Rowdy Gaines

Rowdy Gaines

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Rowdy Gaines

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Ambrose ("Rowdy") Gaines IV (born February 17, 1959 in Winter Haven, Florida) is a former American swimmer, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame member, Olympic three-time gold medalist, and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He is currently the chief fundraiser for USA Swimming as well as a swimming analyst for television networks ESPN and NBC including coverage of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, his fourth as a TV commentator.


Born in Winter Haven, Florida, Rowdy unsuccessfully tried other sports during his teen-age years but turned to swimming as a Winter Haven High School junior where he improved quickly and was offered a swimming scholarship to Auburn University. At Auburn he became a five-time NCAA champion under the training of former Stanford University and Auburn head swimming coach Richard Quick. During one four-year period, Gaines held eleven World Records and, had the United States not boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, he would have been a favorite to win multiple medals at the event. 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 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. He won the 100 meter freestyle off a very good...
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