Vivianna Chang would be an impressive junior in high school even if she didn’t excel in the sport of swimming.
The FPD junior is in many different clubs, such as the French Club and National Honor Society, and she was a member of the homecoming court this year. She just smiles when she is asked about her GPA, which happens to be a 4.0, and according to all of her coaches, getting that smile off of her face can sometimes be a difficult thing.
But behind the smile, there is a fierce competitor, who just so happens to be the only Middle Georgia swimmer to place in the top 20 in an event at the GHSA state meet this year.
Chang, who has been named The Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia Swimmer of the Year for the second straight year, insists she is a good swimmer because of the people around her.
“I think I have a good work ethic, but if I wasn’t swimming for teams like Swim Macon and FPD, I would not be nearly as good,” said Chang, who trains six days a week at Swim Macon. “My club coach, Jason Swaim, and my high school coach, Elizabeth Leslein, have given me the training to be successful, and I really have a love for the sport. I enjoy the team aspect of the sport, because you get a chance to cheer for your teammates and help the younger kids, which is something I really like.
“No matter if you have had a great swim or a terrible swim, the other swimmers always understand and support you.”
Chang headed into the GHSA state meet with a simple goal, which was to finish in the top 20 in an event. The top 20 swimmers in every event make it back for another swim later in the day. In her first event, the 100 freestyle, she tied for 20th, which left her in a swim-off for the final position in the finals, and she was edged out in the swim-off. But Chang came through in her final event, the 100 backstroke, by finishing 18th in her preliminary swim before moving up to 16th in the finals.
“It was a great feeling because I saw that all of my teammates were cheering for me and I knew I had accomplished my goal for the meet,” Chang said. “That made all of the hard work worthwhile.”
Leslein says that without a doubt, Chang is the leader of the FPD swim team.
“Vivi encourages everyone on her team,” Leslein said. “She is willing to teach the younger swimmers and help them with their strokes and always looks for ways to help others. She is not only a great addition to the swim team, but she is well respected by all of her peers. She is a very hard worker in and out of the pool.”
Chang was unsure a year ago if she wanted to try and swim in college, but she has now made up her mind.
“I just really can’t imagine not swimming,” said Chang with her patented smile. “Swimming has given me so much joy in my life that I would love an opportunity to continue in college. I just have to keep working hard to get faster over the next year, and I have to believe that I will get the chance.”
All-Middle Georgia Swimming
Swimmer of the Year: Vivianna Chang, FPD
First Team Girls
Madelyn Baltz, FPD, Fr.
Part of two state-qualifying relay teams that also took two firsts in Middle Georgia Championships; took two individual firsts in the Middle Georgia Championships.
Vivianna Chang, FPD, Jr.
Returning Swimmer of the Year; only Middle Georgia swimmer to score in state meet; two individual firsts in Middle Georgia Championships.
Katherine Hall, Stratford
Returning selection; had three firsts and a second — including two relays — in Middle Georgia Championships.
Ellie Minette, Stratford, Jr.
Returning selection; three firsts and a second — including two relays — in Middle Georgia Championships.
Ellen Rausch, Houston County, Fr.
Qualified for state in 200 free relay; two seconds and a third in Middle Georgia Championships
First Team Boys
Cade Cox, Northside, Sr.
Finished 50th in state in 100 fly and 66th in 100 breast.
Walker Gibbons, Stratford, Sr.
Finished in top three in four events — including two relays — in Middle Georgia Championships.
Davis Kunselman, Mount de Sales, Sr.
Finished in top three in four events — including two relays — in the Middle Georgia Championships.
Sean McMahon, Mount de Sales, Jr.
Returning selection; was 38th in state and first in Middle Georgia Championship in 100 back; undefeated in individual swims during regular-season.
Jared Taylor, ACE, Soph.
Finished 29th in state in 200 IM and 40th in 100 fly; firsts in 50 free and 100 free in Middle Georgia Championships.