The Y of Central Florida is excited to announce that our very own Rowdy Gaines, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Vice President of YMCA Aquatics, has been honored with the 2015 USA Swimming Award.
Considered swimming’s highest honor, the award recognizes recipients’ outstanding contributions to the sport.
“I am incredibly humbled by this award, mainly because I think swimming has given me so much more than I could ever imagine delivering to it,” Rowdy said. “We are a family and I always have been and always will be a proud part of the greatest sport in the world.”
Since joining the YMCA family in 2014, Rowdy has reinvigorated the Y’s entire aquatics program ─ everything from bringing prestigious national aquatic events to the YMCA Aquatic Center and revamping the YMCA Swim Academy to sharing his passion for water safety and childhood drowning prevention.
As a father and grandfather, Rowdy has been a vocal advocate for Safe Start, the Y’s innovative infant water survival program. During YMCA Splash Week, he also led efforts to raise funds and awareness to provide free swim lessons to nearly 15,000 local children, including many whose families could not afford instruction.
In addition to his most recent recognition, Rowdy is a member of International Swimming Hall of Fame and is considered one of the sport’s top ambassadors. He is also a well-known TV analyst for NBC sports.
Congratulations, Rowdy! You’re an inspiration to all of us!