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Gainesville High senior Jacob Nguyen eager for final trip to Atlanta for state championship meet
Red Elephants swimmer has made it to the championship weekend all four years of high school
Jacob Nguyen
Gainesville High senior Jacob Nguyen on February 1, 2022 at the Frances Meadows Aquatics Center in Gainesville. Photo by Bill Murphy

Swimming has provided Jacob Nguyen with a useful outlet for boundless energy since he was 11. 

Now, it’s wrapping up with a chance to swim against the state’s best at the GHSA championship meet, starting Thursday at Georgia Tech. 

A Gainesville High senior, Nguyen will go up against the best in the state’s highest classification in the 50 and 100-yard freestyle, along with the four-person 200-yard freestyle and 200-medley relay. 

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to place in the top 20,” Nguyen said. 

He credits the instruction given through the Lanier Aquatics Club for success in the pool. 

Qualifying for the state meet in two individual events, along with a pair of relays, only tells part of the story about Nguyen’s success in the pool. 

Nguyen produced state-qualifying times in seven events, but will participate in the maximum allowed by the state’s governing body for high school athletics. 

Nguyen didn’t get into swimming because he saw it as a good fit, when he was in middle school. 

His parents, Anthony and Natalie Nguyen, viewed it as a productive sports outlet for their energetic son. 

And like most things in his life, Nguyen has flourished. 

Swimming has been a staple in his life, spending hours at the same pool where he learned the first strokes: the Frances Meadows Aquatics Center. 

“I hated swimming, at first, because the water was so cold,” Nguyen said. 

While this will mark the end of his competitive swimming career, before going off to college next fall, Nguyen will continue to refine his swimming ability as he pursues competing in an IronMan Triathlon, with his father, in the next couple of years. 

The IronMan triathlon is one of the most challenging athletic ventures. 

It includes a 26.2-mile run, 112-mile bicycle ride and 2.4-mile swim. 

Jacob said that the run is the most challenging of the three events, for him, but continues to push himself with the assistance of his father. 

“Running is the hardest, but we push each other out there,” said Nguyen, who also plays doubles for the Red Elephants’ tennis team. 

Nguyen, who is active in the congregation of St. Michael’s Catholic Church, is well rounded in all of his pursuits. 

He’s an honor student, and enjoys playing the cello. 

Nguyen and his sister perform for senior citizens at area nursing homes, but have been limited in doing so since COVID-19 emerged in 2020. 

“Jacob’s a good kid, really smart,” Gainesville swim coach Ken Basinger said. “He’s reached a high level of achievement in everything he does.”

State meet qualifiers

Cherokee Bluff

Dean Wall: 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle

Henry Wall: 500 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke

Evan Young: 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle

Pace Nelson: 100 backstroke, 50 freestyle

Jaxson Hopper: 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay

Madison Blankenship, Finley Toombs, Kyleigh Giles and Ava Williams: 200 freestyle relay

Flowery Branch

Sadie Corbin, Jayla Dao, Kelly Vetrano, Samantha Walton: 200 medley relay

Reid Barnes, Cole Klukaszewski, Brock Adams, Dawson Sherwood: 200 medley relay

Connor Polhemus, Dawson Sherwood, Brock Adams, Cole Klukaszewski: 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay

Jayla Dao: 100 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 100 breaststroke

Brock Adams: 100 breaststroke

Dawson Sherwood: 200 IM


Wade Cochran: 50 yard freestyle, 100 free

Eamon Monaghan 200 IM, 50 free, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke

Jacob Nguyen: 200 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke, 100 breast stroke

Cochran, Nguyen, Monaghan and Jake Lindsey: 200 medley relay and 200 freestryle relay

North Hall

Sophia Johnson, Bella Baker, Molly Loudon, Trista Warner: 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay

Tyner Kinney, Blake Bubniak, Bowen Lewis, Dennis Carey: 200 medley relay

Cates Greene, Boone Adams, Ben Pardue, Blake Bubniak: 200 freestyle relay

Bowen Lewis, Tyner Kinney, Dennis Carey, Ben Pardue: 400 freestyle relay

Dennis Carey: 100 butterfly, 200 IM

Tyner Kinney: 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke

Blake Bubniak: 200 IM, 100 breastroke

Bowen Lewis: 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly

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