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February 28, 2024

Gibbons makes last swim trip to state a title trip

Patrick Gibbons couldn’t sleep Thursday night.

That was understandable – the Badin High School senior was the second seed going into Friday’s finals in the Division II 200 meter freestyle state championship race at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.

“I was just watching YouTube and listening to music,” Gibbons recalled of his middle of the night insomnia. “I thought I was going to lose. I knew that wasn’t the right mentality. And then I showed up and won.”

Gibbons became just the third state swim champion in Badin history on Friday, Feb. 23, winning by 26-100ths of a second after getting through the water in 1:39.72.

“I didn’t really know that I had won,” he conceded Monday morning during an all-school recognition assembly at Badin. “I didn’t have my glasses on so I couldn’t see the board. I asked the guy in the lane next to me what was the score. He said, ‘Dude, you won!’”

It was a delayed reaction, smiled his mother, Patty, the dean of students at Badin. The times pop up on board by lane number … and Gibbons was in the fifth lane. Then the times get rearranged – and Gibbons’ name moved to the top. “It was the best delay ever!” she said.

Gibbons, the son of Scott and Patty Gibbons of Hamilton and a graduate of Wilson Junior High, has been to state in swimming during all four years at Badin. He was 16th in the 200 meter as a sophomore, made the podium in 4th place as a junior, and won it this year.

He joins Luke Paxton ’21, who won the 200 meter freestyle as a junior in 2020, and Chris Rigling ‘81, who won the 100 breast stroke as a senior, as state champion swimmers from Badin.

“It’s amazing,” smiled BHS head coach Jenny Reece. “I’ve coached him since he was 6-years-old – he’s such a good kid. He’s very coachable and he’s gotten better every year. Seeing the effect of that at the state meet, especially since it was his senior year, that was just great.”

Gibbons said when the confirmation of his championship became clear, “I got on the lane line, splashed the water a little bit and just did some screaming.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of him,” said his mother. “He’s definitely put in the work. He has eight practices over six days every week. He sets his alarm for 4:15 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He’s been accountable for all of it. We never had to push him – he pushed himself. He has been fully committed to swim.”

Gibbons has been swimming since the age of 3, been a part of the New London Hills club team and also the Tiger Sharks through the Powel Crosley YMCA on Winton Road.

“It’s still surreal,” Gibbons said of the title. “It’s a great accomplishment. Very gratifying. This summer, I knew it was my last year (of high school swimming). I’d go to practice, and then I’d go to New London Hills up the street and practice some more. My mom told me to take some time off, that I was going to burn myself out. But I just kept practicing. I had a goal and I just really went for it.”

Gibbons wants to swim in college, and he wants to be a pilot. He’s set up a meeting at Ohio State to see if he can accomplish both of those things as a Buckeye. He’s got another goal – and he’s going for it.

Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, or (513) 869-4490

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Gibbons makes last swim trip to state a title trip