitions. Dylan Pham, the sole diver for the NC team, successfully outperformed all participating schools and earned 1st place.

December 9, Pope High School hosted their Pope Plunger meet at Cobb Aquatic Center, inviting the NC Swim and Dive team, along with five other schools, to their meet. Eager to surpass their personal records (PR) and striving for the county cut, the NC swimmers dove into the competition with determination. The meet consisted of 24 events, where swimmers could choose their optimal events for an enhanced performance.

Before the official event started, swimmers and divers stretched and prepared for their individual events with dryland exercises and other warm-ups. As the NC athletes concentrated on their exercises and anticipated swimming in the Aquatic Center’s lanes, students encouraged each other to surpass their PRs and the NC Swim and Dive team displayed astounding collaboration. For each meet, senior team captain Lily Stooksbury ensures that her team members balance their competitiveness with their supportive attitudes. 

“I want everyone to be comfortable and happy when they’re swimming. I want everyone to be trying their best so I push the swimmers. During stretches, I make sure everyone is participating and everyone is counting during dryland to make sure people in my group are doing what they’re supposed to. A big part of us as a team was competitive when we were swimming but also were supportive. For different races, it’s important that we’re all gathered and cheering on the swimmers that are competing so they feel supported and want to keep pushing themselves,” Stooksbury said. 

The meet kicked off with the 200 Yard Medley Relay event, where numerous swimmers from the NC Swim team participated. The girls’ relay A team placed 8th and consisted of junior Shaylee Potts, magnet senior Livia Wenclevski, Stooksbury and freshman Thalia Johnson. The boys’ relay C team placed 12th and was composed of junior Steven Miller, sophomore Luca Torres-Garofalo, freshman Austin Li and junior Maksymilian Bardwell. 

The next event called for the 200 Yard Freestyle, where Stooksbury placed 16th for the girls and junior Carter Sams placed 13th for the boys’. Within the 200-yard Individual Medley events, Torres-Garofalo placed 13th for boys’ and Johnson placed 12th for girls’ team. In the 500-yard freestyles, Bardwell and freshman Elise Gallant swam various laps, earning 9th place in their respective events. For the 200 free relay event, Johnson, junior Parker Armitage, Stooksbury and junior Nicole Moore collaborated in the girls’ relay A team, placing 12th. The boys’ relay C team consisted of Sams, sophomore Zachary Baxter, junior Henry Witschy and Li, and placed ninth. For the 100 backstroke, Potts placed 15th in the girls’ event and junior Adam White placed 15th in the boys’ event. The 400-free relay stood as the last event for the meet. Both relay A teams for the boys and girls placed sixth in their events.

While the NC swimmers diligently attempted to exceed their PRs and outperform the other Cobb County opponents at the meet, a handful of hard-working athletes fell short in accomplishing their desired goals—members who participated in the 100-meter butterfly events received last place for their swimming attempts.

While the majority of NC’s Swim and Dive team participates solely in swimming, Dylan Pham stands out as the only diver on the team and does an excellent job at his craft. Participating in a sport without the backbone of fellow teammates can become nerve-racking; however, Pham enjoys diving and believes that the sport can showcase his athleticism and individuality. In the Pope Plunge III meet, Pham exceeded expectations and rightfully earned 1st place for his performance in diving. 

“I like diving a lot more [than swimming]. I have so much more fun diving and diving has always been kind of more important to me than swimming because I’m the only diver in this entire school. I can build up a bigger [athletic] reputation for myself rather than if you think of swimming [athletic reputation], you don’t think of me at all,” magnet senior Dylan Pham said. 

Several swimmers beat their previous personal records and cut down time. Overall, the girls’ and boys’ teams both ranked 4th place for their Pope Plunge III scores. While the boys narrowly beat Sprayberry High School by five points with a total score of 348, the girls performed extremely well and garnered 354 points. NC swimmers will swim across lanes once again December 16, where they will compete against other schools in the East V. West Divisional Meet. 

“Overall, I am very pleased with our team’s performance because we are able to hold our own with larger teams like Harrison, Walton, Pope and Kennesaw Mountain. We’re still able to hold our own even though we’re smaller and we don’t have a lot of club swimmers. A lot of our swimmers have been able to cut time and make county cuts and were working towards more state cuts especially with our relays,” NC swim coach Martha Gingles said.

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About the Contributors
Ivan Mendoza
Ivan Mendoza, Page Editor
Ivan Mendoza is a senior at NC and has been a part of The Chant staff since 2022. Since his adolescence, he always pursued reading and writing and felt that The Chant provided the perfect outlet for him to write about whatever he wanted. From music reviews to thorough investigations to award-winning documentaries, Mendoza is not afraid to expose his thoughts and opinions on the world around him. Whenever he’s not writing for The Chant, Mendoza is either filming a video, biking or wasting his entire paycheck on amazing novels, memoirs or superb vinyls. Find him on Instagram at @ivans.interludes.  
Rose Ordonio
Rose Ordonio, Page Editor
Rose Ordonio, a senior at NC, is a returning member of The Chant. She hopes to continue writing about developing topics around the world, showcase her opinions and get involved in the Kennesaw community. She enjoys plants and is involved in NC's environmental clubs. Outside of school, she loves watching her favorite dramas, going out with her friends, and watching games from her hometown baseball team: the Atlanta Braves. Ordonio plans to study public relations in college and pursue journalism.    

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