By Rick Hinton
Center Grove High School senior Tony Gipson tried out for several sports during his youth. He played basketball for a while but broke his arm and couldn’t play. Then there was a season of baseball, which didn’t work out. “I tried out for swimming and the rest is history,” he stated. He has been swimming now for nine years.
Two older sisters played soccer through the club team, but not at high school. Their influence may have been a factor however, swimming became Gipson’s own unique foray into the realm of school sports. Progression was quick. Gipson practiced with the Senior Team (the club team, not the high school team) while he was in the seventh and eighth grade. He considers himself a well-rounded swimmer. He can do all strokes for the required relays but considers the butterfly to be his specialty. Coach James Todd would agree, stating that Gipson excels at the 100-yard butterfly.
“There is a medley relay where there are four swimmers and each swim a different stroke – backstrokes, breaststroke, butterfly and then front crawl. There are two different free relays, a 200 and a 400. The 200 consists of four swimmers doing 50 yards, with the 400 consisting of four swimmers covering 100 yards,” Todd said.
A couple of memorable experiences still make Gipson smile. One was during his freshman year at sectionals, his first competition at such a big meet. He was able to walk out with the group, accompanied by a song that the first-place person chose. “This happened to be the senior I looked up to,” he remembered. “Just being able to walk out with him, with ‘Sweet Dreams’ by the Eurythmics playing was so much fun!” The other memory was during his junior year at sectionals when their relay walked out accompanied by a SpongeBob SquarePants’ song. Todd has his own memories of that particular sectional: “Tony’s unselfishness last year as he swam in all three relays, which meant he had to give up his second individual event.”
Gipson started out his freshman year swimming the 100-butterfly stroke in 58:85 seconds. Last year at the state meet he had that down to 50:89. “Tony’s work ethic makes him a standout swimmer,” Todd claimed. When asked if he considered himself a competitor Gipson considered the question and gave a little smile. “Most of the time … yes,” he stated. “I can be very competitive, but at the same time, try to stay relaxed and calm. I try to have fun with it!”
THE GIPSON FILE
NAME: Tony Gipson
POSITION: Butterfly Stroke
HEIGHT: 5 feet 6 inches
HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Relaxing. Reading (Rick Riordan is a favorite author).
FAVORITE MOVIE: Avengers: Infinity War
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
COLLEGE PLANS: “I do plan to swim in college.” Wants to study in science and mathematics-based fields. The top three choices presently are University of Indianapolis, Purdue University and Penn State.
PARENTS: Vince & Alena Roby; Bruce & Kelly Gipson