Posted: June 25, 2007
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – With the second and final week of Lehigh swimming camp getting underway on Sunday, two-time Olympic swim team member Rowdy Gaines made what has become an annual appearance at Lehigh’s camp, spending two days working with campers. Gaines, who won three gold medals at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, has been coming to Lehigh to help for over ten years and continues to find the experience enjoyable.
“I feel like Lehigh University and the whole area is like a second home to me because I’ve been coming back for so many years now,” said Gaines. “This is a beautiful area, a gorgeous campus and I just love being around swimming and also being around great people.”
Gaines, who has won 14 national titles, was a member of the 1980 Olympic Team that boycotted the Games and serves as a color commentator NBC’s swimming coverage in the Olympics, most recently in Athens in 2004. He lives in Colorado Springs and serves as the Executive Director of USA Swimming, focusing on alumni and fund raising, yet still gets in the pool everyday, even if it’s just for 30 minutes.
“I’m a maniac about being in the water, even if it’s just those 30 minutes,” Gaines stated. “I have to get in the pool each day.”
Gaines enjoyed some time in the pool during his stay. On Monday morning he was in the water working on turns and push-offs with campers between the ages of 9-17.
“His gold medals resonate throughout the sport of swimming,” said Lehigh head coach Rob Herb of Gaines. “It’s transcended into the new generation of swimmers, and he really does a tremendous job with the campers. He has such a high level of expertise and brings a real enjoyment to the pool.
“He works extremely hard to spread the sport of swimming, and spends almost all of his summers traveling from camp to camp,” continues Herb. “We’re fortunate that he’s been able to be with us for so many years, and we always welcome him back.”
The second and final week of swimming camp runs through Thursday, June 28.