Rowdy Gaines To Be Inducted Into the Masters International Swimming Hall of Fame


The Masters International Swimming Hall of Fame (MISHOF) is proud to announce that Rowdy Gaines will be inducted into the Masters International Swimming Hall of Fame as a member of the  Class of 2019 during the MISHOF Induction ceremony in St. Louis, MO, on Friday evening, September 13, 2019, to be held in conjunction with the United States Aquatic Sports convention.  The MISHOF Induction Ceremony is open to the public and free of charge, so come join MISHOF in honoring Rowdy Gaines.


Rowdy’s 200m freestyle record in the 30-34 age group still stands today, 30 years later.  Photo Courtesy: Rowdy Gaines

About Rowdy Gaines

As a sprint freestyler, Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines became a legend when he overcame the disappointment of the 1980 Olympic boycott to win three gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

Then, in 1988, Rowdy got involved in Masters swimming when the legendary Tiger Holmes asked him to be a part of his Holmes Lumberjax Masters team and join them on the trip to the FINA Masters World Championships in Australia.

In 1991, Rowdy’s athletic pursuits in Masters Swimming came to a halt, when the swimming champion was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare condition in which a person’s immune system attacks part of their peripheral nervous system.  He made a full recovery after only two months of treatment, eventually integrating swimming into his physical therapy routine.



Cullen Jones gives Rowdy Gaines a hand with his tech suit; Photo Courtesy: Rowdy Gaines

In Masters swimming, Rowdy has broken 26 FINA Masters World Records (19 long course and 7 short course), 24 individual USMS records and has competed in four different age groups. Gaines has been in the Top Ten 17 times and he has had 57 swims ranked in the top ten.  Rowdy has attended only two FINA World Championships, and only one, swimming in individual events, so he has accumulated most of his points through world records, world rankings and top ten standings.

The longevity of some of Rowdy’s world records is incredible.  His longest standing world record of his 200m freestyle record in the 30-34 age group that was set in 1989 is still standing after 30 years.

Rowdy recently turned 60 and is hoping to swim in future Masters meets. Every year, he hosts the Rowdy Gaines Masters Classic, a Masters swim meet held every October in Orlando.  This year will be the 11th annual.

In 2018, SEC Network aired “Rowdy,” an hour-long feature documentary by ESPN’s Hannah Storm that highlighted Gaines’ career in the 1980’s, growing up in Florida, swimming at Auburn for Eddie Reese and Richard Quick, missing out on competing in the 1980 Olympics, and ultimately winning an Olympic gold in 1984. Rowdy was a great refresher on Rowdy Gaines’s swimming career and was a very well-done documentary.

Watch excerpts of the film here.


Rowdy and Judy Gaines, Photo Courtesy: Rowdy Gaines

MISHOF Induction Class of 2019

The prestigious MISHOF class of 2019 includes five swimmers, one diver, one synchronized swimmer, one water polo player and one contributor, from five (5) different countries: the USA, Canada, Lithuania, Brazil and Japan:
















Masters International Swimming Hall of Fame

View all inductees in the Masters International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Get more information about nominating a candidate for the 2020 MISHOF Induction class.



The purpose of the MISHOF is to promote a healthy lifestyle, lifelong fitness and participation in adult aquatic programs by recognizing the achievements of individuals who serve as an example for others. To be considered, honorees must have participated in Masters programs through at least four different masters age groups and are qualified by an objective point system based on world records, world top 10 rankings and World Championship performances. The MISHOF is a division of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more information, please visit ISHOF website.


The International Swimming Hall of Fame, Inc. (ISHOF), established in 1965, is a not-for-profit educational organization located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Recognized by FINA, the International Olympic Committee’s recognized governing body for the aquatic sports in 1968, its mission is to preserve the history of swimming, celebrate the heroes, promote the benefits and importance of swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and the water safety of all children and adults, and connect older generations of swimmers to youth.

For more information, call Meg-Keller-Marvin at 570 594-4367 or



  1. Mark Schwietz

    Congrats friend – You are certainly a good pick for what you have done in and out of the water.

  2. Toni Fisher Chow

    YAAAAS!! 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼
    Well deserved!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  3. Douglas McConnell

    Top quality guy, and such a great spokesman for all of swimming.

  4. Pamela Galpin Meredith

    Absolutely! This guy Lives, loves and promotes swimming in the best possible way! Well deserved and Congrats!

  5. Benjamin van der Wel

    About da*m time! He basically invented national an international competitive swimming after college. The recognition is well deserved.

  6. John O

    Congrats Rowdy!! I assumed he was already in!! I saw him swim a 19.7 50 free at Harvard at 1980 NCAAs

  7. Heckler Kochman

    Well deserved…respect the hell out of him

  8. Stephanie Shepherd Kohs

    It’s about time!! He’s the best ambassador for the sport it could have!!

  9. Keith Beal

    Way overdue for a deserving ambassador of the sport.

  10. Debbie Sheehan

    So well deserved! Congratulations, Rowdy!

  11. Jessica Conklin

    I love listening to him call raceses… my all time favorite is the US vs France in the Mens 200 Free Relay in Bejin…EPIC

  12. Jocelyne Humbert O

    Earned, deserved, swimmers are awesome people and he’s one of the role models.

  13. Rich Davis

    Love this guy. His enthusiasm for swimming is infectious.

  14. Mary Liston

    Greatest ambassador of our sport

  15. Karin Stokes

    Well deserved- real men do wear Pink!

  16. Ray Cox

    So well deserved. Such a great spirit and embodiment of all things swimming! Makes time for all of his fans and supporters.

  17. Susan Povilitis Siddiqi

    Congratulations Rowdy, well deserved. I enjoy listening to you during swimming events 🏊🏽‍♂️