- By Craig Sager Score Atlanta
Girls swimming Player of the Year
Emma Cole, Walton
Achievements: Led Walton girls swimming to the 2016 team state title, the program’s first state crown in 30 years. Won individual state titles in the 100-meter and 200 freestyle races in automatic All-American times of 49.45 in the 100 and 1:46.73 in the 200.
Position: Distance freestyle
Height: 5 feet 6
College choice: Signed with North Carolina
Why North Carolina: I was balancing offers between UNC, UGA, Kentucky and Louisville. I felt like UNC was the right mix of great academics and an amazing swim program.
Best high school moment: Winning state this year as a team was definitely my highlight of high school. Especially since I got to experience it all with my younger sister who was on the team this year. We scored 366 points and beat Lambert by 123 points in the process. It was the most lopsided state championship since the Marist girls won the Class A-AAAA title by 130 points in 2009, and it was something for our whole school to be proud of.
Why swimming: I have been swimming for as long as I can remember, and I have always loved racing and the competition.
What you would like to be doing in 10 years: In 10 years, I hope to have a great job and to be starting a family of my own.
Favorite high school course: My favorite high school class has either been U.S. history or calculus. I have always liked math, and I just found U.S. history very interesting. I have also had amazing teachers in those subjects, which helped draw even more interest.
People who helped along the way: My dad has always been my No. 1 fan. He is always there to drive me to morning practice, and he has always believed I could do great things in the sport.
Toughest high school opponent: Georgia swimming is full of fast swimmers, and I have had the privilege of racing against them throughout my high school career. All of them have motivated me and pushed me to be the best swimmer I can.
Favorite movie: “She’s The Man” would have to be my pick.
Favorite song: My favorite song is “Boy Gets Hit by a Truck” by Keith Urban
Worst high school moment: One time during PE we were running the stadiums in Raider Valley, and I completely wiped out. It was pretty funny, and I wasn’t the only one that got a kick out of it.
If you could be any other athlete on earth: I would want to be Simone Biles because I have always found gymnastics mesmerizing, and she is unbelievably gifted.
Money or happiness: Happiness. I believe happiness and positivity are the best ingredients to leading and leaving behind a great life.
Best word to describe yourself: Competitive.
View of the world at this moment: At the moment, there is a lot of negativity in the world, and a lot of bad things are happening. However, you can still find kind people who are doing good things, and I never lose sight of that.
What you would put in a time capsule: I would definitely put pictures of my family and friends in my time capsule.