Former Olympian Gaines makes annual trip to Lehigh swim camp
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The first of two weeks of Lehigh’s swimming technique camp began on Saturday inside Lehigh’s Jacobs and Morrissey Pools. On Monday, campers were treated to an appearance by former Olympic Champion Rowdy Gaines, who made his annual trek to Lehigh’s camp. Gaines captured three gold medals at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and has now instructed young swimmers at Lehigh swim camps for the last 12 years.
Rowdy Gaines at 2011 swimming technique camp
“Lehigh swim camp for the 12th straight year! Love, love, love going to this great camp every year,” Gaines tweeted Sunday morning while on his way to the Lehigh Valley. For years, Gaines has credited Lehigh head coach Rob Herb and members of the Lehigh swimming and diving staff and the job they have done as one of the main reasons Gaines keeps coming back to Bethlehem.
Gaines, who has won 17 national titles, was also a member of the 1980 Olympic team that did not compete due to a government boycott. After instructing a technique session Monday morning, Gaines spent the afternoon racing against Lehigh’s campers, who range from the ages of nine to 17.
A chief fundraiser for USA Swimming, Gaines returned to his native Florida several years ago, where he works for The Limu Company, while also managing Rowdy’s Kidz, wellness initiative focused on helping America’s youth create healthier lifestyles and more confident futures. He also serves as NBC’s primary swimming color commentator, having covered the last five Olympic Games for the network. Gaines will serve as a commentator for the 2011 FINA World Champions in July in Shanghai, China.
Since turning 50, Gaines has returned to competitive swimming on the Master’s Circuit, where he added several more national titles to his already impressive resume. Last month, Gaines broke his own national record in the 50 yard freestyle for the 50-54 age group at the 2011 Short Course Masters National Championships. He will compete at the World Masters Championships next month in Japan.
The first session of Lehigh’s swimming technique camp wraps-up on Wednesday, while session two will run from June 25-29.