Rowdy Gaines, Ambassador


“Swim lessons saves lives. Those four simple words are something that the USA Swimming Foundation has taken to heart and is spreading this message throughout our great nation, now and for the last ten years. I am proud to play a small part as an ambassador for the Foundation in helping to eradicate drowning. It is something that is so avoidable and everyone in our swimming community needs to be an advocate to help educate those that may not know that swimming is a lifelong activity that should be enjoyed but also respected.”

Few athletes in history are as beloved in the swimming community as Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines. A member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Rowdy set 10 World Records between 1978 and his triple-gold-medal-winning performance at the 1984 Olympic Games. Rowdy tallied 16 total medals (12 gold) representing the United States at the World Championships and Pan American Games.

After a miraculous recovery from temporary paralysis during a two-month hospital stay, at age 35 he became the oldest swimmer at the time to qualify for Olympic Trials. Over the course of his life he’s swum more than 25,000 miles — roughly the equivalent of spanning the entire globe along the Equator.

Since retiring from competition Rowdy has been the voice of American swimming coverage, serving as an analyst for NBC — including broadcast commentary and analysis for seven Olympic Games. Rowdy and his wife, Judy, live in Lake Mary, Florida. They have four girls: Emily, Madison, Savanna, and Isabelle.

Rowdy’s work with the USA Swimming Foundation dates to 2003, when he served as the organization’s first-ever Chief Fundraising and Alumni Officer.

For more information on Rowdy, click here.