On this day in Alabama history: ‘Rowdy’ Gaines was born in Florida

On this day in Alabama history: ‘Rowdy’ Gaines was born in Florida
Rowdy Gaines (left) and Sergey Smyryagin, Speedo-meet Amersfoort, 1983. (Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau, Rob C. Croes/Anefo, Wikipedia)

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.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

Related Stories