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Rowdy Gaines

From Openwaterpedia
Rowdy Gaines
Yuko Matsuzaki being congratulated by 3-time Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines
Bobby Brewer founded the South Padre Island Open Water Festival in Texas that features Olympic gold medalists Rowdy Gaines and Lenny Krayzelburg as announcers

Ambrose ("Rowdy") Gaines IV (born 17 February 1959 in Winter Haven, Florida) is a former American swimmer, Olympic three-time gold medalist, and an Olympic Games swimming analyst for both pool and open water swimming.

Broadcasting Career

  • He is a swimming analyst for television networks ESPN and NBC including coverage of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2004 Athens Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympics, 2016 Rio Olympics, and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • He announced the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympic Games, and will repeat as an analyst at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • He announced the many RCP Tiburon Mile events over the years.


Swimming Career Highlights

  • At Auburn University, Gaines became a five-time NCAA champion.
  • During one four-year period, Gaines held eleven world records and, had the United States not boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics, he would have been a favorite to win multiple medals.
  • After graduating from Auburn in 1981, he stopped swimming for several months, thinking he had missed his opportunity to be an Olympic medalist, but was urged to resume swimming by his father.
  • When Gaines qualified at the 1984 Olympic Trials, his times were not particularly impressive and he was not expected to place at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He won the 100 meter freestyle off a very good start and swam the anchor leg for both the US gold medal-winning 4 × 100-meter freestyle and 4 × 100-meter medley teams.
  • In August 1991, Gaines was temporarily paralyzed with Guillain-Barré syndrome. After a two-month hospitalization, he experienced a surprising full recovery attributed largely to his superb physical condition as a competitive swimmer.
  • He eventually regained world-class times and, at the age of 35, became the oldest swimmer to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics; however, he chose not to compete in the Trials for Atlanta, but rather continue his career as a television commentator, covering swimming for NBC at the Games.

Professional Career

  • He was Outreach Director for the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham, Alabama from 1997 until 2003.
  • In 2003, he moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado to become the Chief Fundraising and Alumni Officer for USA Swimming.
  • In December 2007, Gaines became a spokesperson for LIMU, The Company, a Direct Sales Company that manufactures LIMU ORIGINAL, BLU FROG, LIMU LEAN, and LIMU ORIGINAL SHOTS.
  • He currently resides in Lake Mary, Florida where he is Executive Director of Rowdy's Kidz, a charitable program sponsored by LIMU, The Company.


  • International Swimming Hall of Fame
  • U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame
  • Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
  • Florida Sports Hall of Fame
  • 1982 McDonalds Spirit Award
  • 2007 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award

1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games

Biography Video

Rowdy in Lucky's Lake Swim Video

USA Swimming Advertisement

Most Influential

Gaines was named one of the 30 Most Influential People in Swimming over the Past 30 Years by USA Swimming and Speedo USA.

External links