The Chongs: three sisters who make up 14% of the team but have an impact on and off the field that can’t be measured. Hailing out of Melbourne, it can’t be denied that all three are athletes, having played competitively in sports such as hockey and AFL before Ultimate. Steph, or StepChon the eldest at 22, is a versatile handler and cutter who will drag down anything thrown her way. Tracey, TracChon (or my personal favourite ‘Track and Field Chon’) 21, is as fast as she is skilled with the disc and punishes any deep threat on defence. Julie, the baby Chong at 18, is impossible to mark, getting free deep and in short spaces. All three Chongs are fast, efficient and tenacious and together they bring absolute firepower to the Stingrays.
Why are you good at ultimate?
Steph: I think I'm good at ultimate because I am a versatile player who can play in whichever position the team needs me on the field. One point I'll be handling, and the next point I'll be cutting deep. I also think my willingness to learn helps me improve.
Tracey: I think my strength is running. Agility and speed also help me play well!
Julie: I think that my speed and agility to be able to get separation from my defender when cutting and also be able to keep up with people when defending and eliminate them as much as possible from play is probably my biggest weapon. I also have played a range of sports so my general coordination and game sense isn't too bad.
Why do you play ultimate? What does it give you that other sports don't?
Julie: The friendliness and fair mindedness of everyone and knowing almost everyone in the frisbee community. It is such a tight-knit community which is extremely supportive and everyone is there to encourage you and help you improve as a player. I love it how you are able to fill in for any team at any time and people are always so welcoming. Another aspect of Ultimate that I enjoy is being able to play in mixed gender teams which is something that you are not able to do in other sports; especially at an elite level.
Who started playing first out of you three?
Tracey: We played our first youth nats together but then we didn't play again for a while. And then Steph went to uni and started playing again and we followed. So I guess technically we all started at the same time but Steph is the most experienced.
Were you surprised that all 3 of you made it onto the team? Who was the most nervous?
Julie: We were all super surprised that we made it for sure. Like we were full shook ahaha. I reckon I was the most nervous but if you ask the others they might say they were.
What has been the hardest thing about becoming a Stingray? What sacrifices have you made?
Tracey: What I have found challenging is completing the individual training that is done away from the team camps and tournaments. It's much more fun and motivating to train with the team! This year I gave up playing footy so that I could focus on only two sports (ultimate and hockey) rather than three.
What has been the best thing about playing with your sisters?
Steph: The best thing about playing with my sisters is people on the opposing team getting us mixed and up and not knowing who is who/thinking we’re one person (mostly applies to Jules though).
Shout-out someone you look up to in ultimate, then tell us why:
Little interlude: I have been wary of making sure that we articulate that although they are sisters, the three Chongs all bring unique and valuable skills to the Stingrays. They are individuals who are all amazing players in their own right with their own opinions. And then they all go and pick the same person for this question…
Steph: Caroline Ma! The first fris team I played in was for Deakin at Uni Games in 2015 and Caro was one of my teammates. Ever since then she has been by my side throughout my fris journey having played many uni games together as well as an Ellipsis club season and an under 22s campaign. She's also coached me for under 22s and now stingrays as well! I've seen Caro grow from humble beginnings at Deakin to the leader in Australian ultimate that she is now. She's one of the best throwers and always wants to help me improve and get better. I love how much she froths fris and you will always be guaranteed a fun time when Caro is around :)
Tracey: Caroline Ma has been an amazing role model for me - she coached the Victorian U22 Women's Team last year and I think that was the turning point when I decided that I wanted to play ultimate more competitively. Since then, I have been inspired to play with Ellipsis and the Stingrays and she has been there every step of the way. She's so passionate about developing others around her while also being an incredible athlete herself. I also love learning from my Ellipsis teammates who share so much knowledge and experience.
Julie: Caro Ma!! She's such a phenomenal thrower and is able to do very explosive cuts and if something doesn't work, she has a range of tricks up her sleeve to get open. She is also really good at explaining drills and giving advice which is always helpful. I also love her personality and ability to make everyone happy around her. :)
Aaaaand lastly, who’s your favourite sister?
Tracey: Who’s my fave? Can't answer soz 🙃
Julie: Ahaha ooofttt idk I don’t have a favourite cause they’re both my favourite
Steph: I don’t have a favourite 🙃 I would say it depends on the situation; fave for rational thinking and honest conversations - Trace, fave for a bit of fun and not taking yourself too seriously - Jules