February 17, 1959
Swimmer Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines IV was born in Florida. As a student at Auburn University under head swimming coach Richard Quick, Gaines became a five-time NCAA champion, “Swimming World’s” “World Swimmer of 1980” and the 1981 Southeastern Conference Athlete of the Year. Between 1978 and 1984, he set 10 world records and was favored to win multiple events at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow before the United States announced its boycott of the Games. After a brief retirement, Gaines returned to swimming to win three gold medals at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
Swimmer Rowdy Gaines poses with a gold medal won at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame)
Auburn University Rowdy Gaines celebrates setting the world record in the 200-meter freestyle at the 1980 United States Swimming National Championships in Austin, Texas. Gaines also set the world record in the 100-meter freestyle at the event. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Auburn University Libraries)
Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines was one of the world’s fastest swimmers during years with the Auburn University swim team during the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was a gold medalist during the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and has remained with the sport as a publicist and pool-side television correspondent. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photograph by Bernard Troncale, The Birmingham News)
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